United Hospital District's search for a new doctor is back to square one.
UHD administrator Jeff Lang says Dr. Edward Mauch of Duluth has turned down their offer.
Lang received the news on Wednesday from a Dallas-based recruiter hired to help the district in its search for a family medicine practioneer.
"This is normal for physician recruiting. The practice, location and a lot of things have to be right," he says.
On Tuesday, Lang was cautiously optimistic that Mauch might sign a contract.
He informed the board of directors during their meeting that a contract had been e-mailed to Mauch a couple of weeks ago.
Despite not hearing from Mauch, Lang says he wasn't concerned because the doctor has a busy residency schedule.
"We have a lot of things going for us," he told the board.
In the past, UHD officials have said another doctor is needed due to the increase in the number of patients at the new clinic.
Currently, the UHD clinic in Blue Earth employs four family medicine doctors and a general surgeon. An orthopedic and ear, nose and throat specialist also provide services.
UHD officials have said in the past they hope to hire a family practice physician trained in performing C-sections.
Dr. Stuart Sherry, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, continues to remain on a leave of absence.
Sherry did not return a call from the Register to comment about his future employment status.
Lang would only say that Sherry is still an employee of the district.
Sherry's patients are being told to schedule medical appointments with a doctor of their choice.
Although Mauch's decision isn't what UHD?officials wanted to hear, that hasn't slowed or affected recruitment efforts.
"We've had some activity the last couple of days. We did a phone interview today," Lang told the Register Thursday morning.
"We'll continue our search until we have a contract that's signed. We're recruiting for someone who is going to stay in the community long-term. It has to be a right fit for everyone," he adds.