Doctors take on patients with hospital closure

Parkway Hospital in Fulton has about a month left before it has to close its in-patient and emergency services and some of its smaller clinics are also closed.

Clinton Family Clinic closed about 2 months ago, ahead of the March 31st deadline. I spoke with some former employees who say Community Health Systems, the company over Parkway and the clinics, just let them go early. CHS has yet to reply to our questions.

But another doctor in the area is taking on the former patients.

Clinton, Kentucky is a town that has a population of 1,300. So when the Clinton Family Clinic closed, it abruptly changed former patients’ healthcare. Ruth Ann Roberts was a former patient who dealt with transferring all her records. Roberts says, “All of a sudden it closed it within a couple weeks.”

But 5 minutes away, and around the corner, Dr. Bruce Smith continues patient care out of his private practice. Smith says the people in Clinton want a local doctor who they’ve formed relationships with. With one of the main clinics closed, Smith is seeing a significant uptick in the number of patients he sees. He says, “Before the clinic closed we were seeing around 10 to 25 patients a day; since the other clinic is closed we’re seeing probably an extra 4-5 patients a day.”

This extra workload sometimes forces long days out of him and his staff, though Smith says it doesn’t bother him. He says, “I can come down here anytime and see people and I enjoy doing that.” Even continuing his long-standing tradition of house calls, with a catch, “I say I can make a house call if I can find your house.”

Dr. Smith says he will miss the X-ray and Emergency Services the Fulton Hospital used to provide, and while he does have the capability in his practice to stabilize you in an emergency, say with a broken leg or onset of a heart attack, he says it’s best to make the trip to an emergency room.

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