Physician returning to native Norway

October 26, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Dr. Jon Matre, one of the seven Norwegian physicians hired to replace specialists forced out of the area by rising malpractice insurance premiums, said he is going home to Norway.

Matre, a gastroenterologist, came to Waynesboro a year ago.

He said Monday he's returning home so his wife, Solrun, can resume her career as a lawyer. "It was difficult for her to get a job here as an attorney," he said.

Matre said he will return to his old position in a Norwegian hospital.

He works with Arne Roseth, another gastroenterologist.

Roseth came to Waynesboro about one week before Matre arrived.

Three of the other five Norwegian physicians who moved to the area are Stein Sletten, Henrik Hofgaard and Arnie Tysland. They will share office space in a new building under construction across East Main Street from Waynesboro Hospital.


The other two are Arnfinn Nanbjor and Jan Solli, both cardiologists. Nanbjor works at Waynesboro Hospital in association with Dr. Rose Dagen. Solli works at the Franklin County Heart Center owned by Keystone Health Center in Chambersburg, Pa.

The Norwegians brought their families with them. Their children attend local schools.

They said that were lured here by better pay and the challenge offered by a new and different environment.

Matre comes from Kristiansand, a city in Norway. He said he enjoyed the slower, low-keyed pace that a small rural community like Waynesboro offers. "I'm used to a large city," he said.

He said he will miss the professional and personal friends he made in Waynesboro.

Kenneth Shur, vice president and chief operating officer at Waynesboro Hospital, said the hospital is seeking a replacement for Matre. "We're looking for qualified physicians wherever we can find them," Shur said.

The Norwegians were recruited to replace specialists from nearby Maryland who had office hours in Waynesboro. A substantial number of them chose not to work here. Not only were they being hit with rising malpractice insurance premiums in Maryland, but they were being made to pay an insurance surcharge to work in Pennsylvania, Shur said.

"Summit Health (owner of Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals) stepped in to cover the countywide shortage of specialists," Shur said.

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