MOUNT STERLING, Ill. -- A unique health care clinic, exclusively for employees of Dot Foods and their families, is now open in Mount Sterling.

"We have been looking forward to do something like this for many, many years," said Dot Foods CEO Joe Tracy. "For many of those years, we were not motivated to do it because we didn't want to be in direct competition with a local provider. It took us a lot of time for us to do the necessary research before we came to the conclusion that if ever a family health center made sense, it makes sense in Mount Sterling."

Tracy and other Dot Food officials were in Mount Sterling on Monday as the company officially opened the 4,795-square foot facility, which will serve about 5,000 employees, their spouses, and dependent children enrolled in Dot's medical insurance. The clinic, at 108 W. Main St., is being staffed by employees of Premise Health who contracted Dot Foods, which is the continent's largest food industry redistributor. Premise Health, which is based in Brentwood, Tenn., has hired a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse, a patient care coordinator and athletic trainers.

Joanna Stay is the registered nurse who is also the clinic manager.

She said the clinic, which has four exam rooms, a testing laboratory, two doctor's offices and a waiting room, will offer a variety of health services, including pre-employment screenings, employee physicals, wellness screenings, flu vaccines and condition management for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol. These services will be offered at little to no cost to employees.

"The driver and warehouse jobs are very physical jobs, so it is important that they are screened regularly," Stay said. "The other thing is that this location has a certain convenience factor and that is important when you are treating those chronic conditions. People are lot more likely to take the steps to get those conditions under control if they have better access to treatment and medication."

Stay said the clinic will likely see between 18 to 24 people per day.

Tracy said the clinic will likely expand its services in the future.

The Mount Sterling Family Health Center is on the first floor of a new two-story building Dot constructed. It is only the second new building constructed along Main Street in the last 45 years; Dot's Dorothy's Market retail store, which opened in 2014, was the first.

"The Dot Family Health Center is a win-win for our community," said Matt Bradbury, Mount Sterling mayor. "The new facility is a great asset to Dot's employees, many of whom are from this immediate area. But this is great for the whole community, because it's going to bring people into our town where they'll see all the other great things we have to offer. We're blessed to have a company the size and magnitude of Dot in Mount Sterling."

Tracy said there was no where else that the company wanted to build its health clinic than in downtown Mount Sterling.

"Literally there were two buildings that were falling down in front of our eyes, like buildings are in small towns all across the Midwest," Tracy said. "We felt like those two buildings would leave a gaping hole here in Mount Sterling. Once we felt that we were moving forward with a family health center, we started thinking about how this might fill that hole and help bring additional foot traffic to the stores along Main Street. In addition to that we are going to have so many employees and there families, which will be more foot traffic, which we hope means that existing businesses will be flourishing and maybe encourage new businesses to open."

The Mount Sterling clinic is the fifth health center opened by Dot. Other locations are in Georgia, Idaho, Indiana and Oklahoma. The company plans to establish similar clinics at all of its U.S. locations by 2025.

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