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Sibley's Family Medicine Clinic joins Avera network

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SIBLEY, Iowa -- For years, the Family Medicine Clinic in Sibley has remained a private clinic owned in partnership by the physicians who worked there.

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With three physicians leaving within the last couple of years -- one due to retirement and two to relocation -- the partnership had dwindled to two: Dr. Doug Miedema and Dr. Greg Kosters. On Tuesday, the clinic announced it will join the Avera Medical Group network and be owned by Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center. Beginning Saturday, the clinic will officially become Avera Medical Group Sibley.

Jon Kinsley, Iowa Regional Clinic Administrator, said the clinic in Sibley will become part of a network that includes 13,200 employees, including more than 400 physicians, in 115 locations across four states. Kinsley serves as administrator for Avera-owned clinics in Spencer, Spirit Lake, Estherville and now Sibley.

"As far as the clinic, there will be no changes to the staff or the providers," Kinsley said. "We do have a process of on-boarding them with electronic medical records over the next few years. I think you will see the support and service (improve)."

Through a management agreement, Avera has worked with Osceola Community Hospital for the past 15 years, and it was about five months ago that talks began in earnest about a merger between Avera and the Family Medicine Clinic.

Miedema, who was not available for comment on Wednesday but provided information in an Avera-issued press release, said merging with Avera Medical Group will help the clinic recruit and retain physicians "in the midst of a national and regional shortage of family physicians."

"The management relationship that Avera has with Osceola Community Hospital has been very positive and beneficial to our hospital and community over the past 15 years, so it was natural that we would have discussions with Avera," stated Miedema. "Avera shares a similar philosophy regarding health care and mission."

The clinic and hospital have long worked together for support services including laboratory and diagnostic imaging, and will continue to do so, according to the press release.

Miedema said the ownership change will allow the clinic to have additional professional and administrative support, which will enhance the quality of care already being provided. Joining him on the clinic's staff are Kosters, Dr. Mark Taylor, physician's assistant Lori Letner and 14 staff members.

"We will throw all the resources we have at making sure there is adequate staff for the people of Sibley," Kinsley said.

Janet Dykstra, Osceola Community Hospital administrator, said Wednesday that the hospital has had a good working relationship with Avera for many years, and with its new ownership of the clinic, patients should see a seamless transition.

"We think it will help (the clinic) with recruitment," Dykstra said. "For the patients, I think it will ensure medical stability in the community."

Dykstra said the hospital is pleased with its management agreement with Avera, and that there are no discussions about Avera purchasing the hospital.

"We are in a position where we are very strong and we're going to stay that way," she added.

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Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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