Doc wants Va clinic to have old-fashioned touch

CHURCHVILLE, Va. (AP) — In an age when health care is about patient volume and bottom lines, Dr. Diane Landauer hopes to bring an old-fashioned touch to Augusta Health's newly opened family practice.

Landauer learned as an Army physician that her true calling was to become part of a community, treating the same patients over several years.

"In the Army, we really served a community. I really like that — being there for people," she said. "When you provide care to the same people, deliver their babies — you form a bond."

Landauer, who moved to Charlottesville in 1994, was drawn to western Augusta County seven years ago when she began working at the Craigsville office of Patient Care Plus.

She eventually became director of medical services and built a roster of loyal patients who appreciated her bedside manner and home visits.

"I saw a lot of elderly people who were homebound," said Landauer, 50.

Maintaining her home in Charlottesville where her husband and son live, she bought a second house in Craigsville so that she could spend her weeks caring for patients.

But while Landauer wanted to expand Patient Care Plus' hours, its Northern Virginia-based owner wanted to reduce them for business reasons, so they parted ways in May of last year. The clinic in Craigsville has since closed. Shortly after that, Augusta Health received a petition with 550-plus signatures asking the hospital to open a practice in Craigsville that employed Landauer.

Meanwhile, Augusta Health officials had already been eyeing Churchville to open a general-practice clinic, so the two met with near-perfect timing.

Landauer said it was important to her for any new clinic in rural Augusta County to be financially sound to avoid turnover and provide patients with consistent, stable care. Landauer will see patients ranging in age from infants to senior citizens.

Landauer said she saw many of her former patients from Craigsville at the Churchville clinic's grand opening Saturday.

"I've always felt there was a need for medical care in west Augusta," she said.

She said the hospital's ownership means she doesn't have to deal with the business side of the clinic and can focus on what she loves.

"I've always been more of a worker bee," she said. "I like to be available, and I like to get to know people while having the resources to meet all of my patients' needs."

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