Cottage clinic ends contract with doctors; filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 3

Tom Martin
Galesburg Register-Mail
Galesburg Cottage Hospital

GALESBURG — Doctors Mark Davis, Tom Patterson, Craig Wilson and possibly two others were let go from Cottage clinics Thursday. All five are surgeons.

While Cottage would not respond to questions specifically about the doctors, The Register-Mail obtained a copy of the contract termination letter sent to one of the five doctors that sources say were let go. 

More:Galesburg Cottage clinic to file for bankruptcy; intends to remain open through process

Dr. Mark Davis

Davis, a general surgeon, confirmed he was leaving Cottage in a Facebook post, and Wilson and Patterson confirmed the termination Friday with The Register-Mail. Wilson is an orthopedic surgeon and Patterson is a urologist.

Sources say Greg Schierer and Michael Scherer also received termination letters. The Register-Mail has not yet confirmed that with those two doctors. 

"Knox Clinic will be filing a motion to reject your employment contract," the letter from Cottage CEO Sanjay Sharma said."Please note that you are not authorized to perform any services for Knox Clinic post-petition, and pursuant to section 5.4(d) of your employment contract, due to the bankruptcy filing, the employment contract is terminated."

More:What's next for Cottage Hospital? Can the longtime hospital stay open without Medicare, Medicaid funding?

The letter, dated Jan. 6, concludes: "Thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely, Knox Clinic Corporation, Sanjay Sharma."

Dr. Craig Wilson

The letter asks the doctor if he is aware that Knox Clinic Corp. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 3.

"I have been taking care of patients at Cottage for over 25 years. Today breaks my heart," Mark Davis posted on his Facebook page. 

In the Facebook post, Davis thanked staff and then wrote: "I write this with sadness in my heart for the loss of such talented employees and the impact to our community. It('s) so surreal. I have lots to say but will leave it as a simple: thanks to the patients who trusted me, thanks to the staff who supported me, and thanks to my family who has to endure my hours of being away and being on call. I love you all."

Dr. Thomas Patterson

Patterson, who was in his 40th year at the clinic, confirmed his contract was terminated. He texted, "Terminated by email. Only surgeons fired yesterday. Another door will open."

Wilson has been with the clinic since Aug. 10, 2020.

Courtney Bibo, Cottage Hospital director of community and staff relations, sent this statement on behalf of the clinic: "The hospital is working with attorneys and regulators to explore all options."

The message reminds the community that the clinic still has a women's health practice and family practice.

Former Cottage CEO Bob Moore said losing these surgeons will be a hardship for the community. 

"It’s a travesty. It shouldn’t have happened," he said. 

Moore, who was CEO from August 2019 to June 2020, is currently interim CEO at DeKalb Regional Medical Center in Fort Payne, Alabama. He also has his own consulting firm, Moore Healthcare Consulting LLC.

Moore said each of the doctors being terminated will be a loss. 

"They’ve provided such great care in that community."

Moore said he recruited Wilson, who is from Galesburg, and has a long career ahead of him.

"I hope he stays," Moore said. "They (Wilson's family) chose that community to come back there and serve. That’s a blow for the community. He would have been there many more years."

He said Davis is an exceptional physician and general surgeon. You don’t find that in a lot of rural areas," Moore said.  

Cottage Hospital, which is connected to the clinic, lost accreditation in December and was informed it will lose Medicare and Medicaid payments for patients.

News of the hospital losing accreditation and Medicare and Medicaid payments broke Dec. 28. Since that time, neither Sharma nor Bibo has responded to questions from the media about what losing those payments means for the hospital. Medicare and Medicaid payments represented 72% of the hospital's net inpatient and outpatient revenue in 2020. Payments for Medicare and Medicaid patients at Cottage Hospital will continue for patients admitted before Jan. 15.