BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Hancock Medical Center has expanded the medical services it offers to the community. The hospital opened a family medicine unit on the second floor of the hospital this week as an alternative to walk-in Urgent Care facilities.
Hancock Medical leaders say the new unit answers an SOS from the community. The family Medicine unit will be staffed by two new experienced doctors and two nurse practitioners.
Veteran physician Becky Hollibaugh began seeing patients Monday.
"Are there any specific issues you need us to address today?" Dr. Becky Hollibaugh asked a patient.
Patient Marie Deforest responded, "I see an oncologist in New Orleans on Jefferson Highway. And I'm now in remission and I need to see a primary care physician, and I wanted to establish a relationship with a physician in this community."
Deforest lives in Diamondhead. She said primary care close to home will save her a lot of time and money.
"I won't have to travel at least 50 miles round-trip," said Deforest.
Hospital leaders know a lot of people don't have a primary care physician.
"I often treat grandma, mom and dad and maybe the grandchildren also, so often I know the entire family and sometimes that gives me a little bit of an edge in knowing what's really going on with that person," said Dr. Hollibaugh.
The doctor said what the hospital now offers is a superior alternative to walk-in Urgent Care centers. Here it's basically a one stop shop.
"Because we're attached to the hospital, we have x-ray available to us, we have lab available to us, even some of the specialists are still right here within the building," explained Hollibaugh.
The family medicine unit was opened after the hospital conducted a community needs assessment survey.
"And this new service that we have, Family Medicine-Bay St. Louis, will offer same day appointments, next day appointments. So we will always be able to get the patient in when they need to see a physician," said Tom Carlton, Hancock Medical Center's Director Public Relations.
Family Medicine-Bay St. Louis is the first new practice to open at Hancock Medical Center since the hospital became part of the Ochsner Healthcare system.