Addressing a need

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 30, 2010

For a while it was one of the best-kept secrets in the western end of Lawrence County. What was the construction going on at Park Avenue, off the U.S. 52 exit into Ironton?

Now as the building going up there takes a definite shape, the answer is apparent.

It’s the latest and one of the largest family care centers that King’s Daughters Medical Center has brought to the Tri-State. And when the Ironton Family Care Center opens its doors to patients on June 14, it will be another step by the medical center to increase its presence in the area.

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“This is one of the biggest ones we have built today,” Fred Jackson, KDMC president and chief executive officer, said Thursday after as medical center officials announced the opening of the facility. “We have a lot of capacity to expand and add more services. When we build a facility, we make sure it meets the needs, then we can expand services.”

The 16,500 square foot, two-level center, located at 912 Park Ave., will offer primary care medical services, along with an on-site laboratory and X-ray and CAT scan capability, as well as mobile mammography and mobile MRI.

Throughout the spacious facility is the soothing color scheme of blues and dark woods as workmen work to finish painting and electrical work in anticipation of a mid June opening.


“Our goal is to provide the very best customer service while providing high quality care. An important component of this is listening to your patients and creating facilities and services to meet their needs,” Jackson said.

Dr. Tony Virgin and the 14-member staff from the current center on Vernon Street will move to the new facility. Gretchen Horner, Ronda Nickoson and Elizabeth Spurlock will be the nurse practitioners. Also Spurlock is a certified diabetes educator.

At first, 12,000 square feet of space will be utilized with the remainder on tap for future expansion.

“It is a good amount of coverage for what is needed,” Jackson said.

On the main floor is a roomy waiting room that can seat up to 60 patients with a nearby clinical area that features an in-the round nursing station surrounded by 12 examining rooms and a room where such procedures as biopsies and Pap smears can be done. Nurses on duty can monitor all 12 rooms.

Downstairs will be the imaging center with X-ray and CAT scan equipment. Outside is where the mobile mammography and mobile MRI can be brought in.

“When King’s Daughters builds something, it is state of the art,” Virgin said. “We can treat all kinds of health conditions.”


With the lab capability at the Ironton center, “people who had to go to Ashland to have blood drawn can come here,” Virgin said.

X-rays will be recorded digitally which means Virgin in Ironton can confer with a radiologist at the medical center in Ashland as they both view the same X-ray.

Patient medical records at Ironton will be part of KDMC’s electronic medical records system where records can be accessed from any KDMC location.

“Whatever is in the system, it is available to any physician at any facility,” Jackson said.

Also patients can take their records with them on a jump drive, if they plan to go out of the country and need to take the information with them.

“This is cutting edge,” Jackson said.


Also on site will be a Home Medical Equipment store where patients can find such products as walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, orthopedic bracing and nebulizers, at the showroom.

“If they need a walker or a mobilized scooter, that will be available here,” Jackson said. “It will be more convenient.”

KDMC will host a grand opening from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26. The Ironton center encourages appointments but welcomes walk-ins. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8: 30 p.m. Monday through Saturday

The Home Medical Equipment store is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is on-site parking.

Mayor Rich Blankenship looks at the new center as another example of the contributions KDMC has made to Ironton.

“What a dramatic improvement to the entrance of the city,” he said.

Ironton Family Care Center

Hours of operation:

9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Size: 16,500 square foot, two-level facility at 912 Park Ave., Ironton

Staff: Primary physician is Dr. Tony Virgin with nurse practitioners, Gretchen Horner, Ronda Nickoson and Elizabeth Spurlock.

Opening date for patients: June 14 with grand opening 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26. First mobile mammography appointments begin on Aug. 18.

Services: Primary care, X-ray and CAT scan, laboratory, mobile MRI and mammography, Home Medical Equipment Store operating 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Appointments can be made by calling 740-534-0021 or 1-888-246-0340.