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New primary care facility coming to Mountain City

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

At its meetings, since early 2020, the Johnson County Commission has been discussing a change to the Kellogg Building, located at 100 Cold Springs Road in Mountain City. 

After months of discussions, it sounds like everything is in place for Johnson County’s new primary care clinic to become a reality. Heading the project is Kim Kleine, FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner).  The clinic will be open four days a week for primary care, while on its off day, Wednesday, Kleine is promising to provide home-care. 

Kleine’s past in home-care has inspired her to open the clinic originally, while a long-time friend, Paul Sajdak of High Country Imaging will also offer on-site Xrays.  Later on in the fall, Kleine plans to open a few evenings a week for after-hour care, but emphasized that the new facility is not a replacement for a hospital.

Previously East Tennessee State University (ETSU) students used the Kellogg Building to practice their skills, and the building occasionally housed free clinic events for the area. During elections, it served as a polling place for the Cold Springs area in District 1. ETSU moved out, leaving the space vacant. According to Kleine, the program left behind exam beds, desks, and cabinets. 

Kleine and Sajdak have been working to make the building into a “more usable” space, including removing doors, taking out walls, adding a reception area, and more.  The pair are pitching in to pay for rent, any changes in the building, and the utility costs. The county no longer has to pay for utilities but plans to replace the roof and work on the HVAC system on site.

“We go every other night, if not every night, after work to work on the building,” Kleine explained. “The inside remodeling should be done in the next couple of weeks.”

Other than her work and this project, Kleine is active in the community. One example is her work with  the Johnson County High School Class of 2020. She stepped up to help when the JCHS Class of 2020 missed major milestones due to COVID-19. 

As part of a group of concerned parents, she helped organize the Senior Walk and Picnic and was instrumental in making the upcoming prom set for August 15. She is also a candidate for Second District School Board.  Kleine hopes to have the new clinic up and running in September but expressed concern that COVID-19 may slow plans. 

Keep an eye out for more information on the clinic’s development. The Johnson County Commission meets the second Thursday of each month in the upper courtroom of the Johnson County Courthouse at 7 p.m.