Valley Falls Medical Clinic to stay open regardless of St. Francis outcome

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- While the clock ticks for SCL Health to find a new operator for St. Francis hospital, or they'll close it's doors, patients with at least one of their clinics don't need to worry.

Valley Falls Medical Clinic serves about 6,000 people around Northeast rural Kansas each year. So when the future of St. Francis health went up in the air, doctors decided their future shouldn't have to.

Clarence Todd and his wife have seen Dr. Rider for the past 30 years.

"It's been very good," Todd said of his experience. "That's why I keep coming back."

They're one of the thousands of families who rely on Valley Falls Medical Clinic for their health care needs.

"We draw people as far as Holton, as far as Atchinson, as far as McClouth , and as far as Topeka," said Dr. Rider.

Dr. James E. Rider began practicing medicine in Valley Falls 39 years ago.

He purchased the Valley Falls Clinic in 1981, but partnered with St. Francis Health in the 90's.

"There was a lot of paperwork burden, and the threat for electronic medical records coming up, and liability, so we set out a partner who would help us maintain our goal of helping rural people have health care up close," said Rider.

But if that partner, St. Francis, decides to close, Dr. Rider's already decided it won't be the end for this clinic.

"It's not going to be easy to go back privately, but that's what we would do if we had to. We would look for another partner if we had to so we could share some of the responsibility," said Rider.

Dr. Rider says the clinic is already looking at who might assist with the medical and legal paperwork that goes into switching from partnership to practice. While that may be hard, they say closing isn't an option.

"We're committed to trying to stay open for the community," said Rider.

Rider says for now they're waiting on official word from St. Francis and hoping for the best.

If St. Francis would close, eh says their doors would be open for those might need a new provider.