Riverside Center Outpatient Clinic Wows Visitors

Carilion Clinic showed off its two-month-old Riverside Center on Saturday, in particular the new outpatient center located at what has indeed become a full-fledged campus for the local health care giant.  Located next door sits the research building that opened last year, and across a plaza and parking area lies the new Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. The school was  being worked on even last weekend as visitors at the Riverside Center open house checked out the Lifeguard 10 helicopter and new medical equipment at the facility, while listening to jazz from the William Penn Trio.

Carilion has consolidated many of the specialists that were located in several locations around the city and hired others for the Riverside Center, which now offers more one-stop shopping, in the shadow of Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

“For the first time all of our practices are working together,” said Ellyn Roberts, the Regional Practice Director for Riverside 3. Where offices and departments (including internal medicine, neurology, oncology, etc.) were located “was well thought out and detailed,” she notes. Conference rooms can be used for public information meetings and classes. “The feedback we’re getting …is that this is just a great place. People love the building,” said Roberts.  A sparkling new café on the ground floor looks more like something you might see in downtown Roanoke.

In fact Riverside 3 is a “green building,” LEED certified and positioned to take advantage of natural sunlight. Showers on each floor were installed in part to encourage those who may walk or bike to work to use them. Electric scooters can transport employees to the nearby hospital.

A parking garage next door off of Reserve Avenue makes it easy to access Riverside 3, part of a total conversion in the area. Gone are most of the older, low-slung industrial buildings and the flour mill, which was reduced to rubble over the summer and carted away.

Carilion was also showing off its new Medicare Advantage program, a health care plan that revolves around the hospitals and outpatient clinics in the regional system. Sales director Bryan Hyler said early reaction to the zero-dollar  premium plan and two others that have a monthly charge for more services has been favorable. Medicare-eligible people, mostly seniors, can begin signing up  November 15 for plans that include prescription drug coverage.

“Others have done it [hospital-sponsored plans] but they are new to this area,” said Hyler, who was handing out information and free pens. The plan promises to reduce paperwork and use more technology to share and store records. “That’s the super exciting thing. I think it fits really well in the Carilion Clinic model for better coordination of care.”

Free breakfast, gourmet coffee, face painting and balloon artists helped make the Riverside Center open house a special day for people of all ages.

By Gene Marrano