ASHLAND -- Dr. John T. Hanna doesn't typically open his independent primary care practice until noon on Wednesdays, but when a patient wandered through an unlocked door despite the closed sign outside in January, Hanna was quick to set aside his other plans to address the patient's needs.
"He's always been like that. Patients come first," said his office manager Debbie Dye.
Wednesdays are typically for business -- meetings and paperwork -- but Dye wasn't surprised by the doctor's willingness to help.
After opening his first independent practice in Oregon, Ohio from 1989 to 1992, Hanna moved to Ashland to help his aging mother. He'd stay in the area to open Family Care of Ashland from 2001 to 2006.
When asked to help the Galion Community Hospital with the development of health teams that use both nurse practitioners and physician assistants, again Hanna was quick to answer the call. He remained with the system through 2016. At that point, it had become the Avita Health System.
Further, he's always sought to help communities like Ashland and Galion by speaking on behalf of rural health care. He's received numerous awards throughout his career, the most recent for promoting rural care in 2015.
"There's an intangible reward to being a physician, and I think it's the relationship with the community, but (primary care) physicians take substantial pay cut to be in a rural community... unless you have a corporation behind you that's willing to pony up the dollars," Hanna said. "Ans I think the rural or non-urban population needs to get the same level of care as the urban population. Just because we're not in downtown Cleveland or Columbus does not mean we should not award our residents the same level of care."
He's chosen to be a primary care physician in small towns, despite the disadvantages.
At times, he's worked for larger entities in those small places. Most recently, Hanna was employed by the Ohio Health Physician's Group at 45 Amberwood Drive in Ashland.
But still, he felt a desire to help in a different way.
In mid-2019, Hanna opened his own independent primary care practice at 1590 Crestview Drive in Ashland, specifically in Suite B beside Encompass Christian Counseling. Ashland Primary Care celebrates the its grand opening next week with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
At his practice, Hanna intends to put his 30 plus years of experience to use. His office is currently affiliated with OhioHealth, but the doctor has connected with UH Samaritan for potential collaboration, too.
As an independent provider, he explained, he has no incentive to limit care to one hospital or another.
"Not to say another would, but an independent provider has no reason, no incentive to to limit their selection," Hanna said.
Hanna earned his B.A. in Biology at the University of Toledo in 1982 and his medical degree from Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine in 1986.
Hours at Ashland Primary Care are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.