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Paynesville Press - September 4, 2002

Dr. Sult to leave practice at Integrated Health Clinic

By Michael Jacobson

Dr. Tom Sult a nationally-known speaker on alternative medicine and the driving force behind Paynesville Area Health Care System's Integrated Health Center has resigned from the Paynesville Medical Group and will be leaving PAHCS. His resignation becomes official on Monday, Sept. 9, meaning his last clinic day will be Friday.

Sult resigned from the medical group in July. PAHCS had offered to lease Sult the Integrated Health Clinic building, but Sult plans to go back to private practice. He said he will join IntegraCare Clinic in Sartell, a private practice that specializes in integrated medicine.

PAHCS CEO Willie LaCroix and hospital board member Don Anderson reported to the hospital board last week that they had been working with Dr. Sult and the other members of the Paynesville Medical Group for more than a year. LaCroix categorized the dispute as "partner issues."

"We're certainly going to miss what he brought to the organization," said LaCroix of Dr. Sult. "He brought a lot of innovation."

Dr. Sult grew up in California, graduated from medical school at UCLA, and practiced medicine in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., before joining PAHCS in October 1994. (His wife is originally from New London, where they plan to continue to live.)

He brought with him an interest in alternative medicine, including nutrition and acupuncture. He used a holistic approach to medicine and integrated what he called scientific-based alternative treatments to more standard medicine.

Originally, he practiced at the Paynesville Area Medical Clinic and at the Belgrade Area Medical Clinic. In 1999, PAHCS bought another clinic building in Paynesville and started the Integrated Health Center, where Sult practiced.

Sult speaks nationally on integrated medicine, and the IHC was featured on WCCO-TV and, most recently, in the St. Cloud Times.

He will be the second doctor to leave the medical group within the past 16 months. Dr. Clemma Nash came to Paynesville in September 2000, also practiced at the IHC, and left PAHCS and the medical group in May 2001.

Once Sult resigned from the medical group, PAHCS looked at keeping him in Paynesville by leasing him the IHC building. At one time, they were talking about a more attractive lease for Sult, but this was not possible for legal reasons, said LaCroix. Public institutions, he noted, are restricted to what they can do for a private business.

In the end, all PAHCS could offer was a lease at market value of the building, which Sult has indicated he will not accept.

LaCroix said it is unfortunate for the community that Sult is going to leave PAHCS.

Without him, PAHCS may look at using the IHC building for dialysis, said LaCroix, which was indicated by a recent study as a high-priority need, but something for which there has been no space.

PAHCS also will likely speed up its recruiting efforts, said LaCroix. Sult thanked the community of Paynesville, PAHCS administration, and the hospital board for eight years of support.

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