Clinic deal signed
Practice expected to reopen next week
Medical services will return to De Soto with a Wednesday morning signing of an agreement between Mid America Physicians Group of Shawnee and Hospital Corporation of America Inc.
"As of right now, De Soto Family Practice belongs to the Mid America Physician Group and the people of De Soto," Kathleen McInnis, practice administrator with Mid America, said Wednesday.
HCA and Mid America reached an agreement that had Mid America purchase the practice and lease the building on Lexington Avenue. The agreement should allow the clinic to open next week.
"We're shooting for Wednesday, at the latest," she said. "I have to arrange with our vendors to set up for computers and cables and all the things you need to run a practice."
HCA informed the staff in late November that it intended to close the practice at the start of the year. The clinic will reopen with the same staff, McInnis said, including physician's assistant Jim Boyes, who has been working at the Mid America clinic in west Shawnee.
Mid America's CEO, Dr. Steven Rettinger, M.D., would make daily visits to De Soto to supervise Boyes, McInnis said. But she promised that arrangement is just temporary.
"We're actively recruiting a physician for De Soto," McInnis said. "We're interviewing as we speak. We're recruiting a board-certified family practitioner and M.D.
"We'll find the best physician with the best experience we can get."
The goal was to have the new doctor in the De Soto practice by the summer, McInnis said, explaining it took time for physicians to relocate.
At the instigation of Darrel Zimmerman, a member community task force was formed to respond to HCA's announcement. Members of the task force reached Wednesday
"I just think it's great that everything got done as quickly as it did," De Soto Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sara Ritter said. "For the amount of paperwork and negotiations they had to go through, I'm very pleased."
"We really value health care in this community. I'm really happy the group had the participation we did, and we had the participation to get in here."
De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson also said he was pleased with the speed with which the clinic was reopened.
"I think that's great news," he said. "We shot for the first of the year and made it near the first of February. I'm proud of the work of the citizen's group -- Darrel and Sara and the rest of them. I think they did most of the work, actually."
Lori Murdock, owner of Cedar Creek Pharmacy, which shares the building with the clinic, said the reopening was good for her business, which saw a slight dip in business in January, but of bigger importance to De Soto. It appeared very few patients sought their medical records to switch to other providers during the last two months, she said. Far more followed Boyes to the Mid America's Shawnee clinic for care.
The loyalty also inspired the drive to save the clinic, which McInnis said was a big factor in Mid America's decision.
"De Soto should get a pat on the back for taking this on and approaching us," she said. "That's one of the things that impressed us. They weren't just back seat drivers. There was loyalty there."
The De Soto clinic also offered Mid America the opportunity for referrals for more advanced tests and procedures, such as MRIs, CAT scans, and full radiology, McInnis said. The ability of the relatively nearby Shawnee Mid America to offer those referral services should be of benefit to De Soto patients as well, she said.