Family practice clinic opens Thursday at VDMC

A new family practice clinic will open its doors this morning as the first patients arrive at the Van Diest Medical Center Clinic.

Mark Dearden, D.O., has been hired as the provider in the clinic. Dearden grew up in Des Moines and first obtained a degree in nursing. He worked for Dr. Robert Kramer, a cardiologist who for a long time provided services to Hamilton Hospital.

“I was his nurse and when he was going to retire in in 1996, he kind of pushed me into getting my undergraduate degree,” he said. Dearden attended Upper Iowa University for his undergraduate work, took pre-med at Drake University and received his medical degree from Des Moines University. He served his three-year residency at the University of Wisconsin and most recently worked in Vinton in a full-time practice for nine years.

“This is a great community,” he said of Webster City. “I had the privilege to come up here years ago with Dr. Kramer to do clinics.”

Amber Burgin, a nurse practitioner, will be joining the clinic at the end of the month. She’s no stranger to Webster City. Burgin was born and raised here, graduating from Webster City High School in 2001. She received her undergraduate degree at Grandview University in Des Moines and received her MSN degree from Creighton University.

“It’s nice to be back. Things are starting to come together and I’m seeing familiar faces. Everyone’s been so welcoming. It’s been a nice transition,” she said.

Melody Lager is the clinic director. Originally from Clarion, Lager now lives in Minburn and said she’s glad to be back near her roots. She’s been associated with the Mercy Family Clinic in Perry.

Lager said the clinic will be open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays. Future plans call for expanding those hours to include some earlier start times and evening hours and possibly Saturday clinics, she said. In addition to Lager, the clinic staff will also include a receptionist and a certified medical assistant. The staff will also expand, she said, as the clinic grows.

Repurposed space

The new clinic is located just a few steps inside the main entrance of Van Diest Medical Center. Patients will check in at the information desk. A portion of the lobby will be used as the waiting room, according to Bob Mason, VDMC CEO, and hospital volunteers will escort patients to the clinic. The exam rooms and offices are located in what used to respiratory therapy and sleep studies.

“We’ve moved that department closer to the patient care areas,” said Mason.

The clinic will feature four or five exam rooms. Workmen were putting the finishing touches on the facilities this week.

To make an appointment at the clinic, call 832-7800.

More providers

In recent weeks, the hospital has also announced that other providers in the community have returned to the medical staff at VDMC. Mason said while Don Woodhouse, M.D., Daniel Gabrielson, D.O. and Emily Hill Engstler, D.O., have been granted privileges, they are independent physicians working out of their own practices. Dearden also has been granted medical staff privileges, but is an employee of VDMC.

“Van Diest Medical Center is open to any physician with an Iowa medical license, We have an open medical staff,” Mason said.

Mason said Gabrielson and Woodhouse had previously held privileges at Hamilton Hospital and have now returned to the medical staff and will be sending patients to the local facility, according to Mason.

“As part of the active staff, they’ll be on call, they’ll take rotations and participate in medical staff meetings as per our by-laws. But they are independent providers,” Mason said. Dearden and Burgin have employment contracts with Van Diest Medical Clinic, he said.