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Albany Area Primary Healthcare expands into northwest Albany, onboards Renaissance Centre staff

Albany Herald - 1/5/2019

Jan. 05--ALBANY -- At 2403 Osler Court, in northwest Albany near other medical practices such as Albany Internal Medicine and Meredyth Place, Albany Area Primary Health Care has found a new home for expansion while also allowing a well-established clinical psychologist to do more for his patients.

The AAPHC Renaissance Center opened last week at 2403-B Osler Court, and staff there has since started accepting patients. The facility includes almost the entire staff from the Renaissance Centre that was located at 506 N. Jackson St., including Nick Carden.

Carden cares for children, adolescents, adults and families in southwest Georgia with a focus on behavioral health with the help of counselors. It joins another AAPHC clinic next door, AAPHC Northwest Family Medical Center and Dental Center, in offering a "one stop shop" for health care.

"There is a growing need for mental health and the ability to partner with private practices and continue to grow services in the community," AAPHC CEO Shelley Spires said. "There was the opportunity with the (Renaissance Center) move for the ability for patients to receive care on a sliding-scale basis.

"There are a lot of patients, even with insurance (whose high premiums limit their ability) to seek the care needed for their well-being. This will allow them to do it on a discounted basis."

Dr. Rupert Dyer, who has been practicing at AAPHC's East Albany Pediatric and Adolescent Center on East Broad Avenue and Dawson Medical Center on Johnson Street in Dawson, will begin working out of the family medicine center after it opens on Jan. 14 at 2403-A Osler.

Spires said the family medicine center next door ought to help with chronic disease management. At that center, Dyer will use his skills in internal medicine and pediatrics to see children and adults, while a nurse practitioner will assist with carrying the pediatric load.

"They will see all ranges of ages and will have, periodically through the week, a dentist and hygienist," Spires said. "(This is fueled by the need) and ability to expand services to the community for easier access and ability. They will provide the full range of care."

The location of the clinics allows for partnerships in patient care with nearby medical practices, while also setting up AAPHC for future growth, the organization's CEO said.

"Being in a larger space and more specialties will hopefully help us grow," Spires said. "Adding comprehensive care will allow us to not only expand in all areas (but to also include those) who are uninsured or underinsured.

"We only hope this is the beginning of making more services available, affordable, acceptable and accessible."

Carden, who has been working in behavioral health for 35 years, recently decided he was ready to do something different -- so he said he reached out to an organization with a presence in the community and an established mental health component.

"I got into a meeting with Shelley and (AAPHC COO) Clifton (Bush), and the next thing I knew we were in a meeting going crazy" he said. "A single provider (practice) is a thing of the past. A program of impact is going to be a community-based model.

"I was ready for a new challenge, even at 65."

Carden said that places were found for his staff at the new location, but staff has some adjustments to make. They are not working just for a behavioral health practice anymore, but an overall medical model -- and they have to get used to faithfully punching a clock for lunch breaks.

There is a willingness to make these adjustments.

"Overall, people are excited," Carden said. "Right now, we are moving along well."

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