Livin’ the Dream: Chet Baker treats people well to make them well

Chet Baker, FNP, with Express Care of Habersham Team member Annay Martinez. (Nora Almazan/Now Habersham)

The road was not always easy for Family Nurse Practitioner Chet Baker, who owns and operates Express Care in Cornelia. Since opening its doors in 2009, it has been voted “Best Medical Provider or Clinic” every year by local newspaper readers. It is located inside Tim’s Pharmacy, 130 B Magnolia Lane Cornelia, GA, and has had over 37,000 visits. “We’ve seen patients from all 50 states and 3 different countries,” Chet said.

Mandy and Chet Baker have been married for 19 years and have two children, Amelia and Riley. (photo submitted)

Chet and his wife Mandy have been married for 19 years. Together, they share two children Amelia, 12, and Riley, 10. Both children attend Trinity Classical School. Mandy teaches at North Georgia Technical College in the Medical Assisting Program.

“My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer after I just started NP (Nurse Practitioner) school in August of that year,” Chet explained. “She pushed me to keep going and encouraged me not to quit.” His mother passed away in December of that year. Shortly after his mother’s death, he lost his grandfather and close friend at Armstrong Atlantic State University. Chet received his Master’s in Health Administration from Armstrong.

“Looking back I’m not sure how I was able to finish as well as I did other than being goal-driven and determined.”

During his sophomore year at Mercer University, a fraternity brother was working as a surgical technician. He invited Chet on weekends to watch surgeries. Chet became interested in the field and volunteered in the Emergency Rooms at Macon Northside Hospital and the Medical Center of Central Georgia.

“I spent several hours a couple of days a week observing and learning. I felt I needed to be immersed in it to ensure it was for me.”

Dr. Patrice Sapp at Mercer University with Chet Baker. (photo submitted)

For three years, he worked with a science professor specializing in neuroscience to gain experience in laboratory work and research. During this time he co-authored abstracts for the Society of Neuroscience and even went to Washington, DC, to present a poster his Junior year.

“A lot of people say that they want to go into some field of medicine but when they get into it, they decide it’s not for them,” Chet added. “I wanted to know going in what it was like.”

Growing up in Conyers, Georgia, Chet graduated from Heritage High School. His dad was an engineer for Delta Airlines and his mother worked as a visual merchandiser for JC Penny’s Department Store. Chet did not always want to be in medicine. When Chet was in high school, he wanted to become an airline pilot and work for Delta. His plans changed while attending Mercer University.

His sister, Brandy Aycock, lives in Clarkesville and his dad recently moved here to be close to him and Brandy.

“My parents and grandparents impressed upon me to treat people well and good things will follow, to work hard at everything I did, and to always be honest,” Chet remembered. He uses these principles today in his everyday life and business.

The business part of the clinic is probably the most frustrating for Chet, dealing with records, payment systems, computers, etc. “I look at the clinic as an option for people for a reasonable fee just as most any other service provider.”

He attributes much of his success to the late Dr. Terry Greene and Dr. John Cope of Habersham Primary Care. They were his first employers and encouraged him when he told them his plans. Dr. Josh Garrett of Garrett Family Medicine in Demorest, GA, has always been a tremendous help to him as well. “With 25 years of experience, I feel like I am on cruise control now. The ironic thing is I did not want to be a doctor because I did not want to have to deal with the business aspect of medicine – and here I am doing just that!”

Chet Baker, FNP, at Express Care of Habersham. (Nora Almazan/Now Habersham)

For Chet, his dream is to help people and not just give a medical answer but treat the whole person. The team at Express Care knows their patients and if the patient is new, they work to have a lasting relationship with them. They know when weddings are coming up and grandchildren are being born. Every aspect of a person’s life is a part of their medical history and needs to be a part of their care is the belief.

“So much of getting health care means dealing with a conglomerate particularly a hospital or large group. Basically, no personal touch to the service with people herded in and out like cattle. That is not what I want!”

There is a devotion to his team and his patients that is more than evident. It is all about the experience and how a person feels from start to finish. For those patients who are unable to make a trip to Express Care, Chet offers telemedicine visits for established patients.

Chet Baker always goes back to what his parents and grandparents taught him growing up, to treat people well. For him, that is an important part of his dream, to deliver care that covers the whole person and to gain the confidence of his patients. Each day Chet looks forward to being a part of his patients’ lives and making them better all around. Chet emphasized, “The result is quality health care that is affordable to all.”

For more information, you can visit online to make an appointment or call 706-776-3070.


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