Patients begin search for new doctors after local clinic closes

Marshall County’s Family Medical Clinic is closing. Patients have only 30 days to figure out what to do next.

Benton, Kentucky, Mayor Rita Dotson posted about the clinic’s closure on her Facebook page on Wednesday. After speaking to  Murray-Calloway County Hospital CEO Jerry Pennery, she says, "Much of a hospital’s profit depends upon lab testing, CT scans, MRI, etc. Many of the patients that were going to MC Family Medical were not using the Murray hospital to have their testing done, so it wasn’t financially feasible to keep the facility open."

Thousands of patients in the Marshall County area use this clinic every year, and the closure could affect how you get your medications.

It was more than 30 years ago when Sheila Dunn signed on as a patient at Marshall County Family Medical Center in Benton, Kentucky. She was devastated when she found out on Tuesday that the clinic was closing .

"Who made the decision without talking to employees, the staff, the patients?" says Dunn.

Her physician, Dr. John Tveite, is the only person on staff who gets to keep his job, but he’s moving to a new office in Murray. That means an extra 30 minute drive for Dunn. Her only other option is to find a new doctor in town.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, you can stop by your current clinic and pick up a medical records release form. That will allow your previous doctor to release all your medical information to your new doctor. That is, if you can find one.

"A lot of them are not wanting to take new patients," says Dunn. "A lot of them won’t take you if you’re on a pain medicine."

An employee at the clinic, who wants to remain anonymous, says there’s a huge concern for their current patients who are on medication. If that’s the case for you, the employee says you need to start calling around now to see who can prescribe your medicine. If you are on a controlled substance and cannot get a refill, they say you should start tapering yourself off. If not, you could go into withdrawal.

"All the patients, I’m sure, would like to stay in the local area," says Dunn. "We’re a small town. That’s what we’re use to, and that’s what we want."

Dunn is staying positive, hoping another hospital will step up and buy the clinic.

The clinic employs 11 people, but only Tveite will get to keep his job. The other 10 were given a notice on Monday telling them their positions are being eliminated.

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