CHAMPAIGN — Dr. Tom Pliura and his business, Champaign-Urbana Healthcare, will open a new urgent-care clinic in a former Campustown bank building next month.
A LeRoy-based physician-attorney, Pliura says remodeling has started for the clinic space, which will occupy the ground floor of the building at 631 E. Green St., C.
The clinic will offer physician care and basic lab and X-ray services, Pliura said.
It is intended to provide convenient care for University of Illinois students and others, and to serve as an alternative to UI McKinley Health Center and more costly care in hospital emergency rooms for patients who aren't experiencing actual emergencies, he said.
Pliura has a 15-year lease on the space and looks to get the urgent-care center open sometime in October, he said.
The building has been the site of such banks as BankIllinois, Main Street Bank & Trust and Freestar Bank.
Pliura has been operating health care businesses for decades and formerly operated several outpatient surgery centers.
He currently manages and owns an interest in a surgery center and separate convenient-care center, both in Marion, supervises nurses at the Vermilion County Jail and works with a physician group that staffs emergency rooms in southern Illinois.
In addition to the clinic in Champaign, Pliura says he's looking to open similar urgent-care centers in three other university communities, all convenient to the campuses of Southern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University and Illinois State University.
Driving his new urgent-care center venture is the changing health care landscape the Affordable Care Act is bringing, he said.
More people will have health coverage and that will include young adults who haven't had coverage before, he said.
Under terms of the Affordable Care Act already in effect, young adults can remain on their parents' health insurance until they turn 26. But nearly 24 percent of those 18-25 are uninsured, according to a Gallup poll released in July.
"Everybody is going to have health insurance, and we're going to be focusing on university students and the university population," Pliura said.
Still, he says, he sees "tremendous problems" ahead with the Affordable Care Act, and he'll be presenting his views on the act at a talk set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Danville Public Library, 319 N. Vermilion St., Danville. The talk is open to the public.
Pliura warns he thinks health care reform is well-intentioned and has some advantages, but he also believes it will quickly bring unintended consequences.
"I just honestly don't see how we're going to be able to afford it," he said.