A Metro Inclusive Health clinic in St. Petersburg will start seeing patients this week.
Metro Inclusive Health, a Tampa Bay area LGBTQ+ health care provider, plans to open six new clinics across the region this year.
During the local pandemic-era population boom, the organization saw a surge of people seeking treatment, with some driving over an hour for an appointment, said Priya Rajkumar, co-chief executive officer and chief operating officer.
“It’s about bringing the care back into the communities … that don’t always have access,” Rajkumar said. “We know how challenging public transportation is in the area.”
The nonprofit, founded 30 years ago, will close its existing health centers in St. Petersburg and Ybor City and move employees to the new, smaller locations. No layoffs are planned, Rajkumar said.
The Metro Inclusive Health centers in Clearwater and New Port Richey will remain.
One of the new clinics, at 2235 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, will start seeing patients Thursday. The nonprofit previously had a thrift store at the property.
Metro Inclusive Health is working out leases for the other five locations. They are planned in or near south St. Petersburg; the area where the Gandy Bridge reaches Pinellas County; Brandon; and multiple spots in Tampa.
All new clinics are expected to open by 2024, Rajkumar said. Patients will receive greater personalized care, she said. The clinics will offer the nonprofit’s existing services.
The organization, with 184 employees, provides primary care, counseling, HIV treatment and testing for sexually transmitted infections, among other services.
The current St. Petersburg and Ybor City locations will keep seeing patients until the new clinics launch.Last year, Metro Inclusive Health treated nearly 31,000 people, a roughly 14% increase from 2021.
The organization, with reported revenue of almost $33.2 million in 2020, will save money by moving out of the larger St. Petersburg and Ybor City centers, which have extensive property upkeep costs, Rajkumar said. The nonprofit hopes to use the savings partly for staff retention and development, she said.
The existing St. Petersburg location, in the Historic Kenwood neighborhood, is 47,000 square feet. In 2019, Metro Inclusive Health held a grand opening for the renovated headquarters and clinic, which had added an event hall and a coworking office space.
By contrast, the new Central Avenue clinic is 3,800 square feet, according to Brian Bailey, chief marketing and business development officer.
“Our goal is when someone walks through the door at one of these locations they don’t get lost in a massive space,” Rajkumar said.