PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A nonprofit health care provider is expanding in Region 8.
Thanks to funding from the Affordable Care Act, a new health care facility will open in Paragould this year.
1st Choice Healthcare has a number of facilities all over Region 8, but when the board found out they were getting $983,000 from a new access point grant, they knew exactly where to put a new facility.
Brigitte McDonald, Chief Executive Officer for 1st Choice Healthcare, works at the corporate office in Corning and said they did a needs assessment for Greene County in 2013.
The needs assessment identified a lack of primary care providers in the county.
McDonald said 1st Choice Healthcare serves people of all ages and all income brackets.
"We serve everyone," McDonald said. "Currently, we serve over 14,000 patients, and it's a mixture of like 38% private insurance, 28% Medicaid, 16% Medicare, and 19% uninsured."
Of those 14,000 patients, they see 1,000 from Greene County.
"And they're having to drive 30 miles to our clinic locations," McDonald said. "Corning, Pocahontas, Walnut Ridge, we also have a clinic in Ash Flat, so this will be our fifth site. We will be able to serve those patients in Paragould and any new patients that want to come see us."
1st Choice Healthcare is renovating the previous Paragould Doctor's Clinic located on 1 Medical Drive in Paragould.
The facility is being renovated and will have 15 exam rooms, along with lab and x-ray capabilities.
McDonald said they already have a doctor and an advanced practice nurse hired, and they hope to add more physicians in the future.
1st Choice Healthcare plans to have the facility in Paragould open by the end of September or early October.
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