The Saratoga Sun -

Losing a medical fixture

Dr. Dean Bartholomew sells practice, sets to oversee transition, move family north


Many Valley patients at Platte Valley Medical Clinic in Saratoga will likely be seeing a new doctor in late summer after ownership of the clinic is transferred to another physician.

Dean Bartholomew, the current physician and owner of the clinic, along with his wife Tonya, confirmed the clinic is for sale and the Bartholomew family will be leaving town once the clinic is under new guidance and ownership.

For patients at the clinic, the Bartholomews stress nothing will change. “There’s not going to be a loss of access,” he said.

Tonya echoed that sentiment. “Nothing will change for our patients here after we leave,” she said. “We are going to stick around as long as we need to help that transition be successful.

“The patients have nothing to be concerned about, it’ll be a seamless transition.”

Not only are the Bartholomews promising a smooth transition, the clinic’s new owner might even be a familiar face to some patients.

“He actually had trained with us three or four years ago,” Dean Bartholomew said. “He was out here for a month doing a rural rotation, at the time he was a resident in Cheyenne.

“He absolutely loved it out here and at that time we kind of jokingly talked about, ‘Gosh if you ever want to sell the practice, you should give me a call.’”

As it turned out, it wasn’t Bartholomew that called Kaiser; instead, Kaiser called him in April out of the blue and offered to buy the clinic.

“My parents are going to need a bit more help in the future,” Dean said. “And we really didn’t know how we were going to do it, and then he just called us and doors just opened.”

“It’s not that we’re moving away from Saratoga, we’re moving to go do something different,” Dean said. “Tonya’s family is still here, we have a family cabin in the mountains, we’ll be here a lot. It’s just a time and place in our lives where we have to do something different.”

The Bartholomews both stressed they are selling the clinic with a heavy heart. Saratoga is the hometown of both, and their children have lived here since very young ages, they said. But, Dean’s parents, who live in Northern Wyoming near Powell, will be needing more help in the future, and the family decided it was time to be close to them.

Not only is the family leaving their hometown, they’re also leaving behind a business they have worked hard to build, and one that has become an important fixture in the health of 3,000 patients served by the clinic.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Eastern Carbon County is a medically underserved area, meaning there are too few medical professionals to support the health care needs of the population.

Eastern Carbon County is not alone in that designation in the state of Wyoming, and even in more populated states in the East and Midwest, many rural areas are also medically underserved.

Because of the importance of a clinic like Platte Valley Medical Clinic to Saratoga and surrounding areas, the Bartholomews have also taken great pains to make sure the clinic will continue to serve residents after they leave.

“Frankly, we are very particular about who gets to buy it, because this is something we built and these are our people,” Tonya said. “We still love our community and we care about who it will go to.”

The way the clinic is structured is also very complicated. While the Bartholomews own the business—as the new owner will—the building is owned by the town of Saratoga, and the Corbett Medical Foundation keeps the clinic open, Tonya says.

The clinic, she says, does not make enough money to stay open just from patient revenues and relies on funding from the foundation to keep its doors open.

Despite the fact the clinic is a complicated operation and critically important to many across the Valley, the Bartholomews are confident it will be in good hands, and that their patients will be as well cared for after the new doctor moves to town as they are now.

The transition to new ownership is expected to take place around the first week of August, Dean said, but there may be a bit of flexibility in that timetable.

As for Dean himself, he is looking forward to starting a new job at a clinic in northern Wyoming that is run by a couple of doctors he knows and is familiar with. The family’s children are understandably sad about leaving their hometown, their parents say, but on the other hand are looking forward to some of the things available at a larger school.

But Saratoga will always be home for the family.

“There’s no way we could have built this practice up to what it is without our staff, the community support, and the Corbett Medical Foundation,” Tonya said. “It has been wonderful, we’ve learned so much and we’ve been able to give to the community, but the community has been very reciprocal.

“This will always be home to us.”


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