Press-Republican

March 24, 2013

Plattsburgh Pediatrics adds second office

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh Pediatrics now offers care at two offices in the City of Platsburgh.

Dr. Harold Chaskey and Dr. Clark Knutson acquired the former Rainbow Pediatrics office at 459 Margaret St. in January, and continue to provide service at their 151 Bridge St. office as well.

Dr. David Cohen of Rainbow Pediatrics announced in October that he planned to retire effective Jan. 1. That led to extensive discussions between Chaskey and Knutson on how to handle the number of families who would need to choose a new pediatrician.

“We felt the need to step up as community servants and make this work,” Knutson said.

Any of the Rainbow Pediatrics patients were free to choose one of the three pediatric practices in the area - Plattsburgh Pediatrics, Mountain View Pediatrics or Plattsburgh Primary Care Pediatrics.

“Most stayed with us here,” Chaskey said.

An increase in staff, including a number of North Country natives, helped meet the crunch. Dr. Katherine Sullivan, a Peru High School graduate, had recently finished  her pediatrics training and expressed interest in a return to the North Country.

Danielle Baker, a registered physician assistant-certified, had expressed an interest in going from part-time to full-time. A second RPA-C, Kelley Meyer, was working in Albany. She is a Plattsburgh High School graduate who wanted to return to the area.

Family Nurse Practitioner Laurie Eamer is a Peru High School graduate. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Martha Passino is an AuSable High School graduate.

Dr. Sobia Qudsi, who provided care at Rainbow Pediatrics, said she would like to stay on after Dr. Cohen’s retirement.

Chaskey said the administrative team performed admirably in making it a smooth transition. In addition, all of the medical providers gave up their days off for the month of January.

“All of this has worked out very well to meet the needs of our pediatric patients,” Chaskey said.

The partners like to say they offer care from pre-natal stage through the end of college. 

“We encourage moms to come in for pre-natal visits,” Chaskey said.

Knutson said they encourage prospective patients to visit all three local practices before choosing a provider. 

Chaskey was originally from Plattsburgh. He returned to the area and joined the pediatric practice of Dr. John Tanner and Dr. Frank Ryan in 1985.

In 1996, Chaskey decided to start his own practice, Plattsburgh Pediatrics. He rented space at the CVPH Medical Complex in 1998 and later opened the Bridge Street office.

Knutson came to Plattsburgh as the Hospital Commander at Plattsburgh Air Force Base in 1989. After stops at other installations, he returned to Plattsburgh and then joined Plattsburgh Pediatrics in 1999.

Knutson said community involvement is a big part of the philosophy at the practice. The staff are involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations.

They also hold a charitable luncheon once a month. Employees can participate in a dress-down day for $5, with proceeds donated to a different charity. 

The practice is affiliated with CVPH Medical Center through its pediatric floor and the Center for Women and Children.

Plattsburgh Pediatrics is a participant in the Adirondack Regional Medical Home initiative. The program focuses on a preventative rather than a reactionary approach to health care.

For pediatricians, that includes a focus on issues such as obesity and asthma. Knutson said they prefer to see patients in the pediatric office rather than the emergency room.

He said all of the nurses there are trained in pediatrics, and are well-versed in dealing with parents and children.

“We think better care is delivered by that teamwork,” he said.

The partners encourage people to have a yearly check-up. For younger patients, that can avoid a  last-minute appointment to get medical clearance to participate in sports. 

Plattsburgh Pediatrics has about 30 full- and part-time employees and is accepting new patients. The office is open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

A pediatrician from one of the three pediatric practices is on call 24 hours a day, a partnership that is entering its third year.

The practice takes most forms of medical insurance.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com