|Paris Orthopedic Clinic closing its local offices|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
July 12, 2005 -- Sulphur Springs will soon be without the services of Paris Orthopedic Clinic.
The group gave Hopkins County Memorial Hospital official notice this week that it will be closing the local clinic at the end of August.
Calls Tuesday morning to Dave Eisele, administrator for Paris Orthopedic Clinic, were not returned.
In the letter to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Michael McAndrew, the clinic administrator said the opportunity to serve Sulphur Springs with quality orthopedic care had been beneficial to the group.
"After many weeks of deliberation and reflection on numerous issues concerning Paris Orthopedic Clinic's presence in Sulphur Springs, the group as a whole has determined that in the best interest of our practice we will cease operations in Sulphur Springs as of Aug. 31, 2005," Eisele wrote. "We regret the fact that we will no longer be able to serve the orthopedic needs to your community with a local Sulphur Springs clinic."
Eisele said the group of orthopedic surgeons understood that having an orthopedic program available all the time would be extremely beneficial to the community and to the hospital.
"Unfortunately, with our business model and our logistics to Sulphur Springs, we have not been able to provide that level of service to you," Eisele wrote.
The departure of the Paris group may leave Sulphur Springs without an orthopedic surgeon for a brief period of time, but McAndrew said the hospital has been negotiating with a new surgeon.
"We are actively working on that and have, at least, reached an agreement in principal, but not a signed contract yet, for an orthopedic surgeon to come here," McAndrew said Tuesday.
McAndrew said the hospital's efforts to recruit an orthopedic surgeon did not focus any pressure on Paris Orthopedic Clinic to increase physician coverage in Sulphur Springs.
"In fact, both the hospital and the physician we have been recruiting have gone to great lengths to encourage Paris Orthopedics to stay because we believe there is plenty of business in this community for at least two full time orthopedists," the hospital administrator said.
Dr. Don O'Neal said Tuesday the Sulphur Springs medical community was somewhat caught off guard by the announcement.
"That will leave the community without the coverage we have had for so many years," Dr. O'Neal said. "We are looking at our options of other specialities, too, and orthopedics is one the hospital and the [medical] community both have been looking for."
North Campus Development recently began construction of a new renal care facility adjacent to the hospital, and have indicated plans to build a second building and to seek an orthopedic surgeon to become part of their service.
McAndrew said any additional physicians would be a valuable part of the local medical community.
"This community deserves to have full-time orthopedic coverage," McAndrew said. "As long as any doctor comes to town and lives here and provides good service, we are going to welcome that physician."
Paris Orthopedic Clinic's letter to the hospital made no reference to current patients and their care plans or to procedures patients might need to make to secure their medical records.
Along with notifying the hospital district of plans to close its Sulphur Springs clinic, Paris Orthopedic said a lease agreement with the hospital district for office space at 113 Medical Circle would be terminated on Oct. 1.