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Release: Immediate

Ottumwa is home of new UI Family Care clinic

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A new primary care health center with on-site laboratory and X-ray services will begin serving Ottumwa and the surrounding region this summer.

The University of Iowa Family Care Center, Ottumwa, will be located on the northwest side of the Ottumwa Regional Health Center campus, across the street from the health center's emergency department entrance. Groundbreaking for the facility will be at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1 at the Ottumwa Regional Health Center's patient lobby.

The new clinic is part of a growing network of UI Family Care clinics managed by UI Community Medical Services Inc. (UICMS), a subsidiary formed by the UI Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) and the UI College of Medicine.

It will be staffed by four board-certified family practice physicians, nurses and other support staff. The 10,000-square-foot facility will include space for future expansion of physician services, if warranted.

"The people of our region will benefit from the convenient availability of additional family practice physicians to serve their primary health care needs," said Clarence Cory, president of the Ottumwa Regional Health Center.

Dr. Gerald Paluska, chief of staff at the Ottumwa Regional Health Center, and Dr. Michael Shaeffer, former chief of staff, echoed Cory's sentiment.

"It's going to be very good for the community and reinforces a long-standing relationship between Ottumwa and the University of Iowa," Paluska said.

Shaeffer added, "It can only enhance the already superb health care services available to people in this community."

Dr. John Fieselmann, medical director for UICMS, and Terry Protextor, executive director of UICMS, said the clinic underscores the UI's commitment to providing convenient, high-quality health care to all Iowans.

"We have a lot of community leaders to thank for helping us bring this new resource to Ottumwa," Fieselmann said.

R. Edward Howell, director and CEO of the UIHC, said the new center supports the historically strong bonds of mutual trust and service between the people of Ottumwa and the UI. "This clinic will be an excellent health care resource for the people of Ottumwa," he said.

Dr. Robert Kelch, dean of the UI College of Medicine, said the clinic is a logical extension of the UI's mission to serve the state's health care needs. "Iowans are justifiably proud of their university's status as a world-class resource for patient care, teaching and medical research," he said.

UI Family Care, Ottumwa, will be the second UICMS resource in Ottumwa. Medical Oncology and Hematology of Ottumwa, which specializes in treating cancer patients, affiliated with UICMS in September 1997. The cancer clinic is directed by Dr. Maleka Z. Ahmed, a board-certified specialist in hematology-oncology and internal medicine. It will continue to operate in newly remodeled facilities on the Ottumwa Regional Health Center campus.