Family-operated walk-in clinic new to area

Thursday, September 12, 2002

By Jill Bock

Special to Business Today

SIKESTON - The mother comforted the youngster, drying his tears and offering reassurance as they waited for the doctor. A fall from the backyard swingset had left him bruised and her worried of the possibility of a broken bone.

With her pediatrician out of the office, she had stopped at Sikeston's newest clinic, Sikeston Urgent Care at 422 N. Main St., Suite B.

A short time later, mother and son left smiling. The news was good all around -- the X-ray showed no bones were broken and the little boy was assured he was brave and soon would be back swinging on his favorite swing.

The youngster and his possible broken bone are just one of a long list of emergencies Dr. Alwin Kluttz will see during a typical day. There will be a patient complaining of an ear ache, one seeking relief from allergies while another is worried about a pain developed while lifting a box at work.

That, said Kluttz, is exactly what his clinic is designed to do, provide acute care for those in need.

"Our goal is to get a patient in and out in 30 minutes," said Kluttz.

While meeting the needs of families, Sikeston Urgent Care is also a family business. Carolyn Kluttz, the doctor's wife, is a registered nurse on staff and serves as office manager. Their daughter, Chereka, is filling in this summer as their receptionist, and the father notes she is also planning a career in emergency medicine.

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his undergraduate and medical degrees, Kluttz completed a family practice residency in North Carolina. In practice since 1984, he added to his medical experience through an office medical practice and work as an emergency room physician.

While working in St. Louis he became familiar with Sikeston. Kluttz joined the emergency room staff at Missouri Delta Medical Center, working part-time while also working in St. Louis.

"That gave me an opportunity to meet with area physicians and residents. When we decided we wanted to move we knew we liked Southeast Missouri," explained Kluttz.

First moving his medical practice to Cape Girardeau, Kluttz continued to serve in the emergency room in area hospitals and to look at the medical needs of his new home.

When a friend began offering emergency walk-in medical service, Kluttz said he saw a similar need locally. He opened his new office in February.

"Missouri Delta Medical Center is very busy, pulling in patients from a large area. I thought if I could just get the emergency room overflow, then the business would do well," he said.

Some of his patients have a regular physician, others don't.

"A lot of people we see don't have a regular physician. We just tune them up when they are out of tune," he quipped.

Kluttz often fills in for a regular doctor who is gone, providing a refill for a prescription or advice if there is a medical reaction or other problem. He encourages patients to follow up with an appointment with their regular doctors.

Also he emphasizes he and the staff at Sikeston Urgent Care work closely with the local emergency room. For example, a patient with heart attack symptoms would be stabilized, a doctor notified, then the patient moved to the hospital for further care.

"We kind of help each other. I don't see myself as in competition with Missouri Delta, rather we are working together," said Kluttz.

Sikeston Urgent Care's facilities include a waiting area, laboratory, X-ray room, a minor trauma room, four exam rooms, billing area, kitchen and two offices. They have machines to track pulmonary function and can do an EKG.

While much of the work is acute care for adults and children, Sikeston Urgent Care also offers sports injury care and workman's comp care. Kluttz is considering adding health screening programs sometime in the future.

Jill Bock is editor of the Standard Democrat in Sikeston.

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