Vineyard Medical Care increases medical staff

Three familiar names have been added to the walk-in clinic’s medical roster.

The Vineyard Medical Care building is over 100 years old.

Vineyard Medical Care (VMC), a primary and walk-in care clinic on State Road, across from Cronig’s Market in Vineyard Haven, announced Tuesday the addition of three new medical staff members as part of a planned first phase of expansion.

The names will be familiar to those familiar with the history of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, where all three were once employed.

Dr. Timothy Tsai will be adding his skills in emergency medicine to VMC’s walk-in appointment services, VMC Director of Medical Operations Lena Prisco said in a press release.

In 2004, Dr. Tsai was named director of the hospital emergency services department. In May 2010 the hospital announced his departure.

Dr. Tsai, a West Tisbury resident, now works at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Ms. Prisco said VMC reached out to Dr. Tsai after learning that he wanted to practice on the Island. He will provide medical care on a part-time basis, Ms. Prisco said.

Dr. Kathleen Koehler, who is now certified in internal medicine, will provide full-time primary care services.

In 2002, Dr. Koehler was a highly respected gastroenterologist and member of the hospital board in private practice when she and her then husband, surgeon Dr. Richard Koehler, departed the Island after a highly publicized dispute with the hospital administration.

Dr. Kathleen Koehler most recently practiced in Barnstable, where she was affiliated with Cape Cod Hospital. In December 2012, Yarmouth police arrested her for operating under the influence of alcohol, the Cape Cod Times reported last November. And in March 2013 she performed a colonoscopy procedure while impaired by alcohol.

Following a disciplinary suspension for alcohol abuse by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, in November she was allowed to practice medicine while under supervision.

Michael Loberg, owner of VMC, said the medical center is pleased to welcome Dr. Kohler back to the Island as a friend and caregiver in an environment that is conducive to her practice.

Dr. James Butterick, a former member of the hospital administration and consultant to the hospital during its tumultuous period of transition in the early ’90s, will assume the administrative role of VMC’s chief medical officer, effective immediately.

“Dr. Butterick will oversee medical quality assurance and provide additional organizational guidance as VMC continues its growth,” Ms. Prisco said. Dr. Butterick was most recently chief medical officer for the Cape Cod Healthcare System,which includes Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital.

The addition of Dr. Butterick will allow Dr. Gerald Yukevich to shed his administrative duties as chief medical officer and return to full-time primary care.

“With these additions to our staff, the first phase of VMC’s expansion plan is complete,” Ms. Prisco said.

Asked how the new staff members will fit into a building of limited size, Ms. Prisco said complementary staff hours are staggered over longer days. There is also discussion about expanding the building, or adding another building on site.

In addition to providing medical care, VMC is actively engaged in research.

Ms. Prisco, who holds a master’s degree and doctorate in pharmacology and was formerly director of the hospital lab, said VMC has also launched the Vineyard Center for Clinical Research, “dedicated to developing new laboratory tests and new clinical procedures for diseases prevalent on our Island. Three clinical trials focused on Lyme disease are now underway.”

Last fall, Mr. Loberg, a retired scientist and chairman of the Tisbury board of health, purchased Vineyard Medical Services (VMS), a well-known primary and walk-in care clinic established in 1976 by Dr. Michael Jacobs. Mr. Loberg changed the name to Vineyard Medical Center and announced an ambitious public health agenda that included a focus on tickborne diseases.

Dr. Yukevich of Vineyard Haven, who had been on the VMS primary care staff for about seven years, was named the new medical director of VMC.

For more information, call VMC at 508-693-4400.