Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper Helps Dedicate New Health Department Facility in Blount County

Monday, April 23, 2007 | 07:00pm

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN, was on hand today in Maryville for the open house and dedication for Blount County’s new Health Department facility. Cooper also met with county staff members and local government officials.

Blount County received $1 million in Safety Net funding in June 2006 to assist with the renovation of the former county library building for a new Health Department facility. The expansion will help accommodate growing patient numbers and facilitate the provision of primary health care services as part of Governor Phil Bredesen’s effort to expand Tennessee’s health care Safety Net for those without insurance.

“We are committed to ensuring that all Tennesseans have access to primary care services, and are pleased to support Blount County in its efforts to meet this challenge,” said Governor Bredesen. “I am appreciative of our State Legislature for dedicating Safety Net funding to Blount County to help make this new health facility a reality.”

“Maryville has become a hub for health care for the surrounding area,” said Rep. Doug Overbey, District 20. “This expansion is timely, appreciated and beneficial, not just for the people of Maryville but for others as well.”

I was pleased that I was able to work with the Governor to expand primary care in Blount County,” said Rep. Joe McCord, District 8. “This is concrete evidence of the State’s commitment to extend health care as broadly as we can.”

The Blount County Health Department began providing primary care services in July 2006, and has seen a significant increase in patient numbers. The new facility opened March 12, 2007, and now has an average of 130 patients scheduled each day in addition to walk-in patients. The total cost of the renovation project was $3 million. Blount County provided $2 million of the costs. 

“The caring providers at our county Health Departments on are the front lines in working to improve and protect the health of Tennessee’s citizens,” said Commissioner Cooper.  “I am proud to be taking part in the dedication of this new health facility, and of our partnership with the Blount County government in the provision of these services.”  

“This new building represents the partnership Blount County has with the state to provide public health services for the people who live, work and play here,” said Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham. “It is truly a win-win for the taxpayer. Additionally, Blount County is blessed to have the new building staffed by such dedicated and wonderful people who are so ably led by Micky Roberts.” 

The new Blount County Health Department provides needed additional clinic space. The former facility had only seven examination rooms. The new facility is 29,000 square feet and includes 24 examination rooms. The expansion allows health providers to offer both primary care and family planning services each day. The department now employs 50 full-time staffers, including a primary care physician. 

“This new Health Department facility helps us meet the growing demand for primary care and other crucial health care services in Blount County,” said Paul Erwin, M.D., East Regional Health Director. “This department is the most-visited in our 15-county region. The expansion allows us serve our patients more efficiently.” 

The Blount County Health Department at 301 McGhee Street in Maryville provides an array of services including primary care, family planning, WIC and nutrition services, immunizations, breast and cervical cancer screening, birth and death certificates, children’s special services, HIV testing and counseling, and communicable disease control. Basic medical services for uninsured adults are offered on a sliding fee scale based on income, with a $5 minimum fee for each visit. Hours for the clinic are 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Individuals wishing to make an appointment may contact the Health Department at (865) 983-4582. 

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