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By ALAINA BARTEL
Daily News Staff Writer
KETCHIKAN — Dr. Karl Richey, of Ketchikan, will be shifting from a career in emergency medicine and joining Creekside Family Health Clinic as an outpatient physician.
As an avid jazz musician, performer and local cabaret owner, changing up the tempo is not something new for Dr. Richey. In his new change in rhythm, he’ll complement the existing team of four family nurse practitioners to provide acute and basic primary care to children, adolescents and adults.
Dr. Richey is well known in town as an emergency room physician at Peacehealth Medical Center from 1990 to 2016. Most recently he worked as a physician at the Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Health Clinic and is still employed by the State of Alaska Department of Corrections providing health care services at the local jail.
His new position at Creekside in many ways is a change in careers from his more than 30 years in emergency room medicine.
“I’ve been an ER doc nearly my entire professional life managing people’s health care in a very episodic, short-term way,” Dr. Richey said. “I think it’s a great thing at this point in my career to pull back a little and get to be someone’s regular doctor, getting to know my patients more personally.”
Although emergency medicine has been his calling over the years, there are a few things that he looks forward to.
“Being more my own boss is certainly a great thing and the flexibility that goes along with it. And I got to tell you, I’m not going to miss the 24-hour shifts much,” he said with a smile. “The best thing though will be the opportunity to spend more time with my patients. I really like Creekside’s pace and the extra time they allow me to do my job; it really attracted me to the practice for sure.”
The Creekside team is looking forward to working with him. Marina McIntyre, nurse practitioner and clinic partner, has worked with Dr. Richey in several roles before.
“It’s great. We’ve come full circle,” McIntyre said. “Years ago I worked with him in the ER early in my nursing career. Most recently, we worked together at KIC in the primary health clinic. It’s a real privilege to be working with him again.”
The additional medical staff also helps support part of Creekside’s mission to provide quick access to health care for minor and routine needs.
“Often people have medical problems or health issues that are not emergencies but need to be addressed sooner rather than later,” Lani Hill, nurse practitioner and clinic partner, said. “Adding Dr. Richey to our team really helps us continue providing quick access to health care that is both comprehensive and patient driven. Dr. Richey really takes the time to know his patients, which is the foundation for providing health care.”
Creekside Family Health Clinic is in the Mary Frances Building.