Orthopedic clinic administrator says decision
to close Sulphur Springs site was business-based

Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

July 13, 2005 -- Paris Orthopedic Clinic's announced closing of its Sulphur Springs clinic was a business decision, according to Dave Eisele, administrator of the orthopedic group.

"The main reason for pulling out was the increased difficulty of the health care industry and increasing costs of traveling to Sulphur Springs and operating a satellite clinic from such a distance," Eisele said Wednesday morning. "We feel like we would want to continue taking care of Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County patients, but at this point would just have to do it from our location in Paris."

Paris Orthopedic Clinic has provided services in Sulphur Springs for the past 15 years, staffing its clinic with a schedule that had a different doctor in the clinic each day of the week. The orthopedic surgeons would also travel to Sulphur Springs on weekends to make hospital rounds to check on patients.

Eisele said a pending agreement between Hopkins County Memorial Hospital and an orthopedic surgeon who would live and practice in Sulphur Springs did not influence his group's decision to close the local clinic.

"We feel like it would be in the best interest of Paris Orthopedic Clinic to pull out of Sulphur Springs with the local clinic and try to service Sulphur Springs orthopedic needs through our Paris clinic through referrals from local physicians and our local patient base coming to Paris to see us," he said.

The Paris surgeons have driven the 80-mile round trip between Paris and Sulphur Springs for many years. Eisele called it a "very short drive," but cited the increased costs of travel for the physicians.

A Paris hospital recently remodeled a floor to accommodate orthopedic patients. That also played a role in the decision to close the Sulphur Springs clinic.

Eisele said current patients of Paris Orthopedic Clinic in Sulphur Springs may contact the clinic here to get their medical records or have them transferred to another physician.

Michael McAndrew, Hopkins County Memorial Hospital chief executive officer, said although an agreement has been reached with an orthopedic surgeon, he did not know when the new doctor would begin his practice in Sulphur Springs.

Dr. Bob Shackelford will be coming from out of state and must get his Texas medical license before starting his practice. McAndrew said that he did not know how long that process would take.

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