Creston doctors locked out of Osprey Medical Clinic

Patients with appointments at the Osprey Medical Clinic got a rude surprise when they got a phone call saying the clinic had closed.

  • Feb. 4, 2014 8:00 p.m.

Lorne Eckersley/Creston Valley Advance

Patients with appointments at the Osprey Medical Clinic got a rude surprise when they got a phone call saying the clinic had closed. A notice on the door now reads: “Osprey Medical Clinic is now closed. If this an emergency: Please go directly to the hospital or call 911.”

“We were unable to reach an agreement with the doctors that would make this a self-sustaining business,” said Ken Gadicke, a Creston accountant who owns Osprey Medical Clinic in partnership with his former accounting firm partner, Rick Minichiello. “It is unfortunate that it has come to this but we couldn’t keep it going. We had no choice but to close it.”

A message being distributed to patients by three physicians who worked out of the clinic at the Creston Valley Mall, Drs. Raphael Elemuo, Tara Guthrie and Susan Hopkins isn’t quite so diplomatic:

“The owners of Osprey Medical Clinic breached our contracts in January of this year. In response to our request that they honour the terms of our contract, they have locked us out and closed the clinic without notice.

“We are currently working to find an interim solution that would allow us to serve our patients while we relocate. Should you have an urgent medical problem during this time, please attend the emergency department at the Creston Valley Hospital.

“As your physicians, we sincerely regret the inconvenience to you and appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time. We would like to assure you that we continue to be committed to our patients and will keep you informed as further information becomes available.”

“There was no notice,” Elemuo said when the three physicians met to speak with the Advance on Monday morning. “We didn’t even tell our patients.”

Elemuo immigrated from South Africa and started his practice in Osprey Medical Clinic on Oct. 3, 2011. His contract with the clinic is for three years, he said. Hopkins and Guthrie said their contracts do not have end dates.

Guthrie said the clinic’s finances were brought up by Gadicke in a meeting with the doctors last March.

“Then we didn’t hear another thing until January,” when, the physicians said, their contracts were breached.

Under the terms of their contracts, doctors work for the clinic, which bills the health system for their services in return for 30 per cent of all billing generated within the clinic. The 30 per cent is meant to fund the clinic’s staff, management, equipment and rent.

“When I was doing my research before relocating to Creston I found that the 30/70 split was a standard practice in most clinics,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said that once the doctors believed the clinic had breached their contract they sought representation by a law firm.

“We knew things might not work out, but we expected at the very worst we would have a month’s notice to relocate,” she said.

On Friday afternoon, the clinic’s locks were changed. Guthrie, the only doctor working in the clinic at the time, was busy seeing patients and was unaware of the lock change when she left work that day.

“I don’t lock up and nobody told me,” she said. “I can’t even describe how I feel about getting zero notice that the clinic was closing. And now I feel terrible because I left another clinic to work at Osprey and my patients are being affected.”

While the doctors’ access to patient medical records had not been locked out this morning, they said there was no certainty about what it would take to assure their access to the files in the near future.

“The files are electronic and there is no concern for their security,” Guthrie said. “But we need to find a way to continue to look after our patients. No one in the medical system seems to know what to do next as they haven’t seen this situation happen before.”

“This is an unusual situation,” Hopkins admitted. “We appreciate all the efforts that have been made by the [Creston Health Working Group] to recruit us to Creston and we know that everyone is trying to find a solution that is best for our patients.”

“We are shocked, completely taken aback,” Elemuo said.

Creston Mayor Ron Toyota said that the health working group and elected officials would not get involved with what has become a legal dispute.

“But we will work to ensure that patients are able to get the treatment they deserve from their doctors,” he said. “I know that temporary alternatives have been offered and that no one will rest until patients’ needs are being met.”

Regional District of Central Kootenay Area B director John Kettle, who also chairs the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District board, said today that there is no role for the hospital district to play in the dispute.

“But a temporary premises in the hospital has been offered and I know that that our health care system will co-operate in finding a solution that works for the patients,” he said.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read