Medical clinic will stay open under GraceMed
By Paul Rhodes
CLEARWATER – After nearly 40 years in practice, Dr. David Papish will be hanging up his stethoscope soon.
Dr. Papish announced to his patients late last week that he will be retiring soon, following a transition that will involve GraceMed Health Clinic taking over the medical practice in Clearwater.
“For the past 39 years I have had the privilege of serving the medical needs of the Clearwater community,” Dr. Papish said in a letter to his patients. “I have been blessed to have cared for multiple generations of families.
“I have shared in your joys and despairs, we have grown stronger together,” he wrote. “There has been no greater honor than to have been trusted with guiding your health and wellness choices. After extensive soul searching, I have decided it is the right time in my life to hang up my stethoscope.”
Dr. Papish said one of his commitments when he came to Clearwater was to not leave the community without medical care when he retired. He noted that when he came to Clearwater in 1979, it had been 10 years since the community had had local medical care.
He said the agreement with GraceMed to take over the practice in Clearwater was an answer to his prayers.
“GraceMed will provide primary medical care, accepting all insurances,” said Dr. Papish. “They will continue to employ all of my staff who want to remain, ensuring a smooth transition. I, too, will remain through the transition period.”
GraceMed has been serving Wichita since its founding in 1979 as a healthcare ministry of the United Methodist Church. Its focus is to provide compassionate, accessible, high-quality healthcare for residents in the communities that are served by GraceMed, said Dave Sanford, the health clinic’s CEO.
In recent years, GraceMed has grown to include 12 clinics in Wichita, two in Topeka and one in McPherson.
“We believe, as Dr. Papish does, that everyone should have access to quality care,” said Sanford. “Our growth has been a continuing effort to ensure that access is available where it is needed most.”
Sanford noted that GraceMed provides a holistic range of services in its clinics that include primary medical, dental, vision and behavioral health. In Clearwater, the GraceMed practice will focus on medical care, with the opportunity for patients to take advantage of other services available within the group of clinics.
The first task during the transition, Sanford said, will be to recruit a medical provider for the Clearwater clinic.
“During the transition, Dr. Papish will continue to see patients and then help the new provider get acquainted with the practice,” said Sanford. “We know how much it means to him (Dr. Papish) that quality, local care be available.
“Parts of rural Kansas are moving into the drastically underserved category,” said Sanford, “and the underserved are the focal point of our mission. Dr. Papish has been devoted to his hometown for generations. He came to us because he wanted to know that his community would continue to be served locally after he steps aside from his practice.”