The Herald

I am currently a patient of Gifford Medical Center’s Chelsea clinic. Last week I was informed that my primary care provider, Dr. Laura Barber, had been given her termination notice and would be leaving the practice.

My understanding is that the purpose of her termination is twofold. One reason being that she does not see enough patients in an hour and the other being that it will save a great deal of money to hire a nurse practitioner in her place.

Gifford requires providers to see five patients per hour; that is a patient every 12 minutes. Where is the quality of care in a 12-minute appointment? Dr. Barber takes the time to listen to her patients, review options and understand their needs. She absolutely takes more than 12 minutes per patient because that is what is necessary in this small community. Chelsea is home to a Residential Care Facility, a low-income elderly housing complex and a low-income family housing complex. These individuals need continuity of care in close proximity due to the rural location.

When I walk into the clinic I am greeted by a receptionist who knows my name. My nurse has known me since I was a child and she always remembers to use the digital thermometer instead of the forehead scanner due to previous trauma. You simply do not get that kind of service in bigger offices.

But Dr. Barber herself is the greatest reason for us to stay with the Chelsea clinic. Numerous times she has been able to quickly diagnose my husband or me after we had received improper diagnoses and treatment from other providers. She will call us well after hours if we have test results come back that are concerning, she knows what pharmacy we use and the medications I’m on and have taken in the past.

Dr. Barber is the most knowledgeable and present provider we’ve ever seen. She cried with us when we lost our son, always checks in on my mental health and PTSD regardless of what I’m there for, and she has the instincts to know when my husband is thinking about defying her recommendation!

Losing Dr. Barber, even replacing her with an NP, is going to do a great disservice to this rural community. I beg of Gifford to reconsider this decision and allow us, as patients, continuity of care with a genuine and attentive PCP.

Brandi Tracy