Erlanger Bledsoe Hospital's new $1.56 million, 6,200-square-foot medical office building is open to patients.
The new facility adjacent to the hospital in Pikeville, Tennessee, marks a significant upgrade from the modular building that previously housed primary care services and represents an expansion of those services in the region at a time when many rural communities across the country are seeing primary care access disappear.
It includes 14 exam rooms, two procedure areas, a lab, a nurse station and physician offices.
"Increasing access to primary care services, especially in rural parts of our state, is always important," state Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, said in a news release. "This wonderful new facility will not only benefit residents of Bledsoe County, but it will benefit those in surrounding areas as well. I am grateful for the life-saving work that will take place here, and I appreciate this major investment in our community."
Stephanie Boynton, CEO of Erlanger's Bledsoe and Western Carolina hospitals, said during a groundbreaking event last spring that in addition to primary care, cardiologists will rotate through the facility, and Erlanger hopes to offer additional specialties there in the future.
"It's going to be able to keep folks at home that would otherwise have to drive outside of Bledsoe County for their health care, and it's going to allow them access to care that they otherwise might not have," Boynton said.
Bledsoe County was in jeopardy of losing its hospital 20 years ago, but local elected officials worked to strike a deal to become a part of Erlanger, which leases the property from the county.