Regional Medical Center is expanding its reach into Piedmont, where the hospital plans to open a critical care clinic this summer.
The hospital is partnering with the Piedmont Healthcare Authority to develop the clinic, being built adjacent to the Piedmont Nursing Home. The facility will become a key component of an emerging senior care campus there, but it will be open to everyone, said Benjamin Ingram, president of the authority.
“It allows us to get some things done in Piedmont that normally we would have to go to Jacksonville, Anniston or Gadsden to have done,” Ingram said.
The new facility will be staffed with a physician, at least one nurse practitioner, other nurses and office staff. It will offer a range of services, including treatment for general ailments such as colds and treatment for more urgent matters, said David McCormack, the chief executive of RMC.
“It’s sort of like an emergency room, but not quite to that level,” McCormack said.
The location of the facility is intended in part to help the Piedmont Healthcare Authority develop a more complete senior care center. RMC, meanwhile, is expanding its regional footprint in an effort to remain competitive as federal health care reform is fully implemented.
“Now as health care is changing, we need to go out to the community,” McCormack said. “We have to cover the whole region.”
RMC recently expanded to Jacksonville, where it bought the hospital there in December, as well as to Talladega, where it opened a clinic; it has plans to open facilities in Weaver and Roanoke.
Piedmont Mayor Rick Freeman said the new facility will help the hospital and the authority meet their goals, as well as help residents of Piedmont and the communities that surround it.
Ingram and Freeman said Piedmont has a shortage of physicians. Currently two physicians work in the city part time, and two others work full time. Of the two full-time doctors, one exclusively treats children and the other holds a second full-time job as the medical director at the nursing home, Ingram said.
“We felt like we needed that,” Freeman said of the new center. “The impact is going to be very big for us.”
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.