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Release: May 2, 2001

UICMS to close UI Family Care clinic in Ottumwa

University of Iowa Community Medical Services Inc. (UICMS) today announced plans to close a primary care clinic in Ottumwa, effective May 25.

UI Family Care, Ottumwa, which opened in August 1999, has employed two physicians and five support staff, and has been a part of the UI Family Care network of clinics located throughout eastern and central Iowa.

"While we are pleased to have offered residents of the Ottumwa area a primary care option, unfortunately the market does not justify our continued operation of this clinic," said Terry Protextor, executive director of UICMS.

The decision to close the clinic was made by the UICMS board of directors.

Protextor said the nation’s economic slowdown, and a turbulent health care marketplace in particular, are creating problems for operators of primary care networks both in Iowa and across the United States.

"We’re certainly not alone in having to make difficult decisions about our operations," Protextor said. Most health care providers are stressed by the current general economic climate and the fact that reimbursement payments are not keeping pace with the growing cost of providing services, he said.

"For us, it’s about maintaining a careful balancing act, trying to respond to perceived community needs for primary care services versus their potential profitability," Protextor said.
"In this case, the financial projections for the Ottumwa market from a few years ago, including projected patient volumes, simply haven’t materialized. Furthermore, the managed care environment that everyone thought was imminent hasn’t developed."

Protextor said the organization is always evaluating the viability of UI Family Care clinics against the university’s mission of service to the people of Iowa.

"We don’t open a new clinic without surveying the perceived needs of the community regarding primary care services, and we don’t close one without a thorough review of operations and community

support," he said. "We consider the opportunity from both a financial standpoint and how well our patient care and educational missions will be served."

Protextor said UICMS is proud of the quality of health care services it delivers to patients through its UI Family Care clinics and will continue to manage all clinics in a responsible manner.

He said patients of the UI Family Care, Ottumwa clinic received letters informing them of the clinic’s closing, and that UICMS is committed to helping them make a smooth transition to alternative primary care services.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.