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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Ballad Health Medical Associates opens new family medicine practice at Unicoi County Hospital, bringing more primary care resources to the region

Six months into operation, Unicoi County Hospital is expanding the services it provides the community by opening a new family medicine practice.  

The primary care clinic, part of Ballad Health Medical Associates, brings more primary care resources to the community. The clinic will be located inside Unicoi County Hospital in office space that was designated for primacy care when the facility was built.

“We envisioned Unicoi County Hospital as a new model for rural healthcare, and as such, we made sure to include additional space for physician offices, as well as resources for increasing primary care utilization and community education,” said Eric Carroll, administrator of Unicoi County Hospital.

“The new Ballad Health Medical Associates office is a key component of that plan. Our personal care providers are often starting points for healthcare, and by bolstering that access, we can help our community get on a track to wellness.”

The family medicine clinic is led by Rebecca Sacora, MD, a former helicopter wilderness search-and-rescue medic. While she loved helping patients in urgent situations, she wanted the connection of working with a patient beyond the emergency room.

“I wanted to participate in the whole treatment,” said Dr. Sacora, who completed her family medicine residency at East Tennessee State University after earning a degree in biomedical sciences at Northern Arizona University and studying medicine at St. George’s University in Newcastle, England.

Dr. Sacora’s comprehensive care includes primary and preventive medicine for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Offerings at Ballad Health Medical Associates include health screenings, general dermatology care, management of chronic conditions, same and next-day appointments, sports medicine, vaccination and travel medicine, wellness exams and women’s health.

As a family practitioner, Dr. Sacora especially looks forward to working with her patients through every health stage and chapter of their lives.

“My favorite part of patient care is hearing people’s stories – about their lives, their kids and grandkids. Even if patients feel like they’re off topic or maybe even rambling a bit, I learn about them and their medical issues through their words,” she said. “Sharing is bonding.”

Unicoi County Hospital opened in October 2018 with 20 total beds for inpatient acute care, a 24-hour emergency department, physician office space, a chest pain center and standard and advanced diagnostics. The hospital also features a cafeteria with outdoor seating and views of the mountains, a gift shop, a chapel and a meditation space designed to help people relax and find peace during stressful times.

“We’re extremely proud that, in an age of frequent rural hospital closures, not only has Ballad Health opened a beautiful new hospital, but we’ve been empowered to focus our services to meet the specific needs of this area,” Carroll said. “Through this thriving new facility, we’re ready and able to work with the people of Unicoi County to create a healthier region.”

The clinic is now open and accepting patients. For more information about Dr. Sacora and Ballad Health Medical Associates, call (423) 735-4080.


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