by George Thompson, Reporter and Farmer
Aberdeen based Avera St. Luke’s announced plans to close its east Hwy. 12 clinic on July 25.
Avera administrators said the clinic struggled to build sustainable volumes for a full clinic operation over the last four years due to a combination of factors. Continued cuts to Medicare reimbursement also made it necessary for all health care providers to look closely at operations and examine ways to reduce costs of high quality patient care.
“We regret that we can no longer continue to offer services in Webster,” commented Todd Forkel, Avera St. Luke’s president and CEO. “Our patients and the community of Webster remain very important to Avera St. Luke’s. We will continue to find different ways to meet the health care needs for our patients and the Webster community.”
Administrators are working with the two Webster employees to explore what options are available to them within the Avera healthcare system.
“We worked hard to bring both of them to Webster and we feel they have done an excellent job. We would like to retain both of them,” one of them said.
Webster patients who plan to remain with Avera don’t have to worry about their medical records which are part of the healthcare provider’s computerized network.
Patients who seek other healthcare providers can contact the Webster clinic to have their records transferred until it closes and through Aberdeen after that. Avera medical records remain on file in their system for 10 years.
Patients seeing specialists via telemedicine or in person can continue to do so at Avera’s Groton clinic or in Aberdeen.
Natalie Braun, a certified nurse practitioner, is the onsite primary care provider in the Groton clinic which is located on Hwy. 12. Call (605) 397-4242 for more information.
The Webster clinic opened in September of 2009 and is staffed by a primary care provider and a registered nurse. The facility also was the online platform for telemedicine with specialists. Avera initially said the purpose of opening a clinic here was to fill a void left after general practitioner Dr. Alan Bloom passed away and his clinic closed.
The clinic, located on East Hwy. 12, offered an array of services, like physicals, checkups, childhood illness care, immunizations, acute and chronic disease care, minor laceration repair and lesion and wart removal.
The clinic hours remain from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday until the closing date. The Webster phone number is 345-2222.