By SARA ARTHURS
CAREY — Several speakers at the groundbreaking for the new Carey Medical Center focused on the importance of investing in the community and its growth. But nurse practitioner Alyson Kinley put it this way: The center will simply keep people healthier.
Representatives of Blanchard Valley Health System, along with Carey community leaders, were on hand for the Thursday groundbreaking. The health system is building a 15,800-square-foot medical center near the U.S. 23 interchange.
The $7 million project will replace a 1,600-square-foot doctor’s office where Dr. Troy Puckett and Kinley now see patients.
Dr. Robert Puckett, Troy Puckett’s brother, will join him at the new center in August 2019 after finishing his residency, along with another nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
The brothers are Carey natives, and Troy Puckett has practiced there since 2012.
The center will also offer X-ray, imaging and laboratory services. And the health system plans to make its specialists available for more regular visits to Carey. Cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, pain management and urology are among the specialties being considered.
Kinley has been practicing alongside Troy Puckett since 2016, but has worked for Blanchard Valley since 2006, previously in intensive care and the emergency department.
A resident of Upper Sandusky, she said, “I really appreciate the sense of community and small-town living” and is excited to be part of Carey.
But the current building, with four exam rooms and two health care providers, simply doesn’t have enough space, she said.
They can do only limited testing, and if patients need to go to a specialist, they must travel to Findlay or Upper Sandusky. So, sometimes tests and referrals “don’t always get completed,” she said.
Kinley said making it easier to do these things means more people will do them — and, therefore, they will be healthier.
“This is the key — convenience and increased access to health care,” she said.
And for some patients this is “a necessity” as transportation is a challenge.
Kinley also made a point of recognizing other staff members at the clinic, who she said aren’t often recognized for their work. Besides Kinley and Troy Puckett, the staff includes a nurse, medical associates and an office manager. The staff number, too, may grow.
Carey Mayor Jennifer Rathburn said the village wants to continue to support development and those who want to “reinvest in our community”.
She said there were times her own family had to travel outside of Carey for medical care, and “just being able to offer things close to people’s homes” will make a big difference.
“This is really a day of celebration,” Blanchard Valley CEO Scott Malaney said at the groundbreaking.
He noted that the health system had its first doctor in Carey in 1980, and after nearly 40 years, decided “maybe it was time for a different facility.”
Malaney said throughout his 18 years as CEO, board member Randy Myers, owner of Harry’s Pharmacy in Carey, would remind him of the health system’s commitment to Carey. Malaney said Blanchard Valley looks forward to a “greater presence” in the community.
Kelly Shroll, president of Blanchard Valley Medical Practices, said they are proud to be part of “the growth of Carey.”
Much of the $7 million cost will come from the health system, but funds are also being raised, with a philanthropic goal of $100,000.
Marie Swaisgood, chief development officer at Blanchard Valley Health Foundation, said there will be a wall of donors’ names at the center. When patients enter, they will know that individuals in Carey made the facility possible for friends, neighbors and families.
The medical center site is part of about 23 acres of property owned by Tim Vaughn, who is developing utilities and roads in the area.