Staff transition prompts closure of Hillsboro clinic


BattertonMethvin The availability of medical providers in Marion County continues to evolve with the announcement that Melissa Batterton, nurse practitioner at the Via Christi Family Practice Clinic in Hills?boro for the past eight years, will be moving to St. Luke Physician Clinic in Marion.

That transition prompted Via Christi Medical Associates to announce in a letter to patients late last week that the corporation will be closing the Hillsboro clinic when Batterton concludes her service there Oct. 13.

Judy Jantz, clinic office manager, will be working with Via Christi through Oct. 21 to enable patients to forward their medical records to a new physician, according to the letter. Via Christi is asking patients to state their preference by Oct. 25.

Staying in the county

According to St. Luke Hospi?tal, when Batter?ton found out the Via Christi clinic would be closing, her main goal was to keep her family?which includes husband Shawn and sons, Car?son, 6, and Reed, 3?in Marion County.

The position at St. Luke has enabled her to do that while remaining in the career she loves.

?It has worked out well,? Batterton said.

Batterton, who grew up in Tulsa, Okla., before moving to Kansas for college, will practice at St. Luke four days a week; Monday through Wednesday and Friday.

Batterton started working at the Hillsboro clinic after graduating from Wichita State University in 2003 as a family nurse practitioner.

Physician?s assistant Nita Bittle will be leaving St. Luke Physician Clinic prior to Batter?ton?s arrival. Her final day is Sept. 30.


Nurse practitioner coming

Meanwhile, the clinic in the process of opening through Hillsboro Community Hospital announced Monday that Laurie Methvin, a nurse practitioner, will be the first health-care provider to join the operation.

Michael Ryan, HCH chief executive officer, said he expects to have an agreement in place with a supervising physician by the end of the week, enabling Methvin to begin seeing patients in early October.

Ryan said HCH continues to look for resident physicians to service the clinic as well.

Methvin, born and raised in northern Marion County, attended Centre High School and Tabor College.

In 1985, she graduated from St. Mary of the Plains College with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. While attending WSU, she worked as a registered nurse, primarily in the operating rooms at St. Joseph Medical Center and the Kansas Surgery and Recovery Center.

In 1999, Methvin received her master of science nursing degree from WSU in the family nurse practitioner program. Most recently she has been employed at the Health Ministries Clinic in Newton.

Methvin and husband Jeff have two children who graduated from Peabody-Burns High School. The Methvins live on a farm north of Peabody, where they raise alpacas.

Turn of events

The wheels of change began turning when physician Randal Claassen resigned this summer as the only physician at the Via Christi clinic, effective at the end of August.

In July, Rebecca Lynch, a physician assistant, moved to Okla?homa to be closer to family, leaving Batterton as the only medical provider.

Via Christi Medical Associ?ates then announced in early August that it would be ending its ownership and management relationship with the clinic Dec. 1, leaving time for local personnel to arrange alternative ownership of the clinic.

Those arrangements did not develop, Jantz said Monday.

Currently, the clinic has one provider (Batterton) and four staff. As late as July, the clinic employed three providers and nine staff.

In late August, HCH announced it will be opening a family clinic in the building located immediately north of the present hospital.

Physician Michael Reeh continues to operate his private practice on Washington Street in Hillsboro.

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