Dr. Eric Carter
Dr. Eric Carter is not quite ready to put on his running shoes, but the North Georgia physician is confident he will need them soon as the word gets out about the Hutcheson Medical Center’s Family Care Clinic in Ooltewah, Tenn.
“On our very first Monday, I saw 17 people. That is not a full day but it’s huge for a Monday in a new practice,” the board certified family medicine doctor said. “We are aiming for 30 to 35 a day. ... I can handle that many patients. I might have to put my running shoes on, but I can handle it.”
Hutcheson officials are confident their new venture will help them reach a new patient base.
“We feel like this is an area that will grow for us,” Hutcheson President Charles Stewart said. “We looked at population statistics and felt like this was an area that was not being served.”
Funding for the clinic, for patients age 5 to senior citizens, is from the hospital’s operating budget, but officials did not provide figures on how much they spent to remodel the 2,600 square-foot space in the BI-Lo shopping center at East Brainerd and Ooltewah-Ringgold roads.
Hutcheson officials put effort and money into advertising but much of the new center’s referrals will come from word of mouth, Dr. Carter said.
Walker County Fire Chief Randy Camp followed Dr. Carter from the Chickamauga Family Clinic, one of several Hutcheson facilities in the North Georgia area.
“He is the first doctor I’ve ever had call me to check my injury while he was on vacation,” Chief Camp said. “That’s pretty impressive, and that’s why I traveled all the way up here.”
The goal is grow the patient load to about three dozen patients a day at the new clinic, Dr. Carter said. As patient volumes increase, another physician will be added, he said.