Health center opening Tuesday in Holiday Island
HOLIDAY ISLAND — On their second open house day, May 25, (complete with free burgers and hot dogs) Boston Mountain Rural Health Center chief executive officer Betty Sanders talked about the experience of bringing the award-winning health center to Holiday Island.
“People are already calling for appointments,” she said, “They are really appreciative.”
The Health Center is slated to open Tuesday, May 30, at No. 1 Park Drive in the Business Park in Holiday Island.
Beyond its reception area, the 4,300 square-foot clinic has four examination rooms, a procedure room and a triage room. Using a rotating combination of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Carol Piatkowski and primary care physician Dr. Ben de Miranda, they treat acute illnesses and injuries and provide care for long-term illnesses.
The services range from treatment of cuts and other wounds, colds, flu, allergies, infections, sprains and fractures to long-term care for patients with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis and asthma. Other onsite services include vaccines, preventative screenings and physicals. The clinic uses a sliding fee system of payments and prescription medication assistance programs to provide care for patients who are uninsured or underinsured. The clinic also accepts Medicare and Medicaid patients.
BMRHC’s latest recognition for its medical services will come in the form of the Trendsetter Award from the Arkansas Department of Health on June 1.
“We will be the only organization in the state to receive the award for outstanding efforts in educating in self-management of diabetes,” said Chief Clinical Officer Jennifer DePriest.
Sanders followed by saying, “Individually and as a group we offer excellent health care. I am so proud of the achievements of our medical teams.”
The need for the new clinic became shockingly obvious with the December departure of Dr. Sonal Bhakta followed soon by the closing of Mercy Clinic, effectively leaving the community without health care. This came at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to find doctors and clinics in the area who are able to accept new patients.
BMRHC made known its interest in developing a clinic here during a Jan. 31 Elks Club meeting but a search for health care services began more than a month earlier with developer Tom Dees canvassing area hospitals looking for advice on bringing in a new provider. During the search Dees made contact with BMRHC and invited their representatives on a three-hour tour of the community on Dec. 19.
All five Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District Board of Commissioners attended BMRHC’s presentation at the Elks Club and on Feb. 17 the BOC passed a goodwill resolution promising support, within its legal limits, for the Health Center and directing District Manager Lawrence Blood to help wherever possible. That was followed by more than a month of waiting while BMRHC’s Board of Directors evaluated the move.
According to Chief Operations Officer Debbie Ackerson, it was determined that the Holiday Island area with its estimated population of 3,000 is large enough to support a BMRHC clinic. They leased the clinic space on April 1. The Health Center here will be No. 11 in the Marshall, Ark-based BMRHC’s expanding list of clinics in northwest and central Arkansas.
BMRHC was started in 1994 and is a non-profit charitable health care provider. It is one of only 12 independent community health care centers in the state. They unite to gain a greater presence in the state capitol.
“We are separate organizations but together we are the Community Health Centers of Arkansas,” Sanders said.
“There are few things as important for a community’s survival and growth than health care,” Dees said, “We are very fortunate to have Boston Mountain here.”
Piatkowski will be seeing patients on Mondays and Tuesdays from 7:45 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:45 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. Dr. Ben de Miranda with his staff will see patients on Wednesdays from 7:45 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. To reach BMRHC call 870-448-5733 and ask for the appointment scheduling department.