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Northeast Georgia Physician Group’s new Cleveland office provides expanded service

Business hopes to bring in specialist physicians

POSTED: May 17, 2011 12:25 a.m.

Lab technician Brenda Pilgrim draws blood from Dorothy Foster of Sautee Monday at the Northeast Georgia Physician Group in Cleveland. Monday marked the opening of the medical facility's new facility.

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Patients at Northeast Georgia Physician Group’s Cleveland office arrived to a new facility Monday that administrators say will dramatically improve service to the community and fill a need for specialized care.

The physicians’s office had occupied its previous location on Helen Highway since 1987, and according to practice administrator Vicki Daniel, the old building just wasn’t cutting it.

“We’d outgrown the building because we had added so many providers and the patient population has grown as well as the community,” she said.

The new building, four years in the planning, will allow the center to operate at expanded hours, an additional 2« hours per day. In June, the facility will begin opening for a half day on Saturdays.

The 10,000-square-foot facility, open just down the street from the old office space, houses 18 exam rooms compared to 10 at the previous location, as well as two large procedure rooms. The doctors also will have a designated classroom for community programing, a digital X-ray system and in-house lab.

Daniel, a member of the group that drafted White County’s Vision 2020 plan, said the expanded services are in direct response to the community’s desire for increased medical care. Daniel said the business hopes to soon begin bringing in specialist physicians, which would help the community’s aging population avoid driving to Gainesville for service.

“We have to send patients down there, and for our population, particularly an elderly person, driving to Gainesville is going to seem like a really long way,” she said. “So we want to have specialty doctors come through this practice here.”

Jonathan Johnson, 75, has been a patient at the Cleveland physicians group for nearly 20 years. As he left an appointment at the new building Monday morning, he said the new office was “just perfect.” He said many of Cleveland’s older population will appreciate the opportunity to stay close to home for care rather than drive to see specialists in Gainesville.

“It’s a long trip to Gainesville and with gas prices, (patients) will be right here,” he said.

Daniel said the new facility will not just change the location where patients are served but also the manner in which they have been cared for. She is hopeful the office will move more toward patient-centered proactive care.

“I think the old medicine system, not just us but nationally, the old medicine system is fix something that’s broken, and we want to fix things before they get broken,” she said. “We want to keep our patients healthy, and by partnering with them that makes them more involved.”


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