Hudson Physicians remains an independent clinicHealth care is delivered to the patient in many forms today, and Hudson Physicians wants the community to know that it remains an independently owned clinic devoted to offering health care that matches patients’ needs.
By: Margaret Ontl, Hudson Star-Observer
Health care is delivered to the patient in many forms today, and Hudson Physicians wants the community to know that it remains an independently owned clinic devoted to offering health care that matches patients’ needs.
The clinic has a long history in Hudson, becoming one clinic in 1987 when the two small existing ones joined forces.
One of the founding shareholders, Dr. Stephen Schmitz, moved to Hudson in 1981. At the time, area residents were served by the two small clinics, Hudson Clinic and St. Croix Valley Clinic. Schmitz, a native of Minnesota, had graduated from the University of Indiana School of Medicine and was hoping to set up a family medicine practice closer to home.
“I joined Hudson Clinic, the older of the two groups, which at the time included Dr. Myron Anderson, Dr. Eugene Diefenbach and our surgeon, Dr. Ruben Fermin,” said Schmitz. Medical doctors Robert Stoy, Vicki Mayer, Terry Domino and Steve Lindahl made up the St. Croix Valley Clinic.
“At first we started sharing on-call duties,” said Schmitz.
The two groups combined in 1987, forming Hudson Physicians. In the first year three new doctors joined the ranks, Paul McGinnis, Patrick McCann and Kevin Helmen.
“Since we first got together, we have all been in family practice except Dr. Fermin,” said Schmitz. “Back then we covered the emergency room at the hospital and did a lot of things ourselves.”
In 1996, Hudson Physicians, New Richmond and River Falls Medical Clinics formed Western Wisconsin Medical Associates. “We have expanded beyond our walls with the addition of the Hudson Physicians Quick Care (at County Market),” said Schmitz. “We recently added the PNBC (Physicians Neck and Back Clinics), which offers intensive therapy for chronic back and neck pain. We provide many of the services to keep people right here for their health care needs.
“We continue to plan on functioning as an independent clinic, making our own decisions. We control our own destiny sort of speaking. It is a nice place to practice medicine. I am still glad to be here.”
Dr. Vicki Mayer, a veteran from the St. Croix Valley Clinic, was recruited to come to Hudson in 1978 by Barbara Domino, Dr. Terry Domino’s wife.
“She thought he needed to bring a female physician to town,” said Mayer, who practices family medicine. “Today we practice a lot more evidence-based medicine and preventative care. We also have a lot more data to incorporate in our practices, and we have a beautiful facility with up-to-date technology and strategies for managing care,” said Mayer.
Dr. Greg Young, the current president of Hudson Physicians, was looking for a geographic area that offered him the topography to enjoy mountain biking, hunting, skiing, boating, kayaking and running. But he also wanted to find a small-town, community, family medicine-based clinic at which to practice. He found it in August 2001 when he accepted a position at Hudson Physicians.
Young is one of 14 stockholders in Hudson Physicians.
“I enjoy the full spectrum of family medicine,” said Young. “It is not doctors in a box. When you own something you are happy to have a vested interest in the success.” Young is an active Rotarian and member of St. Patrick’s Church.
“We are always working on the expansion of primary care. Family practice medicine is working more with internists, obstetrics and specialists to provide patients with more access and choice. We also keep working on the efficiency of care. Within 18 months, Hudson Physicians will be implementing electronic health records.
“We just want to acknowledge that as our business continues to grow we are growing and expanding ourselves as physicians,” said Young. “We are basically entrepreneurs with a double target: to be successful and provide exceptional care.”
Along with the physician stockholders, another person who keeps the business rolling forward is Ernie Wallin, the administrator of Hudson Physicians. Wallin has a long history in Hudson and in the medical field as well. He started with Hudson Hospital in 1979 as the director of cardio-pulmonary services. It was a small department but Wallin was there until 1996 when WWMA was formed.
“We still have our own autonomy,” said Wallin, who then developed an occupational medicine program for Hudson Physicians and the clinics of WWMA.
In 2006, Wallin became the director of operations for the doctors, and in 2008 he was named the clinic administrator for Hudson Physicians.
Today, the clinic, under Wallin’s guidance, remains an independent organization, offering primary care to patients through family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, internal medicine and general surgery.
“The biggest thing about being independent is that we have a significant influence on how we practice,” said Wallin. “We can still apply the adage, ‘If we work hard we can control the destiny of our practice.’”
“We are very optimistic about our future. Last year we added seven new providers, and this year we have added medical doctors Sean Flood, specializing in occupational medical, and Aimee Young, an OB/GYN.
In the next 20 years, the population in St. Croix County is expected to double.
“Our goal is to serve the needs of this growing community. Our hope is that we can help the patient with their health care needs, assist them with management and offer the services that make for good outcomes. I still enjoy what I do,” said Wallin, who has been in the medical industry for 30 years. “I hit it right the first time. It is a challenge, for sure, and we are going to have to keep an eye on what is happening on the state and federal level.
“We are proud of our independence and the work we do here,” said Wallin of the 14 shareholders. Hudson Physicians donates a significant amount of time and money each year locally. Most of the doctors that work here want to maintain their independence, living in and being a part of the community they serve.”
Hudson Physicians currently occupies 36,000 feet of the clinic building that is attached to Hudson Hospital.
The medical doctors who are shareholders/owners of Hudson Physicians are Steven Adorn, Dana Dahl, Mark Druffner, Dennis Hartung, Kevin Helmen, Kirk Jacobson, George Leyda, Vicki Mayer, Paul McGinnis, Steven Schmitz, Mark Stannard, Robert Stoy, Greg Young and the newest owner, who comes on board in July, Kristin Severson, DO, CMD.
For more information regarding Hudson Physicians, or Western Wisconsin Medical Associates, go to www.hudsonphysicians.com or www.wwma.org.