Yes, we are. Northwestern Comprehensive Pain continues to be a busy, important practice located on Catherine Street in St. Albans. They care for patients with a wide variety of medical concerns including chronic pain and addiction issues. There has been a change in physician staffing at Northwestern Comprehensive Pain recently which has raised questions in the community, so an update is in order.
At the start of July, NMC and Dr. William Roberts decided not to continue the employment contract between Dr. Roberts and NMC. Dr. Roberts continues to be a member in good standing of NMC’s Medical Staff, but is no longer a direct employee of NMC. July 3 was Dr. Roberts’ last day at Northwestern Comprehensive Pain. We appreciate the care and leadership Dr. Roberts provided as the Medical Director of Northwestern Comprehensive Pain. He has not yet announced his plans, though I expect he will continue to be an important part of our local medical community. We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Roberts as we continue to respond to the community need for addiction and chronic pain services.
I want to assure you that NMC is committed to the Northwestern Comprehensive Pain program and our patients. We understand the community need for these services as they were part of the top priority identified in the Community Health Needs Assessment. We have an interim coverage plan in place to ensure that all of our existing patients within that practice continue to get the care and treatment they need. I would like to thank Dr. David Simcoe, Dr. Jun Fu, Dr. Juan Nunez, Dr. Lowrey Sullivan, and Michele Kearney, PA in particular for increasing the clinical time they spend at the practice and ensuring existing patients’ needs are met. They and the rest of the team at Northwestern Comprehensive Pain are wrapping around our patients in this time of transition. We are fortunate to have such a devoted team!
We are currently working on additional resources for the short and long term future of this practice. On the short term, we are working to add in another local provider to assist these providers with the current caseload. I am pleased to say that Dr. Suzan White will be joining the practice full time in November. We continue to work closely with our collaborative partners at the Howard Center on the intake of new patients with addiction issues. New patients can begin their counseling with the Howard Center and move into the process. As openings become available at the practice, patients will be transitioned in. Discussions are being had with referring physicians of new chronic pain patients to determine what setting is most appropriate for each new patient. To expand capacity to better meet the need in the community, we continue to aggressively recruit for two full time Addiction Medicine Specialists and a full time Interventional Pain Specialist. These two specialties are in particular demand nationwide, but our community has much to offer in terms of quality of life, an engaged medical staff, and a collaborative community partner environment, so we are hopeful that we will successfully recruit strong candidates soon.
Meanwhile, patients who have scheduled appointments with Dr. Roberts at Northwestern Comprehensive Pain or through Interventional Pain should plan on being at their appointment at the established time. If any changes are necessary, the office will call you. Should you have any questions about a patient appointment or the availability of services in the practice, please call NMC’s Director of Specialty Physician Practices, Jill Torrey, at 524-1236. Thank you for entrusting your care to NMC and Northwestern Comprehensive Pain – and thank you for your patience in this transition period.
— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer