About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

RSS feed of this blog

Geriatric medical practice to close; care of home-bound will continue

The staff of SeniorCare Geriatric Medical Center when they opened their office last year. Pictured are (first row, from left) Carolyn Woolfolk, Ellie Gibberman. (Second row) Rose Wallace, Dana Tate, Lisa Beverage.

SeniorCare Geriatric Medical Center, the area’s only medical practice focused exclusively on the elderly, is closing.

The business did not attract enough interest from the elderly and those who care for them, said Dana Tate, president and CEO of Dantra Healthcare, majority owner. It will close Nov. 14. Officials made the decision to close late last week, Tate said. Letters went out to patients on Saturday.

The closing brings to a surprising end a practice that began with much fanfare in May 2011. Dantra Healthcare, as 75-percent partner, joined with Mary Washington Healthcare, parent company of Mary Washington and Stafford hospitals, to form the business.  Officials said at the time that they hoped to serve the growing population of elderly and fill a gap in the area’s senior services.

The business was unique in that it combined an office component with an in-home component. The staff of five people included Dr. Samuel Umesegha, a board-certified geriatrician, and a nurse practitioner also trained in the care of the elderly.

Providers treated patients in the office, located beside Interstate 95 at Cosner’s Corner in Spotsylvania County. They also visited patients in their homes or in group-home settings. The home-visit part of the business was popular, Tate said, but the office portion was not.

“I thought there would be massive need to see patients in the clinic setting,” he said. “There was not. It was just not utilized.”

A spokesman for Mary Washington Healthcare said Monday that the company will employ a nurse practitioner and continue to see the home-bound patients.

“There’s going to be no interruption in care,” Kathleen Allenbaugh said.

Seniors comprise about 10 percent of the area’s population, or about 32,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That number will increase as the baby boom generation ages. A citizen advisory group affiliated with Mary Washington Healthcare last year  listed senior issues as one of the region’s top-10 health concerns.