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New medical center coming to Dawson

Video from WALB
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT
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DAWSON, Ga. (WALB) - Getting medical care in rural areas is an issue across the country, but soon, people in Terrell County will have another option. Albany Area Primary Healthcare (AAPHC) broke ground at their new location in Dawson.

The new location will offer several new services and people in the community say this is something they’ve been waiting on.

Jill Hester has lived in Terrell County for about five years. She said right now there are limits to the types of medical services close by.

Jill Hester lives in Terrell County.
Jill Hester lives in Terrell County.(WALB)

“We’re in a small community. We have a lot of diabetics. We have a lot of hypertension, those things can be handled here but we just need doctors in the community to be able to help. Everybody has to travel out of town and a lot of people don’t have access to go to Albany, Columbus, or Tallahassee to go to a doctor’s office,” said Hester.

Video from WALB

AAPHC currently shares a building and parking with a pharmacy.

Making the move from their location at 420 Johnson Street to their new location on 505 Forrester Drive will ultimately give them more space.

They are moving from their current location at 420 Johnson Street.
They are moving from their current location at 420 Johnson Street.(WALB)

CEO Shelley Spires said they’re adding a substantial amount of square footage.

“This is about another 3,000 to 4,000 square feet,” said Spires.

Shelley Spires is the Chief Executive Officer at Albany Area Primary Health Care.
Shelley Spires is the Chief Executive Officer at Albany Area Primary Health Care.(WALB)

Going from 6,000 to 9,000 square-foot, Spires said that room will lead to better care.

The services they’re adding and expanding on are primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health services, dentistry, and podiatry.

The chief medical officer Dr. John Vance said by having all of those services in one space, it’s also convenient for the patient.

Dr. John Vance is the is the Chief Medical Officer at AAPHC.
Dr. John Vance is the is the Chief Medical Officer at AAPHC.(WALB)

“Our vision is integrated care. What that means is not just providing primary care like our name’s sake says, but behavioral health, podiatry, and dentistry, all in one space. So we need a bigger space to do that.”

Hester said this move will make it more convenient for those who need treatment.

“To have a medical office and to have medical providers here that they can walk to they can drive to a lot easier. Families can work together to get each other the medical treatment they need,” said Hester.

Overall, the project will cost about $2 million dollars. The CEO said AAPHC did get a grant of $1 million dollars from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the project.

They’re expecting to be done with construction in 2023.

They expect construction to be done by 2023.
They expect construction to be done by 2023.(WALB)

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