BRISTOL, Tenn. — Ricky Cheathem, a Bristol, Tennessee maintenance worker, said Tuesday that he expects the city’s new health clinic to save him thousands of dollars a year in medical expenses.

“Me and my wife have a 10-year-old daughter and other children who are 30, 27 and 24,” Cheathem said at the grand opening of the clinic on Midway Drive. “Money is tight for all of us and it’s a great feeling to know that I can get our medications and doctor visits for free. My wife and I are both on medicine and my oldest is autistic. Now I don’t have to worry about having money in my pocket to see a doctor. We’ve never had this before. I’m excited.”

The CareHere Employee Health and Wellness Clinic, which has been in the works for about two years, is run by Nashville, Tennessee-based CareHere, which manages more than 180 health care clinics and wellness centers in 24 states. It will provide primary care, disease management, sports physicals and generic non-narcotic medication at no cost to employees who are on the city’s health care plan.

Karena Coakley, project manager for Bristol Housing, said before the clinic was open she had to take off from work, drive to the doctor and then to the pharmacy, which cost both time and money.
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