Mercer Medicine Holds Grand Opening of New Rural Health Clinic in Peach County

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Mercer Medicine Peach County Ribbon Cutting

FORT VALLEY – Mercer Medicine Peach County on Dec. 12 welcomed dozens of local residents for an open house and ribbon-cutting at its offices, which opened in October at 201 Avera Dr. in Fort Valley.

Mercer Medicine is the primary care practice and division of the faculty practice of Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM).

“Mercer University School of Medicine and Mercer Medicine are committed to quality primary care in rural Georgia communities, and Mercer Medicine’s Peach County clinic represents our commitment to that mission,” said Jean Sumner, M.D., dean of MUSM. “We are pleased to be here and continue a legacy of quality primary care. We look forward to being a strong partner in a great community.”

Mercer Medicine operates a multi-specialty medical complex in downtown Macon in the 43,000-square-foot facility that previously served as the location of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

In July 2018, Mercer Medicine expanded outside of Macon opening a rural clinic in Plains at the request of former U.S. President and Mercer Life Trustee Jimmy Carter.

At a dedication ceremony last August, Mercer President William D. Underwood said Mercer Medicine Plains “represents part of a broad-ranging initiative by the University to transform access to health care in this state” and would serve as a model for additional rural health clinics around the state.

During its first 11 months, Mercer Medicine Plains added 1,680 patients to its roster, recorded 5,330 patient visits and hired a part-time OB-GYN.

This October, Mercer announced plans to open two additional rural health clinics in Peach County and Clay County. In addition to provision of care, these clinics offer an educational component for rural physicians, management services and help in the placement of future physicians.

Mercer Medicine Peach County has been welcoming patients for more than two months at the location previously occupied by the medical practice of Michael W. Early Sr., M.D.

Dr. Early will continue to practice family medicine with Mercer Medicine, and through a state-of-the-art telehealth system, patients will also have access to cardiologists, pulmonologists, endocrinologists and other specialists located at Mercer Medicine’s Macon offices.

“My family and staff are delighted to join the Mercer family and continue to provide quality health care for decades going forward in the Middle Georgia area of Peach and surrounding counties,” said Dr. Early. “The focus of Mercer Medicine Peach County is to help families stay together with improved quality and quantity of life through God’s blessing. Mercer Medicine’s footprint will escalate the education, empowerment and medical services for this community to heights never before envisioned.”

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 and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences.

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Kyle Sears