A trio of longtime doctors in Monroe County will no longer be practicing medicine here, the public learned Monday.
Drs. Michael Kirk, Sean Lattimore and Kenneth Hawn are no longer with Progressive Family Care.
Red Bud Regional Hospital, which owns PFC, said the doctors chose to pursue new opportunities in health care outside Monroe County.
“These doctors have played a large role in our health care services since they opened the clinic in 1990,” said hospital CEO Shane Watson. “They will truly be missed by their patients and co-workers. We wish them well as they pursue new opportunities.”
RBRH is owned by Community Health Systems, a national company.
Monday evening, Lattimore posted a statement on Facebook on behalf of all three doctors.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm our departure from PFC,” he wrote. “As many of you are aware, our practice was sold to Red Bud Clinic three years ago. We had no control over how/when you were notified of our departure and apologize for any inconvenience it has cause.
“We sincerely enjoyed caring for you and your families over the years and appreciate the trust you put in us,” the message continued. “We had been negotiating to continue to practice in this area but found out just last week that our request was denied. Due to stipulations in our contracts, we will not be able to practice within a 20-mile area for at least a year. Thank you for supporting us over the years and we hope to care for you again soon.”
Many Monroe County residents expressed their support for the physicians.
“I could just cry,” Lisa Huebner wrote on Facebook. “Dr. Kirk has been my doctor forever.”
“Please let us know where you and Dr. Kirk will be,” Rebecca Davalos wrote in response to Lattimore’s message. “You are wonderful doctors… hopefully you can come back to our area in a year.”
Progressive Family Care continues to be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
RBRH said patients will soon receive a letter introducing Dr. Carrie Daigle, Dr. Erin Friedman, Family Nurse Practitioner Debbie Konya, Physician Assistant Andrea Thomas and Family Nurse Practitioner Sarah Yates, who are current providers at the practice and remain available for primary care.
The departure of Kirk, Lattimore and Hawn comes about six weeks after longtime physician Jay Pickett left Family Practice Associates after 28.5 years.
That practice was also owned by RBRH.
“He was very sad to leave his patients in Monroe County but just could not work with Red Bud Hospital any longer,” Pickett’s wife, Linda, told the Republic-Times. “My husband left under a completely different set of circumstances (than Kirk, Lattimore and Hawn). His contract was up and he asked for some things that he didn’t get, so he put in his resignation six months earlier.
“He found another job because Red Bud said that they would enforce the non-compete clause of his contract,” Linda continued. “He left in good standing with Red Bud… Jay is very happy at Total Access Urgent Care, even though he misses the relationships with his Monroe County patients.”