Wellmont Opens Hancock County Family Medicine, Expanding the Continuum of Care in the Community

JuLY 11, 2017 | SNEEDVILLE, Tenn.

For more than a decade, Hancock County Hospital has delivered high-quality care to the community, and that commitment has resulted in national recognition from respected third-party organizations.

Now, Wellmont Health System is taking another step in meeting patients’ needs by opening a primary care practice inside the hospital. Welcome Hancock County Family Medicine, which provides patients with comprehensive care that puts them on the path to better health.

The practice has been open since Monday, June 26. It is a department of the hospital but is managed by Wellmont Medical Associates, the umbrella organization for all of the health system’s integrated medical practices except cardiology.

Representatives of the hospital, Wellmont Health System and Wellmont Medical Associates celebrated the addition of Hancock County Family Medicine with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, July 11.

“We’re delighted to provide this outlet for patients who might be experiencing a minor illness that can be treated in a primary care setting,” said Rebecca Beck, the hospital’s president. “It’s also exciting because our medical providers in this clinic will be able to work with their patients to develop short-term and long-term strategies to improve their health so they are less prone to ongoing health concerns.”

Ken Smith, chairman of the hospital’s board of directors, said patients will benefit from having this practice inside the hospital because they will have access to additional services should doctors need to examine their condition in greater depth. The hospital has X-ray and laboratory services on-site for needed testing and evaluation.

“Having this practice in the hospital has enhanced the continuum of care we can offer patients, which is extremely helpful because of the distance from this practice to other medical facilities,” Smith said. “Our hospital has provided a valuable service to the community since it opened 12 years ago, and it is thrilling to see Wellmont invest further in our facility so we have the capability to treat a broad spectrum of health needs.”

Providing care to patients will be two medical professionals who are well regarded in the community – John Short, M.D., and Casey Johnson, a physician assistant.

Dr. Short has been the hospital’s medical director since 2005 and has served patients in Hancock County for most of his 21-year medical career. He most recently practiced with Lakeway Family Medicine in Morristown. Dr. Short graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis and completed his internship and residency in family medicine at UT in Knoxville before embarking on his medical career.

Johnson served as a paramedic at Hancock County Hospital from 2006-2015 and has been a paramedic for Hancock County Ambulance Service since 2002.  He has also volunteered for Hancock County Rescue Squad since 2000. He earned an associate’s degree in public safety as a paramedic from Walters State Community College, a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lincoln Memorial University and a master’s degree in medical sciences in the physician assistant studies section from LMU’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“These are two outstanding providers who will deliver excellent care to patients in Hancock County,” said David Brash, president and CEO of Wellmont Medical Associates. “The depth and breadth of their experience in Hancock County and surrounding communities ensures they are well prepared for the cases they will treat in this clinic. We’re honored to be a resource for our patients when they are sick but also welcome the opportunity to help them remain healthy.”

Because it is part of Wellmont Health System, Hancock County Family Medicine will utilize the Epic electronic health record, which will allow caregivers to review a patient’s history of care at facilities throughout the health system as they make diagnoses and determine the best course of care. Patients will also be able to sign up for MyWellmont, a free portal that enables them to perform tasks such as review portions of their medical record, pay bills and interact with their medical providers.

Hancock County Hospital has served the community since 2005, opening as a partnership between Wellmont and the county. In addition to X-rays and the laboratory, it has 10 inpatient beds, a 24/7 emergency department with five treatment beds, a 16-slice CT scanner, ultrasound care and respiratory therapy services.

The hospital has been recognized with several honors for the caliber of its care. In 2015, the National Rural Health Association selected it as one of the 20 critical access hospitals in the country to earn a best practice designation for patient satisfaction. In 2012, the same organization picked the facility as one of the top critical access hospitals in the United States for quality.

Becker’s Hospital Review, a national publication, has for the last two years chosen Hancock County as one of its Critical Access Hospitals to Know. The most recent list was issued Monday, July 10.

Plus, in 2015, the hospital scored 94 out of a possible 100 points in the National Pediatric Readiness Assessment. The assessment was conducted by the National Pediatric Readiness Project, a multiphase quality improvement initiative to ensure all emergency departments in the country have the essential guidelines and resources to provide effective emergency care to children.

“Hancock County Hospital has been a key player in our delivery of superior care with compassion in our rural communities,” said Eric Deaton, Wellmont Health System’s chief operating officer. “The physicians and other medical professionals have repeatedly demonstrated to the community how patients can receive tremendous care for a broad range of medical conditions. We’re now grateful for the opportunity to expand our scope with the addition of our family medicine practice.”

For more information about Hancock County Family Medicine, please visit www.wellmontphysicians.org. Appointments are available by calling 423-733-5070.