AFC Urgent Care Franchise Leads Testing Battle in Boston
American Family Care staffers from six clinics in the Boston area get ready to provide large-scale, drive-thru COVID-19 testing.
Before he was a franchisee for American Family Care in the Boston area, Dave Adams was an officer and mechanized infantry operator in the Marine Corps. Dr. Kristina Orio, medical director for his six AFC urgent care clinics, was a U.S. Air Force battlefield ER doctor deployed to Iraq.
The two paired up to quickly create a crisis plan that rolled out rapid testing for the COVID-19 virus in one of the pandemic’s hardest-hit locales.
They’re also providing one of the most inspirational stories to date in the pandemic, illustrating how background, temperament and leadership can align to help save lives in a crisis.
“When we invested in this we didn’t sign up for pandemic warfare, but this is what’s asked of us now and we’re answering the call, just like so many,” Adams said.
“We both ran training events and…checkpoint training and mass casualty drills. We’ve done this for years in our respective services,”said Adams. “When this all unfolded in March…we pulled out the playbook from our training. We were the first in Massachusetts to stand up large-scale drive-thru testing events.”
Setting up in parking lots and using employees from the six clinics he owns, masked and gloved personnel can test 200 to 400 cars over five hours. “It’s a much more efficient use of PPE, and of limited resources, and of staff,”he said, referring to personal protective equipment.
“We move them each week; we’ve done three a week for seven weeks,”he said about the drive-thru testing. “We have rotated them around to our different locations, to be in the communities where we need it. Sure enough those communities have many hundreds of positive, confirmed COVID cases.”
The rapid results allow those patients to immediately self-isolate while contact tracing can begin.
“We are now working to stand up large-scale drive-thru antibody testing events, as people look to try to go back to work,”he said. Tests for antibodies show whether a person already had the virus and built up antibodies against it, thought to provide at least partial immunity in the future.
An Eagle Scout as a youth, Adams says his service roots run deep. “I served my community in that capacity and I served my country as a Marine, and now I’m serving my country again,” Adams said. "Both Dr. Orio and I have the philosophy of always being able to serve something greater than oneself.”
Since opening in 2013, Adams’six clinics have treated close to 400,000 patients, “and we’ve done that at one-fifth of the cost of an ER visit, with an average door-to-door turnaround time of under 44 minutes, open every day of the week,”he said. It helps me sleep well at night knowing we’re doing that.”
See the video of AFC Urgent Care Boston staffers offering drive-thru rapid testing.