On Monday, the Aiken Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Center - an outpatient office of Walton Rehabilitation Health System - opened its doors with a ribbon cutting.
"We are proud to be here," said Dr. John Nicholson, who moved from the Mount Pleasant area to become the new location's medical director.
Officials at the ribbon cutting said the office, located on Centre South Boulevard off Silver Bluff Road, offers Aiken's first physical medicine and rehabilitation physician-directed practice.
"This is our location for the Aiken community," said Dennis Skelley, the CEO of Walton Rehab, adding that it has been two years in the making. "... We have introduced a new specialty to the community."
Dr. Nicholson said his office will deal with all sorts of injuries that require rehab, most commonly those hurt while working in the yard.
"It doesn't have to be a major car wreck for me to see them," he said.
For serious injuries requiring surgical care, patients could be referred to Aiken Regional Medical Centers, he said, adding that referrals also could be made to Walton Rehab's Augusta site.
Dr. Nicholson's office will be open Monday-Thursday and will include two other staff members who live in Aiken - a physical therapist and an office manager. Dr. Nicholson said the staff could eventually expand to include another physical therapist and a nurse.
Walton's entry into the Aiken market is the second recently by an Augusta health-care enterprise. University Hospital plans to build a 17,000-square-foot office building on a 7.5 acre tract off Silver Bluff Road in Aiken.
The hospital has mentioned that it might consider more office buildings if there is physician demand.
Such a decision would require city council approval.
Mr. Skelley said Walton has no further plans for more offices in Aiken, but without offering details he said at Monday's opening, "We are looking at other communities in South Carolina and Georgia."
Reach Preston Sparks at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or firstname.lastname@example.org.