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Poseyville Regional Medical Center opens its doors

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By Rachel Christian

Less than nine months after construction plans were first announced, the new Poseyville Regional Medical Center opened its doors to the public.

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The $700,000 facility was a collaboration between local officials, residents and state imitative programs to create an easily accessible location for medical care.

A father-daughter pair of physicians will occupy the new structure, which hosted a special ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon. Dr. Chester and Julie Burkett will begin seeing patients at the medical center next week for general health appointments.

On Thursday, an opening ceremony was also held at the nearby Poseyville Community Center with state and local officials featured as guest speakers, as well as free guided tours of the building offered after the ribbon cutting.


In the beginning

Area leaders formed the Poseyville Medical Foundation at the beginning of 2015 to address what they viewed as a major need for a new health facility. The Tri-County Medical Center, located just outside Cynthiana, had served as the area’s only doctor’s office since it first opened 50 years ago in 1967. Outdated, cramped and out of the way for many patients, the board members agreed that the building had served its purpose, and could no longer adequately meet the needs of Poseyville and neighboring towns.

The Poseyville Medical Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization comprised of community leaders like its president, Joe Reynolds, a local pharmacy owner, and its vice president, Bruce Baker, the Poseyville town council president. The group worked for over a year to draw up plans, select a location and raise money for the project.

Paying for it

The cost of the modern medical center totaled $700,000, just $10,000 over original projections.

The bulk of that number was raised through hundreds of private donations from local businesses and residents, who mailed checks and dropped off cash at Town Hall for months. The project received another helping land when the property for the site, located at 40 Fletchall St., was donated by local attorney, Bill Bender.

“The community saw a need for a new facility in order to continue this kind of medical care,” Baker explained.

“Poseyville and the surrounding area is the type of community that once it realizes a need like that, they react.”

The effort received a final major contribution in late February from Indiana’s Regional Cities Imitative, which contributed $135,247 to the project. Because the new center will help serve residents in Gibson, Vanderburgh and northern Posey County, as well as attract new talent to the area, it qualified for the state funding.


The facility and construction

Construction began Jan. 16, and the warm winter weather helped keep progress on track. Actual construction wrapped up about three weeks prior to Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

The 3,595 square foot modernized Regional Medical Center is equipped with an on-site lab for preparing samples and cultures, a minor procedure room and two examination rooms for the facility’s two physicians.

The building is also furnished with high speed Internet, a TDC telephone system and other 21st century upgrades.
In the days leading up to its dedication, the center received some minor last minute toucbes that included outdoor landscaping.

“We were in good shape and ahead of schedule,” Baker said. “Which is all you can hope for.”
The physicians

Dr. Chester Burkett practiced as a family physician at the old Tri-County Medical Center for 34 years before heading over to the new location. He is a native of Griffin and a 1972 North Posey High School graduate.

He is now joined by his daughter, Julie, at the new center. She recently wrapped up her residency at Deconnes Hospital in Evansville. Julie completed medical school at the American University of the Caribbean, and her clinicals at New York City Bronx Hospital.

A representative at Dr. Chester Burkett’s office said there has been an outpouring of interest in the new facility from the community, and said they receive calls each day from individuals inquiring about becoming patients. The representative estimated that well over 100 people have made inquires over the last several months.

Julie Burkett is still accepting new patients at this time, but her father is not.

The fate of the old, vacated medical center  remains unclear. The ¬owner of the property is Terry South, a former physician of the facility who purchased the property in 1979 and currently resides in Evansville.