The Merrill Community and Lincoln County are experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians that needs to be remedied and Ministry Health Care/Good Samaritan Health Center have plans to address the need.

Continuing its commitment to providing health care services to the people of Merrill and Lincoln County, Ministry Health Care has announced it will begin the recruitment of Ministry Medical Group primary care providers to provide inpatient coverage for patients admitted to Good Samaritan Health Center and establish a new outpatient clinic to be located on the Good Samaritan Campus.

“Good Samaritan Health Center is a key component of Ministry Health Care’s network of services in central and northern Wisconsin,” said Jeff Martin, Regional Chief Executive Officer for Ministry Health Care.“The addition of primary care services by our Ministry Medical Group begins a new chapter in a tradition of service that began with the hospital’s founding in 1923. This step will enhance our efforts to deliver our promise to put patients first in everything we do.”

The decision to expand physician services in Merrill by Ministry Health Care was accelerated after notification that the Merrill-based primary care physicians affiliated with Aspirus would stop providing inpatient care at Good Samaritan effective April 1.

“While we are disappointed by the decision by Aspirus to end inpatient rounding in Merrill, we realize that this decision is consistent with emerging trends in the practice of primary care medicine seen in other communities,” said Michael Hammer, Good Samaritan president. “There have been some questions whether Aspirus patients can come to Good Samaritan for Emergency Room services and be admitted if needed and the answer is yes. Our Emergency Room physicians can care for those patients and if admission is necessary, Marshfield Clinic doctors will manage your inpatient stay, he noted.
Hammer also added “It is our belief that the vast majority of patient needs can be handled locally and we look forward to bringing new physicians to the community as well as continuing to enhance our relationships with Marshfield Clinic and other independent providers who wish to practice in the Merrill Community.”

Recruitment of these primary care professionals will begin immediately with the hopes of start-up of the practice within the next 12-18 months.

“We appreciate the commitment Ministry Health Care is making to our community to preserve and enhance local healthcare,” said Linda Semling Peterson, chairperson of the Good Samaritan Board of Directors.

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