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Avera Group anticipates new facility

WORTHINGTON -- Area residents will have something to look forward to, hopefully, by spring of 2013 -- a brand new clinic for Avera Medical Group Worthington.

Representatives from the Avera Group were on hand Wednesday for a special meeting with city council members to talk about the recently purchased land and plans accompanying it.

The L-shaped plot is located next to Holiday Inn Express on Ryan's Road and is about 4.5 acres.

"We're committed to Worthington, and our expectation is to be a major part of this community for a long time," said Avera Regional President Dave Kapaska.

As it enters the design phase, Avera Group hopes to provide a full-service clinic with major services including seven-day-a-week urgent care, same-day surgery and dialysis.

"I'll be very disappointed if we don't have a spade in the ground before the end of the year," Kapaska said.

Alderman Lyle Ten Haken expressed the city's hope for a "working" relationship between the clinic and Sanford Worthington Medical Center.

Kapaska said that there has been conversation with the hospital administration, but nothing solid has been determined yet.

"We've reached out before we build because we don't want to duplicate services," said Avera Medical Group Chief Administrative Officer David Flicek.

"Selfishly, from where I sit, I applaud you for what you're doing," Mayor Alan Oberloh said. "If you're saying more things can be done on a one-day basis, those are the things we want to see happen in Worthington."

A cutting-edge technology service that will be included in the new facility is telemedicine. Telemedicine eliminates the distance obstacle for both doctors and patients. Local doctors will be equipped with video monitors to connect with various specialists.

This technology will directly benefit local patients, who do not have to make an additional trip, possibly to another city, for a specialist visit.

"It seems to me if someone walks into your clinic and needs hospitalization or surgery, that person will be transported to Sioux Falls as opposed to having the procedure done here in the hospital," said Ten Haken. "Tell me how that relationship goes."

Theoretically, Kapaska said, the economic model is feasible if everything is done "under the tent."

"A physician's duty is that you first take care of the person," Kapaska said. "Even though the economic model enters your thought process, the reality is what is best for the patient."