The federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has partnered with local law enforcement to investigate an urgent care center in Berks County, according to WFMZ 69 News and the Times Tribune.
The Advanced Urgent Care facility on Mulberry Street was the focus of the DEA’s latest search. Local news reports state that it is “part of a larger probe into other urgent care clinics throughout the Delaware Valley and in Philadelphia,” according to DEA special agent Mark Gabura.
A spokesman for the Philadelphia DEA confirmed to WFMZ 69 News that the raid was taking place at this particular facility, and at other Advanced Urgent Care facilities around Pennsylvania, including one clinic located in Lower Heidelberg Township.
The spokesman declined to give any additional information, but local news outlets in other locations have reported that other urgent care clinics under the same company are being raided. Advanced Urgent Care currently has Pennsylvania locations in Montgomeryville, Philadelphia, Scranton, State College, and Willow Grove.
Berks County District Attorney John Adams said that he had issued a search warrant for DEA agents to raid the Lower Heidelberg location, and special agent Gabura was seen carrying boxes out of the clinic, labeled as evidence.
While there are no confirmed details yet regarding what DEA agents were investigating, local news outlets believe that the clinics were somehow involved in the illegal sales of prescription drugs.
As many patients found out when they abruptly encountered a handwritten sign informing them that the clinic was closed for the day, these clinics provide valuable medical treatment to a plethora of Pennsylvanians. Philadelphia experienced a sudden growth of urgent care centers, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, in freestanding buildings and as clinics in retail stores; surrounding metro areas began supplementing healthcare systems with urgent care facilities as well.
These facilities provide viable alternatives to a hospital emergency room: four out of five urgent care centers can treat fracture wounds, seven out of 10 can provide intravenous fluids, and well over a third of all facilities across the country operate on weekends.
The Advanced Urgent Care group was founded in February 2010 by a board of certified doctors, around the same time that many cities across the country began seeing the clinics pop up.