NEW ALBANY — A grant was approved at the New Albany Redevelopment Commission Tuesday to open a health center that will have a drive-thru medicine facility.
The redevelopment commission granted Complete Pediatrics and Specialty Care $375,000 from American Rescue Plan funds to expand the practice and meet various health needs of the community. The entire project is expected to cost $1.3 million.
The center is expanding into the Shad and Shad building on East Spring Street and will use the drive-thru portion of the building to offer medicine services.
“Drive-through medical is a big piece right now for contagious disease,” Economic Development & Redevelopment Director Josh Staten said.
Dr. Laleh Rezaei, a pediatrician at the practice, said that the drive-through was their response to dealing with COVID-19, and a similar system is in place at the existing Complete Pediatrics and Specialty Care facility.
Rezaei also mentioned that the patio of the Shad and Shad building will be turned into a private outdoor exam room for the children.
The building is expected to have over 25 health care professionals working in it once the facility is fully operational, according to the city’s Tuesday news release. Staten said the center will be a more holistic approach to medicine and offer a variety of services.
Complete Pediatrics and Specialty Care will offer free community classes on breastfeeding, nutrition, functional medicine and parenting.
“We are trying to open this center to help with treating the causes of the problem, not just treating the symptoms. That would include many chronic diseases including even depression and anxiety,” Rezaei said at the meeting.
She explained that the center will evaluate children’s health as a whole before prescribing medication to deal with symptoms of a certain health issue. Focusing on good nutrition and education in children, Rezaei said, can help build a healthy body that is not going to contribute to mental health issues later on.
“We have the support of psychiatrists and also use of medications if it’s necessary. But if we look at the root cause of the disease then we don’t have to go up on the medicines, and then give more medicines for the side effects of these medications so that eliminates a lot of that domino cycle,” Rezaei said.
Staten emphasized that this facility is coming amidst the current public health crisis.
“I think treating underlying conditions, treating things that allow people to better be more resilient against infectious diseases such as COVID, and offering services like the drive-through medicine, mental health services, things that were obviously important during times of pandemic, are what make this project unique,” Staten said.
Floyds Knobs real estate agent Paul Kiger helped Rezaei find the building after she came to him in December in search of a facility.
Kiger said that often people do not know where pediatric facilities are unless they have to go to one, but this health center will be different.
“This facility is going to be a flagship for children’s wellness, not just your standard pediatric medicine...but for functional medicine,” Kiger said.
Kiger also noted that 50% of the client base at Complete Pediatrics and Specialty Care is low-income, and while the practice is for-profit, a lot of the work they do is for free.