Essentia to take over Duluth Family Practice Center managementThe Duluth Family Practice Center, which serves as a training ground for rural doctors but is suffering from declining public support, is under new management.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The Duluth Family Practice Center, which serves as a training ground for rural doctors but is suffering from declining public support, is under new management.
On Sunday, Duluth-based Essentia Health took over management of the clinic and its physician training wing, the Family Medicine Residency Program, an Essentia news release said.
Essentia, St. Luke’s hospital and the University of Minnesota Medical School have provided money and support for the clinic for three decades, the news release said. Those relationships will continue.
“When this program needed additional support, we were happy to help,” said Dr. Daniel Nikcevich, president of Essentia’s East Region, in the news release. “It’s important that we work together to sustain and grow this valuable resource.”
The residency typically gets about 65 applicants for the 10 spots that are open each year in the three-year program, program director Dr. Roger Waage said in April. Residents serve in the clinic under the tutelage of Essentia and St. Luke’s physicians. The clinic, at 330 N. Eighth Ave. E., sees about 20,000 patient visits per year.
Formed 35 years ago, the residency fills more physician positions in rural Minnesota than any other residency program, Waage said.
But it has struggled as the federal and state governments reduced support for residency programs and as additional regulations made the program less efficient, Waage said.
In early April, state Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, tried to steer $6.4 million in health-care savings to medical education research costs, a source of state funding for residency programs. It would have provided additional support for similar programs in St. Cloud and Mankato as well as for the Duluth program.
Reinert’s amendment to the Health and Human Services Finance bill was defeated.
Essentia Health isn’t acquiring the clinic but will manage day-to-day operations, the news release said. The Essentia Institute of Rural Health will provide oversight for the education mission in collaboration with the medical school.