By Sue Moore
The announcement that Bronson Health Care unit would be taking over the Family Doctors of Vicksburg medical practice has come as a surprise to the many patients they serve and perhaps the staff of the 106 year-old family practice.
It probably shouldn’t have been since so many small-town doctors are retiring and even closing the doors of their stand-alone practices. However, the search for young doctors to buy in to such a practice can be intimidating to them, said Laurel Barber, vice president of operations for Bronson Health Care. “Newly minted primary care physicians are looking for some sense of security when they graduate from medical school and often prefer a larger health system with greater resources – which potentially can pay better salaries than a private practice.”
Doctors David Schriemer and Karl Kerchief have been in the recruitment mode for some time now with Dr. Katie Grossman leaving for a Humanist position at Borgess and Dr. Ken Franklin retiring. Bronson offers a greater reach overall for recruitment and that was one of the needs they were looking to fulfill. Barber said that the primary care physician is in even greater demand these days with visits going up nationally. People are finding a medical home instead of going to the emergency room for instant care, Barber said.
“We know the Family Doctors practice well. It is very high-quality practice. We believe in it and want to help it grow over time,” Barber said. “We are leasing the space with a fairly long-term commitment to the community. We can’t change the trust issue generated by the closing of the hospital out-patient clinic, but we believe the trust can be built through a transparent relationship in the future and the doctors also feel that way.”
June 1 is the effective date for the transfer of operations to Bronson. There will be employee orientation, an electronic patient records change to the Bronson system, and some insurance provider changes that the staff and patients will recognize, Barber said.