Archive for Thursday, July 29, 2004

Local doctor not selling practice

July 29, 2004

Although negotiations are ongoing between Baldwin Family Practice and Lawrence Memorial Hospital, David Jones, D.O., who has had the local practice since 1981, said those talks are of merger and not buy out.

"We're talking to LMH about merging, but they won't be buying anything," said Jones. "They are not into buying practices. We've been negotiating for six months, but we haven't come to any agreement."

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Gene Meyer, president and chief executive for LMH, agreed with the assessment. Meyer was as surprised as Jones to read in a newspaper story last week that LMH was seeking to "buy" Jones' practice.

"I was surprised, too," Meyer said Monday, adding that the merger would bring Jones' practice together with LMH's Family Medicine of Baldwin, a practice staffed by Dr. Kevin Hughes.

"We would probably be looking at some hard, fixed assets, getting them appraised and possibly buying them," said Meyer. "They would probably share a practice.

"As far as any mega-million-dollar purchase, no, we're not looking at that," he said. "We have not set any time table. We'll see where it goes."

LMH has operated the Baldwin office since September, when the Topeka-based Cotton-O'Neil Clinic ceased operations. Myers said Baldwin is an important market for LMH and any merger would be done to strengthen those ties.

"It's a huge market for us," said Meyer. "We're excited about the growth there with the new residential areas, ongoing commercial projects and the possibility of a new industrial park. It would be great if we can make that practice more efficient. We want to work with both Dr. Jones and Dr. Hughes."

Jones said since the story was published last week, he has been inundated by questions. He assures everyone that he's not going anywhere.

"Everybody is asking me about it," said Jones. "A lot of people are asking me if I'm leaving town. No way. I'm planning to stay right here."

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