To the Editor:
It has been interesting to follow the changes at Mayo Clinic Health System-Fairmont as a physician serving this area for over 20 years. I have concerns about the new model being viable in a smaller facility like Fairmont but will watch and see how it evolves over the next few years. Whether it is the new model for care remains to be seen. However, recent comments by Dr.?Marie Morris cannot go unchallenged. Her statements that family physicians cannot provide care on par with internal medicine doctors is not supported by anything but her personal opinion.
Studies have shown outcomes to be similar from both groups, particularly in the type of patients seen in Fairmont. She also states that the "reality" is that physicians cannot do it all as a justification for having physicians and nurse practitioners see patients in the hospital. Does she really think providers unfamiliar with a patient or with less training than a family physician can provide better care than the physicians who have been practicing in Fairmont for over 20 years?
I have worked on state task forces, quality committees and statewide physician organizations to advocate for family medicine in rural communities and the value that family medicine brings to the health care system. UHD Clinics has worked hard to become a Minnesota state-certified health care home. This concept emphasizes the coordination of care, focusing on a patient-centered team care model that utilizes a personal physician as the leader of the team approach.
Dr. Morris justifies their new approach based on her personal preferences rather than patient-centered focus. If they want to control the demands on the physicians at the Fairmont medical center, wouldn't it be a better idea to try to retain physicians who have served their community for decades? Does she think it will help recruit family physicians to Fairmont by publicly stating they can't do the job they were trained to do? I would ask Dr. Morris to avoid criticism of family physicians trying to provide care in outstate Minnesota in order to rationalize the changes Fairmont is making in providing care for its patients.
I have spent my career in Blue Earth trying to provide the best care possible. I have been active in my community and watched my daughters play more volleyball games than I can count. I would ask Dr. Morris to not trivialize or criticize those efforts because Mayo wishes to try a different model of care.
Dr. Terry Cahill
UHD Clinics medical director