Crown Club presents 850 signatures for new clinic
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Crown Club presents 850 signatures for new clinic
After collecting signatures from Ossian and the surrounding area, members of the Ossian Crown Club presented the Winneshiek Medical Center Board of Trustees a petition with 850 signatures, approximately the population of the city that is no longer serviced by a medical clinic in its town.
Ben Wyatt, secretary/treasurer of the board of trustees, had seen an article in the newspaper about the Ossian people gathering signatures for WMC’s services in their community and approached WMC’s Chief Administrative Officer Gretchen Dahley.
“We are owned by all the people in the county, and it is the right thing to do. I asked Gretchen to invite the people to a board meeting and have them tell us what their expectations may be. If there is any feasibility to providing this service, we would love to do that,” said Wyatt.
The two organizations met Wednesday at Winneshiek Medical Center to open the discussion about an outreach clinic opening in the town of Ossian.
Gundersen Lutheran Clinic, which was located on Main Street in Ossian, recently closed following the retirement of longtime physician Dr. Ignatius Greene.
“We are very sad to have lost our clinic, but we feel that those living in the southern half of Winneshiek County need to be cared for,” opened Karl Schroeder, a former WMC board member, speaking on behalf of the Crown Club, also.
He pointed out that Ossian has many industries operating in the town, as well as two schools, a daycare center, and a nursing home.
Schroeder went on to express his concern about the town losing its clinic.
“We were told it was a financial decision, but I don’t know that I agree with that,” said Schroeder. “That clinic was formed in the 1960s, and Dr. Greene developed a great practice that serviced approximately 5,000 patients annually.”
Schroeder continued to make his case, stating that Dr. Greene saw patients not only from Winneshiek County, but Fayette, Clayton, and Allamakee counties, as well.
He concluded, “We would like you to give this some serious thought and perhaps sit down at a management committee meeting or a meeting of your choice to give reasons as to why it would be advantageous to you.”
Pam Buddenberg, co-president of the Crown Club added that Ossian Senior Hospice has 46 residents and 78 full- and part-time staff that utilized the former Gundersen Lutheran clinic.
“We already have an established relationship with WMC’s Johanna Tweedy (nurse practitioner) and Dr. Paul Wenner, who see residents,” Eileen Courtney, director of Ossian Senior Hospice.
Courtney later explained that the hospice has endured inconveniences such as driving lab samples to Calmar and the lack of a doctor in the city.
The 850 signatures, along with several letters of recommendation, were presented to Dahley at the conclusion of the presentation.
“I am humbled that you even asked us to do this — that you would have enough confidence in WMC and how we do business that you would like us to come to your town,” said Dahley. “You don’t always see communities take things into their own hands and pull together with the leadership and resources you have. So I think it is impressive and a credit to you. It is for the good of the community.”
WMC Board of Trustees member and Ossian resident Clark Goltz pointed out, “When you say 850 signatures, that is literally the population of Ossian. That means other people in surrounding towns signed it, as well. But it shows you a huge commitment.”
At the conclusion of the presentation of the signatures, the WMC board and Crown Club members agreed that there is no timetable set from a budgeting standpoint.
“Hey, we would be happy to have one tomorrow,” Schroeder joked. “We know that you have things to work through, but we also hope that you will give this serious consideration. A lot of things look to be in place to make this clinic possible.”
Other questions coming from the board included Internet speed, building availability, and insurance carriers in the Ossian community.
“I think the main thing is that it is important the conversations open to see what everyone’s thoughts are. A building depends on what kind of space you would want or need to have and see if we can make it work,” said Joe Kriener, another Crown Club member.
Dahley concluded, “We look forward then and plan to connect in the coming weeks to start getting the ball rolling to see if such a clinic is feasible.”
Eight members of the Ossian Crown Club presented 850 signatures to the Winneshiek Medical Center Board of Trustees on Wednesday in support of bringing an outreach clinic back into the community. Talks between the two organizations are expected to begin in the coming weeks. (photo courtesy of decorahnews.com)