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CONTACT: TERRY PROTEXTOR
(319) 356-4777
CONTACT: MICHAEL SONDERGARD
(319) 356-7123
1309 John Colloton Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
e-mail: terry-protextor@uiowa.edu
e-mail: michael-sondergard@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

UICMS to open health care center in Belle Plaine

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A new primary care health center serving the Belle Plaine area will open next spring, according to officials at University of Iowa Community Medical Services Inc. (UICMS).

The clinic will be built on land at the southwest corner of First Street and Ninth Avenue, in the Norgaard Subdivision. Terry Protextor, executive director of UICMS, says ground will be broken in November, with the clinic opening around May 1, 1998.

The Belle Plaine clinic will employ two board-certified family practice physicians and six other staff, Protextor says. The building's design will strongly resemble a similar UICMS clinic in North Liberty, with the potential to expand should the need arise, he says.

The facility will include laboratory and radiology support services, as well as preventive medicine outreach to the community. According to Dr. John Fieselmann, medical director for UICMS, the clinic helps fulfill the UI's commitment to teach primary care in a rural setting to medical students and resident physician trainees.

"As with all physician training sites associated with the UI, patients will be able to choose whether to allow a trainee to participate in their care," he says.

Several Belle Plaine residents were active in helping the clinic locate in the community. These included Mayor Tom Hollopeter, City Clerk Kaye Buch, Assistant City Clerk Sue Bevins, Jennifer Schlarnam of the Belle Plaine Chamber of Commerce, real estate agent Kay Cook, auto dealer Dean Johnson, Marie Stratford, Dennis Schwaub and Dennis Garling of the Belle Plaine Development Corp., Colleen Gibbons of the Chamber of Commerce, Gene Severson, chairman of the Belle Plaine Medical Center Commission, and property owners Anders and Geraldine Norgaard.

"This new clinic will be a great addition to the community," Norgaard says. "We're especially excited since the physicians they employ will actually be living here to serve the people of Belle Plaine and the surrounding area."

According to Protextor, the Norgaards and Dennis Garling, president of the Belle Plaine Development Corp., are collaborating with UICMS in a recruiting campaign to attract two primary care physicians to live and work in the community.

Dean Johnson, a Belle Plaine auto dealer and president of the Belle Plaine Improvement Corp., described the clinic as a "tremendous addition" that fits "hand in glove" with ongoing community development efforts. "It's going to be a first-class facility with first-class traffic access in an area on the south side of town that's just beginning to be developed," he says.

Johnson says the Belle Plaine Improvement Corp., a locally-owned community business improvement organization, and Liberty Growth III, an Iowa City development company, will partner with UICMS in constructing the building.

Hollopeter welcomed the new clinic to the community. "We're very excited to have a new health care resource in our midst," he says. "We have every reason to believe it will help this fine community continue to grow and prosper in the years to come."

UICMS, which manages the center, is a subsidiary of the UI Health System, formed by the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the UI College of Medicine. The Belle Plaine clinic joins a UICMS network that includes the clinic in North Liberty, a medical oncology and hematology clinic in Ottumwa, and a family practice clinic in Perry.

Protextor says UICMS continues to evaluate other affiliations and clinic sites throughout Iowa.

10/16/97