LCMC Health is working with Baton Rouge-based Premier Health to create a network of seven urgent care centers in the greater New Orleans area beginning next year, the local health care system said Tuesday.

LCMC operates Children's Hospital, New Orleans East Hospital, Touro Infirmary, University Medical Center and West Jefferson Medical Center.

Premier has more than 40 clinics in three states and soon Puerto Rico, and employs about 750 people.

Though there's been "a huge proliferation of urgent care centers of all kinds out there," LCMC's entry into the market represents a well-known local name getting involved in the business, which could give them an advantage over the competition, said Walter Lane, an associate professor at the University of New Orleans who studies health care economics.

"What you don't have very much there is branding. Most of the urgent care centers haven't been affiliated with any kind of bigger-known entities," Lane said.

LCMC is "in discussions to purchase a number of existing centers as well as evaluating sites to build new locations" over the next 18 months, the health care system said in a statement.

The urgent care centers will offer walk-in care for adults and children as well as on-site lab work, X-rays, physicals and immunizations. Conditions treated at the centers will include common viruses, ear and eye infections, stomach and digestive issues, orthopedic injuries like sprains or strains as well as minor skin infections.

Greg Feirn, LCMC's CEO, said the new centers "will allow us to meet a growing need for high quality, convenient, health care options for non-life threatening injuries and illnesses.”

“Our joint-venture urgent care clinics are already serving patients in almost every major metro area in Louisiana," said Premier CEO Steve Sellars in Baton Rouge. "We are excited to offer affordable, convenient, non-emergency health care in the New Orleans area.”

Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.