PLAINS – Mercer Medicine Plains, a primary care practice and division of the faculty practice of Mercer University School of Medicine, will open in early July at 107 Main St. in Plains. Since the closing of the Plains Medical Center in March, residents have been without an option for local health care.
Mercer Medicine Plains will offer comprehensive primary care services using local physicians and nurse practitioners as well as specialty care and mental health services through both in-person and telehealth consultation.
“Our community is excited to have Mercer operate our medical clinic in Plains. Many new services will be offered which will benefit not only Plains but the surrounding area,” said Plains Mayor L.E. Godwin III.
Care will be available Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings, with a call service to provide coverage in the evenings and on weekends.
On-site services will include primary care, internal medicine, OB/GYN, marriage and family therapy and counseling, lab and X-ray.
Telemedicine technology, supported by the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth (GPT), will provide additional access to cardiologists, pulmonologists, endocrinologists and all other specialists offered at Mercer Medicine in Macon.
Mercer Medicine Plains will be hiring locally to fill its nursing and administrative staff.
“Mercer University School of Medicine is committed to educating physicians and other healthcare providers to serve the needs of rural and underserved Georgia,” said Jean Sumner, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “The opportunity to re-establish care in Plains is consistent with our mission to increase access to quality health care for Georgia citizens. We are honored to work with such a wonderful rural community like Plains.”
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter hosted Dr. Sumner and representatives from the School of Medicine and Georgia Partnership for Telehealth on May 17 to discuss plans to bring a medical clinic back to Plains and to demonstrate the ability to perform a medical examination at a distance using technology.
“The people of Plains are in need of medical coverage, and by teaming with Mercer University School of Medicine, we will be able to deliver the best care possible,” said Jerad Johnson of GPT.
The office, located in downtown Plains, is currently being refurbished by Mercer using local contractors, and School of Medicine faculty will participate in provision of care in the community.
The medical school will also offer a rural rotation for its students in the Plains office so that they can gain the skills needed to practice in a rural community and an appreciation of the benefit health care brings to rural patients and towns.
“There is no more challenging profession that that of a rural physician, but there is also no more meaningful role in all of health care,” said Dr. Sumner. “Mercer University School of Medicine only accepts Georgia residents, and all students recognize that our mission is rural and underserved Georgia. Our faculty, staff and students take our commitment to that mission very seriously, and Mercer Medicine Plains is an excellent model of that mission at work.”
About Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)
Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences. For more information, visit medicine.mercer.edu.