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Baxter Regional Readies Medical Clinic at Baker's Pharmacy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scotty Baker presides over his new pharmacy and medical supply area at the front of his building. A new medical clinic, to open by the end of the year, is being built in the rear of the building. [Order this photo]
People who have not been in Baker's Pharmacy for awhile are in for a shock.

A walk through the front door is the entryway to the pharmacy, which is now in a much smaller space at the front of the building. Behind a wall and two doors is a major construction zone, as the space is developed into a new medical clinic.

"They have the space gutted, and are ready to begin building the clinic," said pharmacist and building owner Scotty Baker. "They should be finished by the end of the month."

"They" are workers assembled by the Baxter Regional Medical Center to build the clinic space for Renee Arnold, a nurse practitioner who is the hospital's partner in the new clinic.

Baker and his wife, Bobetta, have worked in Salem for nearly 40 years. Besides the pharmacy, their space on U.S. 62-412 at Highway 9 South has been a department store and gift shop, selling everything from over the counter medicines and medical supplies to a line of shoes, candles, greeting cards and all kinds of giftware.

In September, the Baker's began a "Remodeling Sale," to sell off the remaining merchandise in stock, and prepare for the big changes that were ahead.

"I will miss the shoppers, but I won't miss being here late on Christmas Eve wrapping presents for last minute shoppers," Bobetta laughed as her sale began.

"We think the clinic makes a lot of sense," Scotty Baker said. "With Dr. Bozeman and Dr. Moody talking about retiring, there is a need for additional medical providers here in the area."

A spokesperson for the Baxter Regional Medical Center told The News the hospital will release full details soon concerning the new clinic.

"We are waiting for a more definite finishing date (for construction), the spokesperson said. "We are gearing up for a nice clinic."

While Baker's Pharmacy is getting settled into its new space, which will emphasize pharmacy services, it still has at least one improvement of its own to finish. A new elevated ramp on the east side of the building was the first step toward building a drive-through window.

"The one thing that we haven't had is a drive-through window," Baker said.

At one time, the Baxter Regional Medical Center sent specialists to the Fulton County Hospital to see patients in the area. In 2011, it was asked to submit a proposal, as the hospital board looked for a partner to manage day to day operations. Baxter Regional made an in depth proposal to lease and to manage the hospital for a twelve year period. The board turned down the offer, and later hired the Ozarks Medical Center to manage the hospital, an arrangement that is continuing.

Major construction is involved in turning the rear of Baker's Pharmacy into a medical clinic which nurse practitioner Renee Arnold will operate in a partnership with Baxter Regional Medical Center.
With the opening of the new clinic, Baxter Regional will make a new attempt to establish a local presence.

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