Westlake Medical Center in Laurie has hired a doctor to replace the clinic’s outgoing physician. That maintain the number of providers at the non-profit primary care clinic at two. Clinic officials announced the new recruit at its town hall meeting Feb. 20. Dr. Michael Henry will begin practicing in Laurie in March. He joins Dr. Kenneth Derrington.
Dr. Henry has been in health care for 40 years - 35 in Missouri. He has been a Doctor of Osteopathy for 18 years after doing his pre-medical and medical school at University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has been board certerfied in family practice since 2001 and has done emergency room as well as family practice throughout his career.
Dr. Henry will move here from Republic, Mo. near Springfield. He says he enjoys small town practice and lifestyle, lake activities and hunting. He has been married 35 years, and has three grown sons and three grandchildren.
It had been feared that the medical center might have to lay off workers, or ultimately close the facility, if a replacement couldn’t be found. With 80-90 percent of its patients on Medicare, low reimbursement rates from the government have caused financial hardship for the facility. It has also struggled to maintain enough providers at the clinic to spread out expenses and boost revenues. The facility is designed to have four practictioners, but has not had that number for several years.
After the recent concerns over Medicare cuts and the notification of its second physician leaving, the clinic’s board of directors hired a recruiter to find a new practitioner instead of trying to find someone themselves.
The center is still seeking donations from the community to help pay the recruiter fee of $15,000 and guarantee a base salary for Dr. Henry for the first year. And the hunt for providers is not over. The board’s goal is to get the clinic back up to four practitioners. The board is exploring different options to bring in more providers.
Contributions can be sent to Community Foundation of the Ozarks, P.O. Box 8960, Springfield, MO 65801. Make checks payable to Westlake Medical Center. Donate online at www.cfozarks.org and under Fund put Westlake Medical Center. Or visit Westlake Medical Center in the Laurie Terrace Mall to donate.