Two specialists leaving Wilcox to pursue private practice

Wilcox Health (Wilcox Memorial Hospital and Kauai Medical Clinic) will be losing two specialists by the end of the year.

They are leaving to establish private practices, and seemingly with the blessings of Wilcox Health.

Dr. Ken Pierce, chief medical officer at Kauai Medical Clinic (KMC), confirmed Wednesday that Dr. Niraj Desai, nephrologist and specialist in kidney disease, will be resigning from KMC at the end of December to open his private practice, Kidney Care of Hawaii, which will be located at Dynasty Court in Lihu’e.

Former Wilcox Health physician Dr. Craig Netzer also has a private practice at Dynasty Court.

Desai said he expects to begin seeing patients at this new location beginning Jan. 16 and, until then, will continue to see patients at KMC.

In a notification letter to his patients, Desai wrote, “I am so thankful to the administrators of Kauai Medical Clinic for supporting this change.

“It has been a dream of mine for many years to have my own office, and there is no better place than Kaua’i to do so. This will truly be a ‘Mom-and-Pop’ operation,” he said.

“My wife will manage the office as I manage the medical issues. We are both very excited.”

Dr. Tad Jackson, a pulmonologist, or lung specialist, will also be leaving KMC near the end of January, 2006.

According to Pierce, Jackson said he is currently negotiating to purchase Dr. Gary Plowman’s office space on ‘Elua Street in Lihu’e. Jackson said he plans to stay on Kaua’i, and will share information with his patients as matters develop. He will also continue to see patients at KMC.

“Patient access to health care is a core mission of our organization,” said Pierce. “We are pleased that both Dr. Desai and Dr. Jackson will be developing their private practices on Kaua’i so their patients will continue to have access to their specialty care.”

Also set to depart by the middle of this month is recruitment officer Missy Keyes-Saiki, who will be taking over recruitment for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital at the West Kauai Medical Center and Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital.

Keyes-Saiki declined comment for this report.

Wilcox Health Public Information Officer Lani Yukimura said Helene Oyama will take over as the new coordinator of physician recruitment.

According to Pierce, Oyama has more than 25 years of professional experience with Kauai Medical Clinic, and during her tenure has supervised different departments at the clinic, including supervision of physician recruitment.

Pierce addressed the physician-departure issue.

“In the past six years, Kauai Medical Clinic has recruited more than 50 physicians and several midlevel providers for our clinic,” Pierce said.

“Although this may seem like a high number, it’s important to understand that in health care, and especially for a small island community like Kaua’i, the clinic’s average turnover rate of 10 to 15 percent puts us right in synch with national trends.”

Pierce said physician recruitment for all health-care providers is an on-going and sometimes difficult task, especially for administrators in smaller communities such as Kaua’i. He said KMC leaders have been fortunate that many physicians recruited to Kaua’i have stayed to become long-term residents of the island.

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