Burlington Area Family Practice Center marks 25th anniversary

Burlington Area Family Practice Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary the week of Aug. 16. The clinic that began with four physicians now has 14 board-certified or board-eligible family practice physicians, three board-certified family nurse practitioners, two board-certified physician assistants, a licensed clinical psychologist and a licensed mental-health counselor.

Burlington Area Family Practice Center was the first building on Great River Health Systems’ campus. Its story began when a 1988 study showed an immediate need for family physicians in the Burlington area. Six physicians had left the community and four were set to retire. Access to primary care was in critical condition.

Primary-care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are the first contacts and principle points of continuing care for patients in a health care system. They provide diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses, health maintenance, patient education, counseling and health promotion, and they coordinate care with other specialists as needed.

Gary Mansheim, M.D., was the only family physician in Burlington when he approached Great River Health administrators about forming a family physician group practice.

“My goal was to create a team of physicians who would provide high-quality, cost-effective and compassionate medical care in a sophisticated office,” he said. “We have achieved more than I dreamed.”

James McCabe, M.D., a New London, Iowa, native who had been practicing in northwest Iowa, was the first to join him. By the time the new clinic opened, Thomas Boyd, D.O., and David Carlson, M.D., had joined the group after finishing their residencies.

Dr. Mansheim worked with the health system and architects to develop a plan for a building for six health care providers. The building grew as the number of primary-care providers increased. In 2008, both ends of the building were expanded. Between 1998 and 2012, the lower level was remodeled to add examination rooms.

In 25 years, Burlington Area Family Practice Center has cared for 135,000 patients. They have had nearly 1.5 million clinic visits, 1.6 million laboratory tests and about 95,000 X-rays.

This summer, four new providers have joined its staff to help meet the community’s need for primary-care providers. Three of the four providers work at the new Great River Family Practice Clinic.

“We are proud to have contributed to the Burlington area’s quality of life,” Mansheim said. “Our patients have been kind, understanding and grateful. The community has supported our growth and we have, in turn, provided the best service possible.”