Northport’s Only Medical Clinic Closing
Northport’s one and only family medical provider is closing its doors.
Physician’s assistant Jason Ziter announced the closing and his decision to move his wife and 8-month-old child to Naples, Florida earlier this month.
Ziter says rural medicine was challenging and he struggled to keep his doors open.
“Electronic medicine has made it very difficult for practitioners to run rural clinics, so there’s a lot of paperwork involved,” “I was the office manager, the nurse, the tech, part of the secretary and the provider. I did a lot of stuff that is normally covered by other healthcare professionals.”
The clinic leaves behind a community who depended on it.
“It’s definitely going to be tough for the town,” said Tara Stoffel, of Northport. “If there’s anyone in town who doesn’t have transportation, I feel really bad because their only option has been taken away.”
Donna Chapman, of Northport, visited the Northport Medical Clinic when it was run by Ziter’s father, Dr. Michael Ziter. In recent years, she switched to an internist in Traverse City for more specialized care.
She also says Jason Ziter’s hours were too limited in Northport.
“For someone that works, they would close at 2 in the afternoon and they weren’t there on Friday, so that was part of the problem, too, was the availability,” said Chapman.
This isn’t the first time a medical center has shut its doors in Northport. Leelanau Memorial Hospital closed in 2004.
“So many people were going down to Traverse City for care they couldn’t keep that hospital open,” said Chapman. “That’s just small-town. It’s hard to make a go here.”
Ziter leaves behind more than 700 patients plus walk-ins who needed helped for issues that popped up.
“30 to 40% of the folks [who came in] were not my primary care patients, they just came in when they had a cold,” said Ziter. “Even with all of that I had done, it just wasn’t enough to keep that afloat.”
Ziter is referring his patients to Dr. Michelle MacDonald at the Crystal Lake Health Center in Suttons Bay. Others will be able to transfer to Traverse City.
Ziter wants his patients to come in and get their medical records before he shuts his doors on July 10.