Dr. Baughman's legacy lives on with new owners

4/29/2014

Dr. Baughman's legacy lives on with new owners

Dr. Baughman's legacy lives on with new owners

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Wichita-based Kansas Orthopaedic Center has purchased Garden City's Sandhill Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, a clinic operated by the late Dr. Michael Baughman for more than 20 years.

Baughman, who died Jan. 10 from injuries sustained in a one-vehicle rollover accident, opened the clinic in 1993.

Founded in 1978, Kansas Orthopaedic Center is a multi-physician practice representing many sub-specialties in orthopedics and physical medicine.

KOC bought the practice about a month ago. Paulette Baughman, Dr. Baughman's wife, retained ownership of the building.

The name of the clinic is now Kansas Orthopaedic - Sandhill, both to reflect the change of ownership and to recognize the legacy of the practice Baughman created, according to Dr. James Gluck, a physician with KOC.

"We recognize the commitment and dedication Dr. Baughman had to Garden City," Gluck said in a phone interview Tuesday from Wichita. "We want to take what Mike developed out there, continue doing what he did, and hopefully add to it with sub-specialty care."

Gluck, a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in surgery of the hand and microvascular surgery, said everyone in the practice has additional training or has done fellowships in sub-specialty areas, such as upper extremity, total joint replacement, spine, foot and ankle, and sports medicine.

The merger will allow KOC to bring a variety of sub-specialty expertise to Garden City and western Kansas that wasn't available nearby previously.

For instance, Gluck said, people would have had to travel to Denver, Oklahoma City or Omaha, Neb., to find the nearest hand specialist other than himself.

"We do more of the complex kind of things, but we obviously do the more common things, as well. Garden City is growing and growing, so it's an opportunity to bring that level of orthopedic care to Garden City and western Kansas as a whole," he said.

Steve Barrett, director of rehabilitation and athletic training at Sandhill, said Kansas Orthopaedic is a good fit for Sandhill and a good fit for Dr. Baughman's patients.

Each doctor specializes in one thing, Barrett said. Baughman had training in hands, sports medicine and was a general orthopedist who worked on many different body parts.

"These guys only work on one. They work on the same body part each and every day," Barrett said. "They're all very good at it. They're all very knowledgable."

Access to specializations is probably the main benefit

a sub-specialist who focuses on one area.

To illustrate the benefit, Gluck pointed to the sports world and the careers of Gale Sayers and Sandy Koufax, each of whom suffered career-ending injuries in the 1960s. Today, through advances in medicine and the rise of sub-specialties, those same injuries would not have ended their careers.

"The more we understand about the human body, the more we can do to keep people going. And it's not just sports. It used to be if you were 70 and still alive, that was pretty good. People today want to be 80 or 85 and still playing tennis or golf, being active," Gluck said.

Gluck said he and other KOC doctors had a working relationship with Baughman in the past both through referrals and some of Baughman's sports medicine seminars. After Baughman's death, there was a need to take care of Baughman's patients. In addition, KOC was interested in a Garden City location to serve western Kansas clients.

"We as a group see a lot of people from western Kansas — not just Garden City, but Liberal, Dodge, Scott City, Syracuse, all of those areas," Gluck said. "We were having an interest in making it more convenient for patients anyway, and then this situation came up."

Gluck credits Paulette Baughman's dedication and determination to keep the clinic going.

"She could have said, 'I'm done. I don't care what happens to the practice,'" Gluck said. "But she's really dedicated a lot of effort to making sure that the patients were taken care of and the employees were taken care of."

All Sandhill employees retained their jobs, Gluck said.

"She was dedicated to making sure that happened, and, I think, to see that what her husband developed over all those years didn't go away," he said.

Six doctors from Kansas Orthopaedic will make regular trips to Garden City, at least one once or twice per week. Next year, the practice will add another doctor to the group, Dr. Clay Greeson, a Kismet native, who will live in Garden City.

Gluck said Greeson is finishing his residency and will do a sports medicine fellowship in California before beginning full-time practice at Sandhill.

Barrett said Sandhill is looking forward to Greeson coming on board.

"We've met him, and he's a lot like Dr. Baughman. His fellowship is in sports medicine, and knees, hips and shoulders will be his speciality. He's young and energetic," Barrett said.

Gluck said KOC has performed outreach services in Wellington, Concordia and Dodge City, but not to the extent of having physical office space as in Garden City. He said the practice is making a big financial commitment to developing the Garden City office, including bringing an electronic medical records system to the clinic, which will allow easy retrieval of patient records both here and in Wichita.

Though consultations with doctors are happening in Garden City, Gluck said those who need surgeries will need to go to Wichita for the time being. He said KOC is negotiating with St. Catherine Hospital to acquire hospital privileges here.

"We're trying to work things out with the hospital. We've requested privileges and are waiting to hear from them. One of our feelings is we do not want to come in and take the medical care out of Garden City. We want to leave it in Garden City," Gluck said.

Gluck said Garden City is becoming a regional referral center, and from a financial solvency standpoint, the hospital and medical industry need that to continue. KOC does not want to take that business out of Garden City.

"Basically, Kansas Orthopaedic Center would like to be part of the Garden City community. That's really our goal," he said.

Gluck said KOC hopes offering its services here will actually mean fewer people in the area will travel out of state to see sub-specialists, which would increase patient volume for Garden City.

Shawna Deal, hospital spokesperson, said the hospital would "love for them to do their surgeries here."

Recovering from Baughman's death has been difficult.

"It's been a rough transition, but working with these guys has been nothing short of awesome," Barrett said. "Not only are we learning a lot, but they're easy to work with and very professional. Obviously, it was tough for me because I'd worked for Dr. Baughman for almost 21 years. It's a new game now."

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