- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Some patients and staff have expressed concern about a plan to close a women’s health clinic at Michigan State University this summer.

Administrators at the East Lansing school notified doctors and staff of the plans in early May, giving less than 60 days before a planned June 30 shutdown, the Lansing State Journal reported (http://on.lsj.com/2asrFoF ). By mid-May, plans for the closing were postponed until Aug. 16.

Dr. Nancy Herta said the closing plans prompted worries that the Women’s Healthcare clinic’s more than 200 pregnant patients, including 80 in their third trimester, might miss necessary appointments. Those with due dates after July 31 were referred to other clinics.

“It’s been horrible,” Herta said. “I’ve been in this community 20 years and it’s been very difficult to say goodbye to everyone and have to say to them, ‘go find a new doctor.’”

The university cited the loss of two key physicians as a reason for the closure along with longstanding financial losses by the clinic. Michigan State’s $800,000 in annual losses from running the clinic would have grown, said university spokesman Jason Cody.

“The doctors leaving represented a significant loss in clinical care,” Cody said.

Rick Ward, CEO of the MSU HeathTeam, said in a statement that closing a health care practice is “very difficult decision” that wasn’t taken lightly.

“We understand the difficulty this caused for some of our patients, and we worked diligently to ensure a seamless transition of their care to new physicians in the community,” he said.

Bridget Burns-King, a former nurse practitioner at the clinic, went on maternity leave in April. A week after having her baby, she learned that the clinic would close.

“It was heartbreaking,” she said. “Our staff was great and provided a huge service to a large number of women in the area.”

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Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com

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