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Aurora to enhance clinic services in Plymouth

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Changes in services at Aurora Valley View Medical Center also are announced

PLYMOUTH, Wis., Aurora Health Care today announced plans to significantly expand primary and specialty care services in Plymouth by building a new and larger clinic to replace the existing clinic at 2636 Eastern Ave.

The new Aurora Sheboygan Clinic will accommodate more primary care physicians and specialists, as well as new diagnostic equipment and other services. Among the services to be added will be bone densitometry, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, CT scans, laboratory services, mammography, nuclear medicine, behavioral health care, occupational health services, pain management, rehabilitation services, stress testing and ultrasound. The clinic also will house a full-service retail pharmacy.

Aurora also announced today that it would discontinue inpatient services at Aurora Valley View Medical Center, transferring those services to Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center. ``Our community simply is not using the inpatient services at a level that allows us to sustain this type of care here,`` said David Smith, M.D., a family practice physician at Aurora Sheboygan Clinic in Plymouth. ``On most days, Valley View has only a handful of inpatients.``

Plymouth physicians will provide care for their Plymouth area patients at Aurora Sheboygan Memorial.

The Valley View emergency department will be replaced with a 24-hour urgent care center at the same location and staffed by the same physicians who now provide emergency care.

``We expect the new urgent care center to handle 80% of the visits currently being handled in the emergency department at Aurora Valley View,`` Dr. Smith said.

A wide array of services will continue to be offered at Valley View, including outpatient surgery, CT scans, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, rehabilitation and laboratory services.

The changes at Valley View are expected to be made by the end of September.

Aurora also announced plans to sell Valley Manor Nursing Home and South Horizon Apartment Complex for seniors to Rice Partnership of Appleton.

``The nursing home and senior apartments are important to the Plymouth community,`` said Dan Bonk, executive vice president of Aurora’s Central Region. ``Rice Partnership specializes in operating these kinds of facilities and will continue to provide the outstanding level of service residents have come to expect.``

Rice owns and operates skilled nursing facilities throughout the state of Wisconsin.

``Rice specializes in geriatrics and rehabilitation services,`` said Ron VanDyck, controller at Rice Partnership. ``We look forward to working with the Plymouth community.``

Rice Partnership is to take ownership of Valley Manor and South Horizon on Sept. 30.

``The changes we are announcing today will help us provide better and more cost-effective health care to residents in the Plymouth area,`` Bonk said. ``The new clinic and the transfer of inpatient care to Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center will help control health care costs and enhance quality.``

The inpatient services at Valley View have been underused for several years, Bonk said. Inpatient admissions, inpatient surgery and emergency department visits all have declined sharply. In one eight-day period this year, there were no patients in Valley View's Critical Care Unit. A recent analysis of emergency department visits at Valley View showed that 80% of these cases could have been handled instead by an urgent care center, and at a significantly lower cost.

``With so few patients using the inpatient and emergency services, we had to look for better ways to provide care to area residents,`` Dr. Smith said. ``Our physicians and employees have been part of the Plymouth community for generations, and our commitment to serve our community is unchanged.``

Construction of the new Aurora Sheboygan Clinic will allow the clinic to bring in new physicians, including specialists, Dr. Smith said. ``There will no longer be a long wait to see specialists in Plymouth,`` he said. The specialty care available at the new clinic will include audiology, cardiology, mental health, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, optometry, oral surgery, orthopedics and ear, nose and throat. Acupuncture services also are planned.

``This project represents a major investment in the future of health care here,`` Dr. Smith said. ``We'll have the space we need to expand our services, and we'll have state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment right on site. My colleagues and I are excited about it.``

Until the new clinic opens, services will continue to be offered at the current Aurora Sheboygan Clinic in Plymouth.

Aurora Health Care is a community-owned Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers care at sites in more than 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Mark Kantola (920-451-5351)

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