RMC spreading services to rural areas with new facilities
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Aug 19, 2013 | 4886 views |  0 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One Regional Medical Center rural health clinic opened Monday and another is set to open at the end of the month to provide better care to local underserved communities.

During its regular meeting Monday, the RMC board discussed the Piedmont urgent care center, which RMC opened Monday. The board also discussed the Anniston hospital's Roanoke health care center, which is scheduled to open at the end of the month, David McCormack, CEO of RMC, said after the meeting. The two clinics are part of RMC's ongoing efforts to expand its reach and provide more services to the surrounding rural areas while increasing revenue through higher patient counts.

Both clinics have been under construction for several months. McCormack said RMC hired a physician just for the Piedmont clinic, which features a small emergency room to provide treatment for minor injuries.

"It will help keep people from having to go farther out to a hospital emergency room," McCormack said. "We're trying to go out to the community and bring services to them."

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 55 of Alabama's 67 counties, including Calhoun County, are considered rural and 44.4 percent of the state's population live in rural areas, which are typically underserved in regard to healthcare. The administration's statistics show that 61 of Alabama's 67 counties, including Calhoun, are short of primary care physicians.

McCormack said the Roanoke facility will be more sophisticated than the clinic in Piedmont and feature body scanning and imaging equipment. RMC hired two physicians and four nurse practitioners to work at the Roanoke facility, McCormack said.

The Roanoke facility will replace another health care center there, which RMC purchased in 2011, saving it from closing. Rural health clinics tend to treat more poor and elderly patients in underserved areas.

The previous operators of the old Roanoke clinic had to file bankruptcy after the Randolph Medical Center closed in April 2011.

"People out there are about an hour from any hospital," "McCormack said. "We'll be the main source of care for that whole community."

Greg Kernion, chairman of the RMC board, said construction of the Roanoke facility has come along nicely.

"The sign looks awesome and the building looks great," Kernion said.

In other business, the board approved the ability to hire a second attorney if needed.

"It would be a new attorney to help on human resources issues," McCormack said. "If we want to add a new one, say the other attorney isn't available, we can if we need one."

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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