With the news that Aurora Health Care will close its Sister Bay clinic at the end of November, Door County Medical Center (DCMC) is adjusting plans slightly for its new clinic.
“The news came as a surprise to us,” DCMC CEO Brian Stephens said when asked about the situation during the Sister Bay Advancement Association’s annual meeting Nov. 7.
Stephens said that in response to the news, the hospital posted for a full-time family-practice physician to work at the $14.5 million clinic that it plans to open in the spring of 2023.
That clinic will replace the medical center’s Fish Creek clinic and offer expanded rehabilitation facilities, behavioral health services and a pharmacy.
Aurora refused to say how many patients are served by the Sister Bay clinic, but a former practitioner at the clinic said it recently was serving about 1,200 patients. In a statement emailed to the Peninsula Pulse, Aurora said the closure was due to “inconsistent patient volumes” and that it is consolidating its Sister Bay services with its location in Sturgeon Bay.
A letter to patients said the center’s “well-established primary-care colleagues and Urgent Care in Sturgeon Bay are ready to continue care without interruption.”
For Northern Door residents, the move could be a big blow. It takes 45 minutes to drive from Sister Bay to Sturgeon Bay, and more than an hour from some points in Liberty Grove.
Nikki Voight of Door-Tran said her office is already working to make Northern Door residents aware of the transportation services that are available to them.
“If anyone has questions about transportation, I encourage them to call Door-Tran because there’s no cookie-cutter option,” she said. “We have mobility managers willing to help them navigate how to get to medical appointments and other destinations.”
Sixty percent of Door-Tran users come from northern Door County, and 70% of Door-Tran trips are for medical appointments. Almost 95% of Door-Tran passengers are 55 or older.
The service offers half-price taxi vouchers for those who use wheelchairs, as well as rides from volunteer drivers based on a sliding fee scale of 10 cents per mile to 40 cents per mile, based on household income.