1st clinic in Jimmy Carter's hometown opens with ex-president's help

After four months of prep work and planning, a new health clinic opened in Plains, Ga., Aug. 22 — the first healthcare facility available to patients in the area since the region's main hospital closed in March, according to The Telegraph.

Former President Jimmy Carter played a significant role in the clinic's opening, appealing to the Macon, Ga.-based Mercer University School of Medicine to consider opening a satellite facility in the town of approximately 700 residents, Jean Sumner, MD, dean of the medical school, previously said.

The clinic, Mercer Medicine Plains, began accepting patients in July and is scheduled at near capacity through October, the report states. It offers a range of services, including internal medicine, obstetrics, and marriage and family therapy. Mercer medical school students also have the opportunity to work at the clinic as part of their training rotations.

Mercer officials said they hope to open more satellite primary care locations throughout rural Georgia, which has seen seven rural hospitals close since 2010, according to a study published by the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. The report found only two other states surpassed the number of hospital closures: Texas and Tennessee.

"Our goal in these clinics is to create a model that's sustainable, not only individually, but that could be replicated and could be sustained across the state," Charles Duffey, COO of Mercer Medicine, told The Telegraph. "And really the best way we can do that is to remove the administrative burden from the physician, centralize it in our 27-provider practice in Macon, and allow them just to practice medicine. And I believe that we've done that effectively here."

To access the full report, click here.

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