OTTUMWA — Though their future was uncertain, two local health care practices will continue without any interruption in services to patients and will remain at their current locations in Ottumwa.
Ottumwa Internal Medicine North and Ottumwa Family Practice and Specialties clinics are currently owned and operated by UnityPoint Health, formerly Iowa Health Systems. Back in February, they told their Ottumwa doctors and staff the health company was ceasing operations in Ottumwa on June 30. That gave the medical director, Dr. Peter Reiter, as well as his partners, an incentive to start searching for alternatives. Reiter said when they did connect with a system, it was going to have to be a high-quality partner.
He announced Thursday they have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to join Mercy Clinics, Inc., owned by Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines and a member of Mercy Health Network.
“Mercy Clinics, Inc. is an organization nationally known for its outstanding quality and for innovations in delivering primary care to patients,” Reiter said. “I and my partners are looking forward to the opportunity to grow and improve health care in Ottumwa with the support of such outstanding clinical and operational experts.”
Reiter told the Courier local clinic management had serious discussions with five potential partners. Mercy, he said, was the one with a strong organization that could also meet the necessary timeline.
The announcement Thursday morning said that when the actual relationship starts, six Ottumwa physicians and six mid-level practitioners will continue practicing in the two clinics, along with the necessary staff. That’s a bit fewer than before because, Reiter said, there were some retirements as well as the fact the clinics will now focus on primary care. In the past, in addition to that general practice family medicine, they’d had a few “specialists” on staff.