Genesis to close family practice clinic in Erie

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 11:58 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ERIE, Ill. (KWQC) - The closure of a rural health clinic has residents in Whiteside and Rock Island Counties in Illinois worried about the future of their health care.

Late last week and early this week Genesis Health Group informed patients at the family practice clinic in Erie, that it would close in June.

In a letter, the health system listed other Genesis clinics in Silvis and Bettendorf, and a MercyOne clinic in Clinton as potential alternatives.

The closure leaves Erie residents like Teresa Keag on the search for a new doctor.

“If I called any one of [the alternate clinics], I’m sure I couldn’t even get in this week,” Keag said.

Keag said now will have to travel 30 to 45 minutes for a new healthcare provider.

“Building trust, building that relationship, trusting someone with your own health care, is it takes a lot emotionally out of a person,” Keag said.

It’s not just Erie residents affected, Port Byron resident Lisa Fox comes to the clinic for her checkups.

She’s become used to having the nurse practitioner in Erie address her needs.

“{The nurse practitioner has] been able to get us in when need it right away,” Fox said. “[My family] all feel very comfortable with her even for the short amount of time that we’ve seen her,”

City officials, like Community and Economic Development Director Katelin Bridgman, are also worried about what this might do to business leaving fewer people passing through town.

However, she said most importantly, they’re worried about the elderly living in the surrounding communities.

“A lot of them can’t travel outside of the immediate area to see a doctor on a regular basis,” Bridgeman said. “Perhaps they have a family member that can take them to see the doctor.”

Residents will hold a rally on Thursday at 1 p.m. outside the clinic, in hopes another health system or doctor can step in.

“This is a grassroots effort in keeping our Erie clinic open,” Keag said.

In a statement to TV6 News, a Genesis spokesperson said the decision to close the Erie clinic stems from pandemic-related issues and staffing shortages.

“Genesis Health Group, Erie clinic will close, effective June 16, 2023. Like all health care systems across the country, Genesis has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating costs, and staff shortages that have caused unprecedented financial pressures. We must address these economic realities and realign resources, so we can continue to fulfill our mission to serve the health care needs in our communities. With rising costs outpacing reimbursement, we had to make the difficult decision on what services we provide and the locations of those services. We are able to continue care for all patients and will work closely with them to transfer their care to another location.”

Todd Mizener - Senior Communications Specialist, Genesis Health Group

The decision leaves many residents like Fox, feeling ignored.

“I understand that there are hardships in every area in every community, but we still have the same needs,” Fox said.

The Genesis clinic in Erie will treat its last patients on June 16.