By Nathan Baker
Regional health-care provider Wellmont Health System will soon make its first venture into Carter County with the opening of a new cardiology center.
The Wellmont CVA Heart Institute, in the Medical Care building on West Elk Avenue, is set to begin serving patients the second week of April, Wellmont’s Vice President of Cardiovascular Services Tim Attebery said Wednesday.
Two cardiologists, Drs. Harold Alison and Joseph Bailey, will staff the new office to provide consultation and follow-up visits for the 1,200 patients in Carter and Johnson counties who currently drive to either Johnson City or Bristol for their appointments.
“The No. 1 reason we’re opening up that office in Elizabethton is to provide more convenient access to those existing patients for follow up care,” Attebery said. “It can sometimes be very difficult for them to take off work and pay for gas to drive that far to see their doctors.”
Attebery said the new $120,000 office will open with four exam rooms, the two cardiologists and one full-time support staff member. Other medical professionals will rotate services at the new institute from other Wellmont locations.
Wellmont already oversees a dozen similar heart centers spread across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
Attebery said the close relationship between Wellmont and the Hoplands, the builders of the Medical Care building, will allow the institute to offer additional diagnostic services to its patients.
“Because we have such a close relationship with (the Hoplands), we will be able to collaborate with other medical care providers in the building who offer nuclear imaging and echocardiograms,” he said. “Instead of bringing in new providers for those services, the support is already in that building.”