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Dr. Claassen to leave Hillsboro Clinic

Staff writer

Dr. Randall Claassen is ending his practice in Hillsboro at the end of September, and Via Christi Medical Associates is ending its relationship with the practice at the end of November, but patients will see minimal difference in the short-term, advanced registered nurse practitioner Melissa Batterton said Tuesday

“I can work independently with a supervising physician,” she said.

A supervising physician doesn’t need to be local, and she has one lined up until the beginning of December.

The biggest difference in the short-term will be that it may take longer to get a routine appointment for a checkup on a chronic condition, because Batterton will be the only provider at the clinic. Clinic staff are trying to keep time open for more urgent care and sick calls, she said.

Batterton said she has every intention of remaining at the clinic.

“People keep asking me, ‘Are you staying?’” she said.

Batterton said she has no reason to leave. She and her family like Hillsboro, and she likes both her work and patients.

The long-term status of the clinic depends on the results of an ongoing search for a new physician to join the clinic, said Doug Hanson, chief operating officer of Via Christi Medical Associates.

The departure of Claassen will have a much greater affect than the departure of Via Christi, he said.

“Their (patients’) connection really is to the provider,” Hanson said.

Nationally, there is a trend to mid-level providers like nurse practitioners doing more of the day-to-day health care duties, as the ratio of patients to primary care physicians increases, Hanson said. In the past, 2,500 patients per doctor was a reasonable ratio. Now the ratio can be as high as 7,000 or more patients per doctor.

It remains important for mid-level providers to know when to get a physician involved, he said. Batterton is very good and knows when a physician is needed, Hanson said.

Claassen’s departure combined with a shift in business philosophy away from single-physician clinics led to Via Christi Medical Associates’ decision to end its relationship with the clinic in Hillsboro, he said.

Last modified Aug. 10, 2011

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