CAMILLA, GA (WALB) - Folks at Phoebe are stepping up healthcare options in rural communities.
On Tuesday Phoebe opened its new primary care facility in Camilla off Highway 19, in an attempt to pave the way for healthcare in rural Georgia.
"This is a great day, a great moment for our organization, great for our partnership with this community," said Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO Joel Wernick in his opening remarks at the ribbon cutting.
That partnership began in January of 1992, when Phoebe opened its first clinic. It has grown significantly since then.
The facility now serves 13,000 patients annually.
But there have been problems that arose over the years.
"We had a lot of problems with patient flow," explained Phoebe Physician Barbara Kupka.
Kupka has been working at the clinic for the past 17 years. She said the clinic is always packed.
"There were a limited number of rooms, and we had more providers than we could accommodate," said Kupka.
The new facility is double the size of the old, with 18 exam rooms, two procedure rooms and an X-ray room.
"As you can see, we have a little excess dirt around us, so we have room to grow," said Wernick.
Phoebe purchased a large sum of land, so Wernick said if the facility needs to expand larger it can.
The facility will also have more services, including cardiology, pulmonology, orthopedics and electrophysiology.
Doctor Edward Koomson practices electrophysiology for people who have abnormal heart beats.
"As you get older the prevalence becomes higher," he explained. "With that comes trouble with traveling and having access issues, so being local I think will help our patients."
On top of its size and new specialties the facility will have something Mitchell County hasn't seen before, an urgent care facility.
"Our goal is to be able to help the working mom or working parents sometimes bring their child after hours," said Wernick.
The hours for the Family Medican part of the facility are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The urgent care center will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wernick said the hours could change depending on need. The facility is going to try out the hours for some time to see if they are the best hours.
Doctors and nurses will start seeing patients on Monday.
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