MOUNT VERNON — Following the announcement that Dr. Brent Nimeth is no longer an employee of the American Health Network, his patients have had appointments rescheduled or canceled.
The office is giving priority to patients with “most immediate needs first” according to the announcement until a new provider is hired to provide care. The statement indicated that the search for a new provider for the office had already started and was ongoing. Numerous voicemail messages left at the American Health Network’s Columbus office seeking comment were not returned as of press time.
Practice manager Jennifer Thompson of the AHN office of Dr. William Elder and Dr. Aaron Wilson in Fredericktown stated that the practice was currently closed to new patients because of the current case load. Thompson explained that new patients are accepted on a case-by-case basis, but reiterated that Dr. Nimeth’s practice was still open and is still working to find another physician. Elder and Wilson, according to Thompson, have been helping to support nurse practitioners at Dr. Nimeth’s office as consultants and with paperwork.
She also told the News that individuals discussing the issue on social media should keep in mind that “there are two sides to every story” and noted that “companies usually have a good reason for what they do.”
Jeffrey Scott, director of marketing and development at Knox Community Hospital, told the News that all KCH providers will be accepting new patients should patients of Dr. Nimeth be looking for new providers. He stated that accommodations from office to office will vary each month “depending on volume” but explained that, in addition to physicians, KCH has a “growing number of Advanced Practice Providers” including physician assistants and nurse practitioners which provide additional options for new patients. Scott explained that the staff was made aware of the situation at Dr. Nimeth’s office and said that staff members were asked to be as accommodating for patients of Dr. Nimeth as possible.
All this, Scott said, was with the understanding that Dr. Nimeth hoped the dispute with the AHN would and could be resolved so that he could continue practicing and seeing patients in the future.
In a statement sent to the KCH Board of Trustees, Directors and Medical Staff Friday, June 1, and shared with the News by Scott, Bruce White, Chief Executive Officer at KCH said that Nimeth told KCH administration that he “hopes to have all issues resolved quickly and [to] begin seeing patients as soon as possible.” The statement also said that no further information was available, because Nimeth is not a physician employed by KCH, but noted that “as an independent Ohio-licensed practitioner, Dr. Nimeth continues to have, and can exercise, all of the clinical privileges granted to him by Knox Community Hospital.”
KCH offers a physician referral which can be reached by calling 740-393-KNOX (5663).
Lane Belangia, Health Center CEO at the Health Department, said that the Heath Center is also an option for displaced patients, whether they are searching for “full-time, long-term care” or for “transitional” care while looking for a new provider. Belangia explained that the Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Care Center, meaning care cannot be declined based on a patient’s ability to pay, and noted that the center services “all types” of insurance.
The Health Center also takes walk-in appointments during all office hours and can provide medical, dental and mental health care, as well as full service laboratory services; such as blood tests, typically at a discounted rate. For more information about the center call the center directly at 740-3998008.
Dr. Jennifer Ogle, with Ogle Family Practice, told the News her 206 S. Mulberry St., Mount Vernon, office has added a nurse practitioner and is accepting new patient applications.
A voicemail left at Dr. Nimeth’s residence requesting comment was not returned as of press time.