Upgrade allows a rural health clinic to serve more people

Burke County Medical Center Rural Clinic

A newer, bigger building for a rural Georgia healthcare clinic allows them to serve more people.

Tuesday was the first official business day for the Burke County Medical Center Rural Clinic after offering weekend hours over the Labor Day weekend. They now have more square footage, they are open more hours, which allows patients in Burke County to stay in their hometown, save time and money.

Administrator over Rural Health Clinics, Jeremy Whitaker points out that right now, most people in Burke County go somewhere else for their medical treatment.

“Approximately 79% of the residents of Burke County are leaving the county to get their healthcare elsewhere,” he says.

Whitaker says they are trying to change those statistics with outpatient clinics like the one now on Jones Avenue behind the Medical Center.

“We want to show those residents that we’ve got access to care here,” Whitaker says. “It’s not necessary for you to make that trek to Augusta. I mean certain things absolutely because we just don’t have the need for some of the specialty care that is in the metropolis, but absolutely we want to provide as much of it here at home that we can.”

Last week, they moved just a few blocks away from their facility on W. 4th St. to a newer, bigger building on Jones Avenue. The location was previously a doctor’s office.

“It’s a little bit more inviting for our patients to come into and the other thing was we increased our hours on the weekends,” Whitaker says.

They now have walk-in clinic hours for you on Saturday and Sunday from 9A to 4P. Whitaker explains why they added more hours.

“[Patients would] wake up on Sunday mornings and they’d be sick and they’d need to be seen. The only other option they had here in Burke County was the emergency department. That’s an expensive proposition if you know you’ve just got the common cold and you know you just need to be seen,” Whitaker says as he points out that a clinic bill is far cheaper than a hospital bill.

In their new location they have about 2,000 more square feet, more exam rooms and more parking. They will also be able to see more patients since they are adding another general practice doctor next month.  

“We’ve got a new physician coming October the 1st, Dr. Timothy Young and we’re really excited about that,” Whitaker explains.

They have plans to turn part of the lobby into a retail pharmacy. This would improve patient care even further by allowing people to come, see a doctor, and leave with their medication all in one stop.

The long term goal is to have more clinics spread across the county. Whitaker says it is something the people want to see happen.

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