BRANSON, Mo. – Mercy broke ground on a new $19-million health clinic in Branson Monday.

The 32,000 square foot facility will sit at the corner of Highways 65 and 248, eventually replacing the Oak Ridge Boys Theatre.

President of Mercy Springfield Communities, Dr. Alan Scarrow, was among those who put a ceremonial shovel in the ground at the future home of the clinic.

“We’ve had the sign up on Highway 65 for about 2 1/2 years,” Scarrow says. “We’ve communicated with the community, tried to get feedback on what the community needs and what will really add value to [the area].”

He says the multi-specialty clinic will help meet needs, reaching down into Arkansas, 15 to 20 years into the future. Among the new services offered will be virtual care – allowing patients to communicate and manage chronic illnesses via tablet.

“They can get readings that are all Bluetooth enabled to communicate with the tablet,” he says, “which communicates directly to our virtual care facility and our providers.”

While virtual care will save patients a trip to their provider, those who do make the trip will be offered a variety of services that go beyond primary care such as autism therapy and cardiac rehabilitation.

It is a unique combination Silver Dollar City owner, Pete Herschend, says will meet the diverse needs of Branson.

“[In the] Spring and Fall we have a retired population that comes here,” Herschend says,”[in the] summertime we have a huge family population.”

“It wasn’t that we were lacking,” he says, “it’s the expanded capabilities that we will enjoy.”

Branson Mayor, Karen Best, says the combination of the new clinic with nearby Cox Medical Center Branson will help solidify the quality of care visitors have become accustomed to.

“Since we’re upping the game in the quality of health care,” she says. “that just helps to bolster the strength of us as a sustainable community.”

“That’s really an important part of this,” says Scarrow, “making sure we have a presence in this community that’s going to last well into the future.”

Construction on the new facility is expected to begin in the Fall of 2016.