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Downs, Angers to merge practices

October 16, 2009
By BEN SIMMONS, Staff Writer

Two of the area's largest private practice clinics are merging together to provide the best possible medical care for the community. Beginning Oct. 26, Down Home Pediatrics will combine with Anger Family Practice to form Arbor Medical Associates. Offices will be open in Elkins, Buckhannon and Philippi.

The family practice providers include Dr. Eric Anger and physician assistants Christine Shoemaker and Lynne Shaver, along with pediatric providers Dr. Matt Downs and Dr. Lorrie Downs, and pediatric nurse practitioner Rachel Anger.

"We are merging together to be able to provide better care than we could separately," Dr. Lorrie Downs said. "We will have more staff to field phone calls, to arrange for testing, to deal with your insurance company and more providers to see those who need care right now. With multiple providers, the office will always be staffed and will not close for lunch, vacations, family or hospital emergencies. There will always be someone in the office to handle your call."

Article Photos

(CU and The Inter-Mountain/Grant Jones)
CHECKUP — Kaylene Roberts, left, brings her 3-month-old son, Rhett Dewitt, in for a routine checkup with pediatric nurse practitioner Rachel Anger. On Oct. 26, Anger Family Practice will be joining with Down Home Pediatrics to form Arbor Medical Associates to better provide for the Elkins, Buckhannon and Philippi areas.

Lorrie Downs said acute care clinics would be open every morning for adults and children so they could be seen without an appointment. She said the clinic's computer system could be accessed from any location so patients can easily choose the location that is most convenient for them that day. Also, an in-house billing staff is available to help patients understand their insurance and billing questions, along with an after-hours nurse care line for medical advice.

"We understand that people are busy, which is why we have put in place many services such as on-site blood draws, in-house labs and limited on-site pharmacy to more efficiently meet the needs of our patients," Lorrie Downs said. "We understand that when you are ill you don't want to drive a long distance to a clinic where they don't know you, which is why we have three convenient locations to serve you better. We also understand that even though people are busy they truly want to see someone who knows them, which is why we have our morning walk-in clinics."

Rachel Anger said the convenience of three locations would help better serve her patients' needs. She said many patients drive long distances.

"The main reason for me in merging the two offices is better patient care," Rachel Anger said. "By being bigger and more staffed, we are able to offer our patients better services and availability. For example, we'll now have a sick visit walk-in clinic where you can walk in anytime in the morning from 8 to 10 a.m. and you will be seen. This allows our patients to see their own doctors and avoids them going to an urgent care. Also, we can serve the entire family. Once a patient turns 18, they would normally have to switch from a pediatrician's office and now they will be able to stay with that same practice. They'll be coming to the same place and seeing the same faces."

Dr. Matt Downs said the merger would be helpful because patients will have access to six "well respected medical providers." He said it would also be helpful in recruiting physicians in the future.

"As we move into a new era of health care uncertainty, unfortunately the realizations are that physicians in rural America will be a scarce resource," Matt Downs said. "We are facing a severe physician shortage that will worsen in the next 10 years. Access to quality health care delivered by primary care physicians and mid-level providers will be the single largest threat to the health of our community in the coming years."

For more information on Arbor Medical Associates, call 304-637-3565.



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