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p12 Alton MemorialAMH and BJC Medical Group leaders, plus the staff at Family Physicians of Bethalto and village leaders including Mayor Alan Winslow, gathered Oct. 3 for an official ground-breaking of the new medical office building, which should be completed in time of opening in the spring of 2019.    Alton Memorial Hospital and BJC Medical Group are expanding their presence in Madison County with a new medical office building now under construction in Bethalto.
    The building, scheduled to open in the spring of 2019, will replace the Family Physicians of Bethalto office and will be located on the south side of Route 140, just east of its current location. At nearly 9,000 square feet, the new structure will be four times the size of the current office. It will be able to accommodate five providers; the current space has room for only two.
    In addition, there will be a Christian Reference Lab facility as well as space for BJC Medical Group specialists to rotate through, providing office visits for patients who live closer to that location.  
    The new space will also enable extended evening and weekend hours for walk-ins similar to Alton Memorial Convenient Care in Godfrey.  
    “The additional space, extended hours, and the practice’s proximity to Route 255 will significantly increase access-to-care, not only for Bethalto residents, but for families in surrounding towns,” said Robin Kleiner, practice administrator for Family Physicians of Bethalto. “Most importantly, it will be an easy transition for our current patients.”   
    David Marchant, regional practice administrator for BJC Medical Group, emphasized the importance of this initiative.  
    “Strategic analysis shows that this area is vastly underserved for primary care,” Marchant said. “The enhancements to this platform will not only provide immediate benefits to the community, it will improve our ability to recruit new physicians, ensuring we can meet our patients’ needs now and into the future.  Simply stated, more patients are going to have timely access to the health care they need.”
    “We’re bursting at the seams in our current location,” said Dr. Craig Harms, who has served as the sole physician at the practice for more than 10 years. “We will not only have more space available for services inside the building, but we will significantly increase the parking accommodations, enhancing convenience for our patients. And our location in Bethalto is perfectly positioned to provide accessible care for residents of neighboring cities like Edwardsville, as they continue their rapid residential development.”
    Bethalto Mayor Alan Winslow said that the village is “very excited” about the new facility.  
    “We have seen steady improvements in the numbers of new housing permits along with a recent influx of new senior residents due to the opening of two assisted living communities within the past year,” Winslow said. “We are pleased that BJC HealthCare’s quality medical care will be so easily accessible to our growing community.”
    Alton Memorial Hospital President Dave Braasch said that the new building will continue the mission to provide more timely access to primary health care in Bethalto and surrounding communities.  
    “We have seen the benefits to the community of Godfrey when we opened Alton Memorial Convenient Care four years ago,” Braasch said. “We have expanded hours over time as more people chose that location for their more timely health-care needs. We always look at ways we can improve the health of the people and communities we serve, and this is another way we can do just that.”