The parking lot of HealthPointe Primary Care, located on John T. Reid Parkway in Scottsboro, is full right before lunchtime on a Wednesday.
Inside the building, an impressive one at that, there are balloons and snacks, as the one-year anniversary of the opening is celebrated.
“Last year, we didn’t get to do a grand opening because of COVID,” said Dr. Andrew Hodges.
So, they celebrate on this day, even as a day’s work continues.
Hodges is joined by Drs. Gabe and Maggie Belue, along with Nurse Practitioner Johnathan Baker. A dream five years ago became reality last year, and there’s not been a slow moment since.
They dreamed of a multi-provider primary care clinic. On their website, at healthpointepc.com, they talk about Dr. Gabe Belue bringing his sharp wit and impressive attention to detail; of Dr. Maggie Belue contributing her passion of taking care of “the whole patient” via a complex multi-system-based approach and Hodges figuring he could just “fill in the gaps” with humor and an uncanny (and trivial) musical knowledge. And Baker helps make it all go.
“Jonathan does a fabulous job,” said Hodges.
The doctors all arrived in Scottsboro in 2012. The Belues opened Highlands Family Medicine, a clinic devoted to primary care, under the ownership and operation of Highlands Medical Center.
Hodges began his practice of internal medicine as one of the first two employed hospitalists at Highlands. Baker was completing nurse practitioner school at this time as well as moonlighting as a flight nurse with AirEvac.
In 2014, Hodges transitioned from hospitalist medicine to primary care when he joined his uncle, Dr. Durwood Hodges Jr., at Hodges Clinic. Shortly after, Baker joined Highlands Family Medicine as a primary care nurse practitioner.
They all came together last year. The guys were good with just four walls. Thankfully, Dr. Maggie and Hodges’ wife, Sarah, had other ideas.
“We just hit the ground running,” said Hodges. “The parking lot is full most every day. We are getting a flood of patient paperwork.”
Hodges said each doctor sees around 20-30 patients per day.
DeAnn Deitsch serves as the office manager. She says the practice has grown drastically in the past year.
“We are looking to hire a second nurse practitioner in September,” she said.
Deitsch says the doors open at 7:30 a.m. each day as patients file in. The office is open through lunch each day except Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, there is a staff meeting.
“It’s a group meeting about staying positive towards patients,” said Dietsch.
Dietsch said there 20 employees total, including the doctors and Baker. She said 10-15 patient applications come in daily.
“It has grown,” she said. “The doctors are triple, double booked each day.”
Dr. Kevin Gross, an optometrist, is also in the building, doing diabetic eye exams and seeing his patients. Gross has been practicing in Scottsboro since 1984.
There are 16 exam rooms, four used by Gross.
“We can do small procedures here,” said Dietsch. “We can do IV’s, cyst removal, mole removal, test for COVID.”
This fall, HealthPointe will open on Saturdays for acute care, any kind of sickness, Dietsch said.
That dream a few years ago is in full swing these days.
“It’s crazy how four people had the same passion and philosophy about primary care and how to practice,” said Hodges. “It took a lot of planning and prayer. I am incredibly happy and proud of what we have built.”