DENVER — A Colorado physician has stepped forward to help 9,200 patients who were faced with losing primary care.
Last month, TeamHealth announced that it was shutting down two Senior Care of Colorado clinics in metro Denver.
That's when one of the patients, Darlene Alber, reached out to Contact7.
"I just panicked," she said. "I've been with these people for ten years."
Today, Alber is breathing much easier after learning that a Colorado Springs physician is negotiating a deal to buy Senior Care of Colorado.
"I'm thrilled," she said. "God Bless this man."
Touched by article
Dr. Francis Joseph, President and CEO of Springs Medical Associates, said he learned about TeamHealth's planned shutdown on the news.
"I was touched by the article that you wrote about Darlene," he said. "There were 9,000 patients at stake. That's when I said, 'this is a calling for me. I can change their lives.'"
Joseph said he became a doctor to help lessen pain.
As a child, he saw elderly people suffer in his native India.
He graduated from St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, India and came to the U.S. in the early 1990s.
"I did my surgery residency at NYU, and completed my family medicine training in New Jersey," he said.
Now, Joseph is both a doctor and an attorney.
After moving to Colorado, he opened a medical clinic in Colorado Springs.
"I went from seeing four patients a day to 24," he said. "And from one provider (doctor) per practice to 8 to 10 providers at the Springs, Pueblo and Golden locations."
The new owner-to-be said he plans to put patients at the top.
"I'm very passionate about senior care," he said. "You will not be just a gall bladder, you will not be an appendix, you won't be just an 86-year old lady, you're going to be treated with dignity, respect and honor."
Dr. Joseph said the clinic on the Porter campus at 850 E. Harvard will remain open.
"In efforts to keep the change seamless for patients, we expect that all patient records will be assumed by Dr. Joseph without any action needed by patients," said Nicole Renzi, the doctor's office manager.
When asked about the status of the Aurora clinic, which TeamHealth closed on April 24, Dr. Joseph said he will study the feasibility of reopening that clinic.
He said all patients previously cared for at the Aurora clinic can be seen at the Porter office.
When asked about the doctors who currently work at Senior Care of Colorado, Joseph said, "Some are going to remain. Some have tendered their resignations. I'm still talking and negotiating with them."
Ms. Alber asked whether patients will be allowed to keep their existing prescriptions.
She said she suffers from back pain.
"Other than getting back surgery, I'm on these pills," she said. "I don't like them, but they work."
"Nothing is going to happen as far as changing medications or modifying medications," Dr. Joseph said.
He added that if all goes according to plan, the transition in ownership will be finalized on May 24.