DCMC merges with Centura Health

Dodge City Medical Center has been been providing quality medical services to the community for several years.

With intentions to provide more medical services and recruit more physicians for the area, it was decided on January 3 that Dodge City Medical Center would be merging with Centura Health Physician Group.

This decision was made after nine physician partners of DCMC unanimously voted for the merge.

“This has been probably an 18 month-long discussion. Even at that time, there was some cross-work between Dodge City physicians and Garden City physicians,” said Scott Taylor, St. Catherine Hospital president and CEO who oversees all Centura Health operations in Kansas. “That precipitated some dialogue between the clinic and Centura Health through me, and it was readily apparent that we shared the same philosophy and could see a value in working together. Over time, those discussions evolved into an outright acquisition of the clinic and integration with Centura Health.”

Centura Health is a multi-specialty group made up of 6,000 physicians who serve the Colorado and western Kansas area. The organization consists of 17 hospitals, two senior living communities, health neighborhoods, physician practices and clinics, home care and hospice services, and Flight For Life Colorado. With this merger, DCMC combined with other southwest Kansas medical centers such as Siena Medical Center, Women’s Clinic, Ulysses Family Physicians and Ulysses Surgical.

By combining with Centura, Dodge City is able to recruit more specialists in Dodge City.

“We have multiple specialty physicians from St. Catherine doing outreach to Dodge City Medical Center in the areas of orthopedic, cardio, urology and surgery,” said Shawna Deal, community relations coordinator for Centura Health. “We will always be recruiting, it is an ongoing process. Important to note though, we are recruiting not only to the center but also to the community. We are looking for individuals who wish to be a part of the Dodge City community not just to DCMC. Those that will stay, live, work and raise their families there.”

On top of this, DCMC is also able to access more medical attention.

“In working with Centura Health as a system, we have the ability to tap into to some other specialties as well,” said Stephanie Waggoner, administrator of the Centura Health Physician Group in Kansas. “The hope is really to be able to enhance on some of the services that are provided in the community and bring some health care that may not have been as easily accessible before.”

Since the merger, DCMC has hired two physicians: Shelly Keesling, an assistant physician in dermatology and Nassif Azzi, specialist in normal kidney function. Additionally, general surgeon Gretchen Dunford was recently hired and is now seeing patients in Dodge City, Garden City and Satanta.

It was stressed by numerous representatives of both Centura and DCMC that this merger is solely to expand medical attention in Dodge City.

“One of the big issues of discussion with Centura was that we are not doing this because we want to help Centura, we want to do this because we want to help Dodge City,” said DCMC administrator Terry Stofferson. “We found the right partner who said ‘by all means, we’re here for Dodge.’ So, the focus remains with Dodge City, Centura is here to help”

It was noted that this transition will take approximately one year, and the community won’t see many noticeable changes right away.

“Will there be changes? Absolutely,” said Deal. “Because of recruiting efforts, these changes will go out as quickly as they come in. We look forward to helping to build up a vibrant provider base in Dodge City.”

To contact the writer of this story, email egarcia@dodgeglobe.com.