Hahn plans to open Hancock practice

May 18, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HANCOCK -- Dr. Matthew Hahn is planning to open a medical practice in Hancock in July, about 14 months after leaving town in the wake of a dispute with Tri-State Community Health Center, where he worked.

Hahn has been practicing at Shenandoah Community Health's center in Winchester, Va.

He said he had a one-year "no-compete" clause when he left Tri-State and is glad to get back to Hancock. The one-year period ends today.

His partner in the practice will be Dr. Marilyn Nelson, who is leaving Tri-State's Cumberland, Md., office after two years.

Nelson came to Western Maryland in 2007 after 26 years of practicing medicine in Vermont.

Nelson said she hit it off with Dr. Hahn when he was Tri-State's medical director. She liked his attitude and his personal way of dealing with patients.

Hahn and Nelson Family Medicine will be what Hahn described as a micropractice -- the doctors will have fewer patients and spend more time with them.


"I just resent the practice of medicine being turned into how many cogs you can see in an hour," Nelson said.

Hahn also is part of a start-up business that created an electronic medical record system; the goal is better care through a system that checks a doctor's work.

Hahn and Nelson Family Medicine will be one of the test sites for the system, which is called Oxbow EMR.

The new practice is expected to open July 6 at 131 N. Pennsylvania Ave., not far from Tri-State's office.

Tri-State dismissed Hahn from his job as medical director on April 30, 2008, his attorney has said.

Board members of the nonprofit Tri-State Community Health Center didn't publicly say why Hahn was dismissed. Hahn said it was because he forwarded a complaint from other employees about problems with turnover, inefficiency, leadership and a lack of respect for the staff.

Leslie Colbrese was Tri-State's executive director at the time, but no longer is.

Asked recently about Hahn's return to Hancock, Sheila DeShong, Tri-State's interim executive director, said, "Tri-State is here to serve the needs of our community and we'll continue to do that."

Hahn said he gradually came to his decision to return to Hancock.

"I've always thought that when something bad (happens), you try to make the best of it," he said.

Nelson practiced in the Montpelier, Vt., area from 1981 to 2007. She said it was hard for her and her husband to leave, but the winters were long and Cumberland was more central to be among relatives split between the Northeast and the South.

Nelson said she likes Western Maryland for its mountains and similar feel. She's also drawn to small-town life, which, for a doctor, means seeing patients in the grocery store and other points around town.

"I'm just very excited to be able to focus on people," she said. "I think that's what family medicine is about."

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