Officials with Van Diest Medical Center on Monday announced the resignation of its family practice clinic physician, Mark J. Dearden, D.O.
Dearden said his resignation effective would be effective June 16. He plans to further pursue his career in hospice and palliative care.
Dearden recently accepted a position as gerontologist and hospice/palliative care physician for Mercy Medical Center. He said the opportunity is one in which he can devote his passion and training to the specialized field.
"I truly appreciate the relationships I have developed with patients, staff and community members during my time here. Although the opportunity to work amongst my peers in the area of hospice and palliative care is one I very much look forward to, we (our family) will miss this community and the many people who have been so welcoming and inviting to us," he said.
"Dr. Dearden made significant contributions to the quality of our hospital and clinics while establishing his practice at Van Diest Medical Center. This clinic (the main clinic) has been profitable for the hospital. Employing our own providers compliments the existing medical staff and drives the promotion of local patient care, while supporting hospital service lines which is critical to the viability and future of this organization," said Lori Rathbun, interim CEO. "Dr. Dearden played a vital role in establishing community partnerships which are necessary to sustain and enhance local health care services."
During his time in Webster City, Dearden served as medical director for several area care facilities including Southfield Wellness Community and Stratford Nursing & Rehab Center. He was the medical director for Wesley Life Hospice and provided physician oversight to the Van Diest Medical Center's satellite clinics located in Jewell, Stratford, and Dayton.
Dearden was also recently appointed as the physician member to the Hamilton County Board of Health.
Discussions regarding the recruitment of a family physician or internal medicine physician are currently underway. Hospital officials said plans for the transition of care will be communicated to all patients in a timely manner.
Dearden's resignation comes as the hospital is experiencing several transitions. Former CEO Bob Mason resigned in January to pursue other opportunities. Rathbun was brought in to serve as interim CEO a short time later. She has implemented a gap mitigation plan to help cut costs and generate revenues to offset an anticipated $3 million loss at the medical facility. The Van Diest Medical Center Board of Trustees recently voted to close the Dayton Clinic after it was projected that there would be a $70,000 annual loss at the clinic. Trustees also cited the lack of inpatient and outpatient services utilized by Dayton Clinic patients, along with the fact that the clinic is located in Webster County and a short distance from another VDMC clinic in Stratford.