- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

FLORA, Ind. (AP) - The safe at a downtown bank building, once used for protecting cash and valuables, is now stocked with medical supplies.

The former bank office on East Main Street became Flora Family Medicine last month after it was made possible for one local physician to remain in the community. Dr. Jordan Dutter now heads the town’s only doctor’s office - a service that almost ceased to exist locally after his former employer’s departure from the town. Dutter’s and his staff’s presence marks what several community members say is an essential provision for citizens while positively impacting Flora’s downtown and business environment.

Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital announced the closing of its Flora office last fall, meaning Dutter and the rest of the office’s staff would be relocated.

“I really wanted to stay in Flora and serve the population here,” Dutter told the Pharos-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1qZYAQT ). “I’ve always been here. I know pretty much everything and everybody about it.”

IU Health Arnett ended up working out an agreement with Dutter that allowed him to remain in Flora as long as he adhered to stipulations like practicing in town only and remaining independent for two years.

Dutter was ultimately offered space in the former First Financial Bank building, which is partially occupied by the Town of Flora. After refurbishing the offices into exam rooms and a nurses’ station to accommodate his staff of a nurse practitioner, medical assistant and two front office employees, Flora Family Medicine opened March 17.

Dutter said he admires Flora for its quietness, small-town atmosphere and its proximity to larger communities. He added it’s just far enough away from these larger communities to make citizens want to stay for services like medical care.

Private practice brings “a lot more responsibility,” Dutter said.

“Now I’m the janitor, bookkeeper, payroll … kind of everything,” he continued, adding that the insurance side of the business has been the biggest challenge.

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com