Liberty Regional Medical Center will open two clinics this year, including one in late summer in Long County.
“We are a regional facility. We need to be and act like a regional facility,” LRMC CEO Mike Hester said, addressing members of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce at Thursday’s Progress Through People lunch at the Performing Arts Center.
The Long County clinic will open at Coastal Manor, the 108-bed long term nursing home the hospital already operates.
Hester said the clinic should open mid-to-late summer “due to the need to recruit providers.”
“This clinic will have a nurse practitioner five days a week and a physician one to two days a week until we are able to recruit more providers,” he said. “The goal by 2018 would be to have a fulltime physician with specialists rotating through the clinic.”
The hospital’s clinic at the Tradeport East industrial park east of I-95 should open by the end of the year.
The special local option sales tax that voters approved in November included about $800,000 for the Tradeport East clinic. Hester said it will begin operating “before the end of the year.”
He said the clinic at Tradeport East will be approximately 3,500 square feet. It will begin as a primary care clinic only with physicians “rotating through two or three days a week with fulltime mid-level coverage five days a week,” he said. “The goal by summer of 2018 is to have two fulltime physicians and two nurse practitioners, with some specialists, such as cardiology and orthopedics, rotating through the clinic.”
Hester told chamber members the East End clinic will have “some sort of extended hours, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and potentially half a day Saturday as well.”
Finding the money to provide services has been difficult for all hospitals, Hester said, telling chamber members that hospitals are struggling to come up with funding.
He said taxpayer support has been “huge for us.”
But Hester also noted LRMC provides a sizeable boost to the local economy.
In 2014-15 the hospital had an economic impact of about $68 million, he said.
Also speaking at Thursday’s luncheon were Pam Swicord, LRMC’s director of practice operations; Katy Rhodes, the hospital’s chronic care coordinator, and Dr. Jon Williams, the medical director of LRMC’s emergency department.