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Money problems blamed for shutdown of clinic

Karen Woodmansee
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL | NEVADA APPEAL

The impending closure of the Dayton Arc Medical Center on Pine Cone Road will displace about 40 patients a day, including Norlane Giaffoglione.

The senior citizen, who uses a wheelchair and has diabetes, stopped by this week for a checkup and a consultation on her medicines. She has been going to the clinic near her home for the more than three years she has lived in Dayton, and isn’t happy about having to change.

“It’s really hard,” she said. “Older people like coming to the same place rather than changing doctors,” she said.

Her husband, Russell, said they would look to MedDirect, affiliated with Carson Tahoe Regional Health Care, to see if they can be seen there.

“It’s the only other place there is that’s close by,” he said.

On Sept. 25, Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare purchased two ARC Medcenter practices with plans to shut down both of the them. The Medcenter at 2874 North Carson St. in Carson City closed on Oct. 3. The practice at 5 Pine Cone Road in Dayton will close by Oct. 30, according to Carson Tahoe spokeswoman Cheri Glockner.

“We have committed to being a soft landing for all of those patients. With ARC closing, we have put together a transition plan where medical records are available,” she said.

She said Carson Tahoe had about 250 physicians and physicians assistants, and had a referral service for more professionals in the area.

Wes Granstrom, CEO of ARC Medcenters said the closing of the two facilities was part of a larger picture and was related to financial difficulties in the company.

“With health care where it is now, the margins are so tight, especially in family practice, and urgent care demand is down, in part due to the economy,” he said. “What happened was we lost our providers and couldn’t find new ones. We didn’t know what Carson Tahoe’s plans were to keep that office open, and the decision was made to close it.”

He said the company sought liquidity from banks and were unable to do so, resulting in the inability of the Carson City and Dayton ARCs to sustain themselves.

“I would have loved to have kept Dayton and Carson City open,” he said. “It will hurt us that we have to take these actions.”

The Dayton practice began 12 years ago with Dr. Robert Kimmel, who was recruited by Dayton residents who wanted to see a doctor in the area. Five years ago, Kimmel sold the practice to ARC Medcenters, but stayed on as a physician along with Dr. Bryan Ricks, who provided service at the Carson ARC Medcenter.

Dr. Anthony Zimmerman on Wednesday said he had no immediate plans.

“They took my practice and gave it to someone else,” he said.

Zimmerman described the Dayton practice as profitable, with about 40 patients seen on an average day. ARC in Carson City averaged 30 to 35 a day at its peak, according to Glockner.

“Now it’s less because they are scrambling,” he said. “Carson Tahoe promised to find homes for all of them, but many are scared. I don’t know what their reason is for closing down a very profitable practice.”

Zimmerman said another group of patients who will be impacted by the closings are retired military, who will now have to go to either Minden or Fallon to find another doctor who accepts Tri-Care contracts, or the military health insurance.

Granstrom said the move would impact businesses that took referrals from ARC.

“Certainly it’s going to hurt Great Basin Imaging, and High Desert Therapy, which is unfortunate,” he said.

Dr. William O’Shaunessey, medical director of MedDirect, said he heard a rumor for a couple of months that the two practices would close and had geared up for it.

He said there were two physicians and two physician’s assistants at the Dayton MedDirect, on the other side of Smith’s from ARC, and all are taking new patients.

He estimated that the MedDirect clinic saw about 40 patients a day, but that didn’t mean his business would double.

“I doubt it because oftentimes some of the patients find a doctor in Carson City or Reno, or wherever it may be,” he said.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.