An almost-forgotten childhood dream will come true on Monday for Ashley Bailey Wise when she opens Med-West Community Healthcare directly across U.S. 72 West from Clements High School, where she graduated in 1993.

The CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner) remembered that childhood ambition only after her dad, who was renovating the building which now houses the clinic, reminded her: “Hon, don’t you remember how, when you were a kid, you were always talking about having your own place here?”

“At the time,” says Wise, “I thought there was no place but Clements.”

Wise says her first exposure to healthcare came from her great-grandmother, Glady Coffman, a nurse-midwife who traveled by horse-and-buggy throughout the Piney Chapel area delivering babies and treating TB patients.

“She was the healthcare provider for her community,” Wise says. “I was 16 when she died in 1990. She’s where my love of healthcare came from.”

Wise says she planned to become a physician, but when she got married and started a family, she took the nurse practitioner route instead.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the science of nursing from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Before becoming a CRNP, Wise spent five years as a registered nurse working first with critical heart patients in Huntsville Hospital’s CCU and later as a team leader and visiting nurse for Athens-Limestone Hospital Home Health.

Up until last week, she was employed by physician Nauman Qureshi, working in his internal medicine practice in Athens; seeing dialysis patients at DaVita Dialysis Center; and seeing patients at the Waddell Senior Health Center and Ardmore Internal Medicine.

Wise says Med-West is ideally situated to meet the healthcare needs of a rural area of approximately a 20-mile radius between Athens and Rogersville.

“Med-West will see patients 16 years and older for primary and urgent care, and for management of chronic health conditions,” says Wise. “We will accept appointments and walk-ins.”

Med-West’s services include a Coumadin clinic, diabetes and blood pressure management, women’s healthcare, smoking cessation, and urgent care.

CRNPs are required to work in collaboration with a physician who provides oversight and is always available to the CRNP for consultation.

Dr. Tracy Pool, who formerly practiced in Athens and now works in the emergency room at Decatur General Hospital, will be Wise’s collaborative partner. He will see patients one day a week at Med-West and will always be available to Wise, at least by phone.

The clinic will be open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays beginning Monday. A grand opening is set for May 2. Med-West accepts most insurances. As of April 2005, explains Wise, Blue Cross Blue Shield reimburses for the services of CRNPs. Patients may call 729-9477 for information or to schedule an appointment.

Other staff members at Med-Tech are receptionist Dana Shores; med tech Francine Wiley, who will take blood pressures, draw blood and do patient workups; and insurance clerk Regina Bailey.

Wise has been married for 10 years to Chad Wise, an attorney with Latham, Moffatt and Wise. She and Chad are the parents of Chase, 13; Kaitlyn, 9; Alysa, 5; and Matthew, 22 months. Chase played football for Athens Middle School last fall. This spring, Kaitlyn’s and Alysa’s interest in softball keeps their parents at the softball field at least three nights a week.

Wise says it was softball that brought to fruition her dream of opening a clinic.

“Everybody who’s going to be at Med-Tech is the result of friendships developed during last year’s (Athens 10 and Under Girls All-Stars) softball season,” she recalls. “All of us had daughters on the softball team last summer. Our families got to know each other really well.”

Wise also credits the “overwhelmingly generous support of the community” and of her parents, Larry and Brenda Bailey.

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