Lawrence Memorial Hospital is looking north to grow its business.
The hospital's board of trustees on Wednesday unanimously agreed to purchase the McLouth Medical Clinic, marking LMH's first expansion into Jefferson County.
"This gets our foot in the door and meets our strategic plan to be a more regional provider," said board member Allen Belot.
The hospital agreed to purchase the clinic from owner/operator L. Renie Stephan, a full-time advanced registered nurse practitioner who has been practicing in McLouth since 2001.
"This is exciting news for the clinic and for the McLouth community," Stephan said. "We'll have access to strong, state-of-the-art health care."
Stephan said more of her patients were expressing interest in using LMH as their hospital, but sometimes that was difficult because Stephan's sponsoring physician was based out of Atchison. Under the new deal, Lawrence-based Dr. Charles Yockey will be the sponsoring physician, which means he will review all the medical records prepared by Stephan. Hospital leaders also did not rule out Yockey or another LMH-employed doctor eventually holding office hours in McLouth, which is about 20 miles north of Lawrence.
Hospital leaders agreed to pay $7,500 for the medical equipment of the clinic, which is in downtown McLouth. The hospital also agreed to employ Stephan and the clinic's three other employees. The hospital expects to spend about $195,000 annually to operate the clinic.
Board members were told that the clinic may not turn a profit for several years, but the board was urged to approve the deal anyway because it is expected to help the overall revenues of LMH. Sheryle D'Amico, vice president of regional services for LMH, said having the clinic in McLouth should increase the chances that McLouth residents will use LMH for larger and more expensive medical procedures that must be done at a hospital.
D'Amico said that currently the hospital provides about $5 million in services to Jefferson County residents.
The change in ownership of the clinic is expected to be finalized by Oct. 1.
In other news:
l Hospital leaders said that road construction on Maine Street and Fourth Street near the hospital is expected to last another three weeks. Currently, Maine Street is closed to northbound traffic at Fifth Street. Visitors to the hospital are being asked to take Arkansas Street.
l Board members heard a report that planning is progressing on a new medical office building in Eudora. A hospital planning committee is recommending a 10,500-square-foot building that would have 5,000 square feet for the Eudora Family Care practice. Discussions for the remaining 5,000 square feet have centered on finding other complementary health care tenants. Still undecided is exactly where to put the building on the site, which is at the southeast intersection of Church Street and Kansas Highway 10. One option would put the building on the southwestern corner of the site near Church Street. Another option would place it on the northeastern corner of the site to give it better visibility from Kansas Highway 10.