Reedsport clinic loses ER contract to Texas company

REEDSPORT, Ore. -- The largest health care clinic in Reedsport is in danger of shutting down.

For 35 years, doctors from the Dunes Family Health Care Clinic have provided emergency room services for the Lower Umpqua Hospital right across the parking lot.

Now, all that has changed.

"Well, we had an excellent relationship, but that is very much jeopardized now," said Dr. Janet Patin of the clinic.

The hospital is not renewing the clinic's contract for ER services, but switching to a private company out of Texas on April 1.

Sandra Reese, administrator at Lower Umpqua Hospital says it won't affect patient care. "Patients coming in, I don't think they'll see a difference. I think it would be more structured as to what happens to a person when they come in, so that we're more consistent," she said. "Consistency is a lot of times seen as quality."

"The hospital treats about 300 emergency room patients a month, and while those patients may not be affected by the switch, Dr. Patin says the Dunes Family clinic will be.

Officials say the clinic relies solely on revenue from the ER. "Most of our patients are medicare, medicaid and self-pay, and that's not enough to keep the clinic going," Dr. Patin said. "It would be a shame to lose all medical services in Reedsport, which is essentially what would happen is this clinic closes."

Reese is hopeful the hospital can continue its relationship with doctors working at the clinic. "The door's still open, so to me, the conversations aren't over," Reese said. "I hope that they continue and move forward together as a medical community."