ROCKINGHAM — Although the doors have been open for the better part of the last two years, Sandhills Best Care Primary Care finally held its ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Dr. Tammie Gainey and husband Jason Gainey were joined by their employees, the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, several local leaders and other business owners for Wednesday’s event.
“I know a lot of folks have waited a long time for this official ribbon cutting,” Chamber President Kristi Richardson King said as she welcomed the crowd. “We appreciate Sandhills Best Care being here in Richmond County, in particular Rockingham. This is a much-needed resource, not just for this county, but the surrounding counties.”
Dr. Gainey worked for years as a nurse practitioner in primary care and mental health and the couple moved back to Jason Gainey’s home county of Richmond from Greenville, South Carolina.
“There was a need for mental health in the area and felt this is something we can offer to this community,” Dr. Gainey said. “I’ve worked in a lot of rural areas where it was underserved.”
The couple bought two old houses in downtown Rockingham, on Rockingham Road across from City Hall, and first opened the behavioral care facility in 2018.
Kenneth Robinette, former chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, said the Gaineys had several challenges before opening and he, as an elected official, helped them cut through the red tape.
“I respect them for their hard work and their dedication … the grit to keep going, keep fighting when you had roadblocks in front of you,” Robinette said. “And thank goodness there (were) some people out there that believed in you.”
The primary care office opened in January of 2020, before the COVID pandemic ramped up in March.
During that time, Sandhills Best Care converted the primary care to telehealth and continued to provide mental health services, which Dr. Gainey said was needed.
“Over the pandemic we have seen so much mental health — depression, anxiety … there’s such a need for that, all ages,” Dr. Gainey said.
The idea behind having both services, Dr. Gainey said, is to provide integrated care to patients under one roof — or in this case, two roofs.
“The patients really love that,” Dr. Gainey said.
In the past four years, 7,000-8,000 patients have walked through the doors.
Jason Gainey, president of the company, previously worked as the manager of the Richmond County Airport and is also a pastor.
“Before this is a health care (facility), this is a ministry,” Jason Gainey said. “We pray for our patients, we pray with our patients if they like that, because we want them to know that we care and we believe that they can be well.”
Other speakers included Commissioner Andy Grooms and Rockingham Mayor John Hutchinson.
“You all have built a great business here and got great support from the community,” said Hutchinson, officially welcoming the business to the city.
“We appreciate small business, it’s the backbone and the core of Richmond County,” Hutchinson said. “And what you all do, providing jobs and providing services is critical to our progress.”
Sandhills Best Care employs 30 people between the two offices — including nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists and office and call center staff — “who grind every day to make this work,” Jason Gainey said. “They do above and beyond any job description you can think of within a small business — wear many hats to make this work.”
The event was catered by The Grille.