Rocker’s two newest medical practitioners, Kristy Agner and Marlene Aldred, don’t get referrals from the usual places. Most of their business will come in via 18-wheeler.
From a modular trailer off Interstate 90, Agner, 40, and Aldred, 34, cater mostly to truckers and travelers at their new Traveler’s Healthcare Clinic, Inc., 122003 Nissler Road.
“It’s part of our philosophy,” Agner said Monday. “Truckers are often the people who need the most care and can never access it.” The clinic, next to Motel 6 off Rocker exit No. 122, has two full exam rooms set up to offer everything from acute illness and injury to stitches and lab services. It’s also open to the general public.
“Everything a general family doctor can do, we can do,” Aldred said.
Agner believes it’s a business model that makes sense. Long-haul drivers are highly susceptible to diseases that strike people who spend most of their time sitting.
“Diabetes, hypertension, these are things that need to be monitored,” she said. “They can’t pull their semi downtown to get checked out.” Truckers often wait too long because they don’t have easy See CLINIC, Back Page Clinic …
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“One keeled over on the steering wheel, and another out on the sidewalk,” Agner said.
Aldred is a family practice nurse practitioner and has the authority to write prescriptions; Agner is a registered nurse. The women, previously nursing home management consultants from the Illinois-Indiana border, spent several years researching roadside medical clinics and drove through truck stops across the West before settling on Butte.
“We looked at the cost of living, the (Department of Transportation) traffic count,” Agner said. An average of 2,000 people an hour pass through the intersection of Interstate 15 and Interstate 90, she said. They also examined similar clinics in Colorado and Minnesota.
Both women know the struggles truckers face getting medical attention.
“Previously Kristy rode along with her trucker husband,” Aldred said. “It’s something we could sympathize with. How do you eat healthy and travel all the time?” Aldred said her father, a trucker, faced problems finding a doctor on the road.
“When he was sick he couldn’t get his truck to the office,” she said. “ It’s a problem that needs to be fixed.” The clinic doesn’t keep narcotics on-site, but Agner said they’re equipped to direct patients to truck-friendly drug stores in town and have an agreement with Driscoll Drug, 327 S. Excelsior Ave., to deliver until 6 p.m. weekdays.
Traveler’s Healthcare Clinic, Inc. is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Friday and offers Department of Transportation physicals and drug testing. The clinic accepts cash or credit only and provides detailed receipts for insurance purposes. For details, call 782-2928 or (260) 740-2859 after hours.
— Reporter Holly Michels can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org