JESUP, Iowa (KWWL)– Access to healthcare in rural areas can be difficult, but one area hospital is looking to improve that by expanding to Jesup.
Buchanan County Health Center in Independence is building a $2.2 million family medicine clinic in Jesup.
“Jesup is one of those communities in our area that is growing and we anticipate will continue to grow,” said Steve Slessor, CEO of Buchanan County Health Center (BCHC).
The move into Jesup will be the first major expansion for BCHC. Slessor said it’s time for the hospital to expand beyond the county’s largest city.
“We felt in order to thrive and succeed in our long-term future, we need to be more than just a hospital in Independence,” he said.
MercyOne, formerly Wheaton Franciscan, currently operates a clinic in Jesup and in a statement said, “MercyOne continues to operate a family medicine clinic and pharmacy in Jesup with no plans to close.”
Slessor said they will be providing many of the same services and it gives patients in the area more options and access to closer healthcare.
“We understand it’s a very busy practice, but we think there is an ability to serve more patients there and give patients a choice,” he said.
The new clinic will employ five providers. Two of the nurse practitioners are Jesup natives and will be staffing the clinic. Slessor said having local people in a medical setting is important in rural medicine.
“Relationships are a key part in rural medicine, they’re key in medicine in general, but providers that understand what a rural environment is like is very important,” he said.
The new clinic will create about 10 new jobs upon completion and will provide X-ray and lab services.
Slessor said medical clinics promote preventative care so people will seek out care before a condition escalates to a point they must go to a hospital.
The clinic is also partnering with UnityPoint Health so as to be able to share information between BCHC and UnityPoint facilities.
It is expected to open by January 2020.
More information on the clinic can be found here.