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story.lead_photo.caption MRMC CEO Rex Jones (center left) on Wednesday, April 10, celebrates the official grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Magnolia Family Medical Clinic at 104 Hospital Drive. The new walk-in care center, unlike many non-appointment offices, accepts Medicaid and Medicare, as well as private insurance and cash. Also pictured are Nurse Practitioners Courtney Riddle (center right) and Jo Ann Clark (right front). - Photo by J.D. Bailey

The campus of Magnolia Regional Medical Center celebrated a grand opening of its newest clinic this week at the just-operational Magnolia Family Medical Clinic along Hospital Drive. The location should be familiar to many in the area, as the office sits at the former office of Dr. John E. Alexander Jr. The office opened for business on April 1, but Wednesday saw a special ribbon cutting and reception.

The service was attended by numerous local business, healthcare, and city officials.

Technically designated as a rural health clinic, the new walk-in and by-appointment family medical office provides services and accepts payment forms many other clinics do not.

“We wanted to make sure we had access to care and the availability for more ports of entry into the healthcare system for people,” said Rex Jones, chief executive officer of Magnolia Regional Medical Center. “And being a rural health center status, we welcome Medicare and Medicaid patients.”

The payment system for government-funded coverage can sometimes be limited at similarly-sized clinics due to its unique payment system. The clinic also accepts all traditional insurance and cash.

“It pretty much takes care of any patient and any of the private pays,” Jones added.

With the clinic located so close to Magnolia Regional Center’s primary facility, and both under the same administration, instances of true urgency can now be referred to MRMC’s emergency room. And on the flip-side, those at the emergency room that may not necessarily be deemed as so can be referred either to their own doctor or the next-door clinic upon availability.

“We’re probably going to take a more focused attempt at getting them to a more appropriate level of care,” Jones said.

ER patients not in an actual emergency would still be treated, but they may be required to pay up-front if they elect not to make the trip to the family clinic or another facility if they’re open for regular hours of operation.

“Let’s say you have a sore throat or a little bit of back pain -- they’re going to say, ‘well that’s not really an emergency,’” Jones added.

Nurse practitioners Jo Ann Clark and Courtney Riddle will be on full-time staff at the new clinic. Dr. John E. Alexander Jr. -- although he won’t see patients -- will have oversight of the office and be available to the medical staff for consultation.

The location will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon.

“We’re trying to be accessible to parents that work or can’t get accommodations to take their child for care during the middle of the day,” Jones said.

Since Alexander only in January moved out of the office, the property was in prime condition ahead of its opening.

Along with the insurance advantages as a rural health center, the clinic will also perform child and adult immunizations. It will be one of the few sites to perform such services in Magnolia.

“I truly think this is going to be successful,” Jones added. “I think we’re all excited about this.”

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