The partnership that began two years ago between Jennie Stuart Health and the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network has been fruitful in more ways than one, according to Jennie Stuart Health CEO Eric Lee.

Along with offering a variety of telehealth services to area patients, the hospital is building its new Blue Creek Medical Facility at Eagle Way and Fort Campbell Boulevard to bring a host of health care specialists from Vanderbilt to Hopkinsville.

"Our affiliation with Vanderbilt is helping us expand access to the physicians at Vanderbilt," Lee said in a phone interview with the New Era. "We've been able to use telehealth to have patients tap into a number of specialists."

A few of those shared telehealth programs with Vanderbilt include tele-neurology, tele-infectious disease and tele-EEG.

"It has proven to be a great partnership for our hospital and for our local community," he said.

The Blue Creek facility the hospital broke ground on last month will expand that partnership.

Services that will be offered there include plastic surgery by Dr. Julian Winocour, dermatology by Dr. Tanner Parrent, occupational health, Xray imaging and laboratory services as well as orthopedic surgery.

Lee said the hospital's three orthopedic surgeons will be moved from the main campus to Blue Creek, and another surgeon will be added, Dr. Christian Hoedt.

"We had a number of service lines and practices that were rapidly outgrowing their space, so that was obviously the initial push for a new building," Lee said.

Convenient Care Clinic will be moved to the Blue Creek facility as well as physical therapy services, Lee noted. Some additional space in the facility will potentially be used by an ear, nose and throat physician, Lee said.

He went on to say that the location of the new facility is ideal because it's highly visible and easily accessible from multiple directions.

"We're seeing growth in the number of patients coming to us in the north Clarksville and Oak Grove area," he said. "Because of it's location near 41-A and Eagle Way, it's easy for our patients in Logan County, Todd County and Muhlenburg County to get to us."

Lee said contractors are currently preparing the building pad and the foundation should be poured in December. Construction should be finished October 2020.

With a little less than a year until completion, Lee is excited that local patients will have access to specialty services that were once an hour or more away.

"It's about improving health care and the implementation of best practices," he said of the hospital's affiliation to Vanderbilt. "While we plan to remain Jennie Stuart Health, we know we need to be a part of a larger network in order to contract out specific services. Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network has hospitals in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and North Carolina. We're the first hospital in the network in Kentucky, and we're proud of that."

Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or zalleyne@kentuckynewera.com.

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