Doctor expanding facility to help women unable to travel to Jonesboro

MANILA, AR (KAIT) - A doctor in Region 8 has plans to bring specialty medical care to residents living in the communities surrounding Jonesboro.

Dr. Tommy Wagner has held St. Bernards Mobile Women's Unit mammogram clinics at his offices in Manila and Lepanto for the past five years. Dr. Wagner said he works with St. Bernards to provide the service because many women aren't able to travel to Jonesboro for appointments.

"Gas prices started to increase and our access to care dropped because some of our patients can't get there," he said.

"Then Jonesboro's expanded so much that a lot of the women aren't comfortable in Jonesboro in the traffic."

Andrea Keating knows how important it is to get mammograms. Keating lost a cousin to breast cancer. "In June of 2010, to breast cancer, so, yes we try to keep up with these," she said. Keating drove 20 minutes from Hornersville, MO for her appointment. The drive to Jonesboro would have taken one hour.

Nurse practitioner Danna Deaton said people coming from the smaller communities now rely on the advanced care. "This is such a great service to our community because it brings that great technology. These are digital mammograms just like you would receive at the imaging center or the hospital."

Because of the response from patients in Mississippi and Poinsett Counties, and the Missouri Bootheel, Dr. Wagner is expanding his office this year to include more services. "We've brought on board Dr. Stephen Lewis from Ob-Gyn Associates to come two days a month."

Wagner also hopes to have orthopedic and cardiology programs up and running soon.  "Our timeline on the building process is about a year. Our timeline on expanding some of these programs, we're going to do some renovation here in order to hopefully get that started by the summer."

Keating said she appreciates getting a little more, in exchange for giving a little less. "At least an hour wait in the doctor's office and an hour's drive home. So three hours, minimum."

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, according to

Call 870-217-4100 about dates and locations for the Women's Mobile Health Unit in your area.

Copyright KAIT 2012. All rights reserved.