NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Thousands of North Texas patients could lose their pediatricians, as Children's Health, the area's largest pediatric provider, gives up management of 16 primary care clinics.
MD Kids Pediatrics will take over 13 of the locations, but a spokesperson confirmed it operates under a business model that relies more heavily on nurse practitioners and that some pediatricians will be let go. Current staff members declined to interview, but estimated more than two dozen pediatricians were losing their jobs.
Monique Ridge-Williams' three children have been patients at the Oak Cliff location for years.
"My doctor there has been informed that she will no longer employed there," she said. "What it means for my family is that we are having to look for yet another pediatrician to, kind of, start building the trust with."
Children's Health will continue to manage a single location in Dallas' medical district. A clinic in DeSoto will be taken over by a doctor currently working there, according to MD Kids Pediatric. Two clinics, though, will close – one in Celina and another located within the St Philip's School and Community Center in Dallas' Fair Park area.
"We were shocked," said the school's headmaster, Dr. Terry Flowers, who estimates the clinic serves 1,500 families.
Easy access to healthcare, he says, is vital to underserved communities like his.
"Preventing a simple cold from developing into pneumonia," he said.
Since the clinic opened five years ago, he says, emergency room visits from this zip code have dropped.
The benefits are clear, he insists.
"Keeping kids healthy keeps them doing well in school. It has a positive effect on our economy. It lets parents continue to go to work," he said.
Children's Health says it is confident families in the area will continue to have access to healthcare, pointing to two other clinics in the Fair Park area.
A spokesperson said the company is talking with St. Philips about adding a telemedicine kiosk there, a service it offers at other local schools that allows doctors to see patients over a live video chat.
The school says it is also reaching out to Baylor, Parkland, and other entities about taking over the clinic.
A Children's Health spokesperson says, the new arrangement with MD Kids Pediatric should be in place by July 1.
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