By Chad Lawhorn
The longtime director of Lawrence’s Health Care Access is leaving in early February.
Brian Iverson, the president of the non-profit organization that provides health care to the uninsured, said a search committee has been formed to find a replacement for Nikki White, who is resigning after 14 years on the job.
“That’s going to be a big chore,” Iverson said. “She has been a substantial part of the organization for so long.”
Iverson said White notified the board that she would step down as the organization’s leader on Feb. 1. White on Friday said her decision had been several months in the making.
“A couple of years ago I decided to start thinking about an exit,” White said. “I think it is important for an organization to have fresh eyes and never be too dependent on one person. And the clinic is in the best shape it has ever been in, so the timing is right.”
Iverson said a search committee has been formed and he expects to have a new director hired prior to White’s departure on Feb. 1.
“It is a demanding, demanding job,” Iverson said of the position, which oversees operations and fundraising for the organization.
Health Care Access is on track this year to provide more than 10,000 appointments to about 3,000 people who don’t have health insurance. Since its inception in 1988, the clinic has served more than 15,000 people.
The clinic in 2010 moved into new space at 330 Maine Street — across the street from Lawrence Memorial Hospital — and was able to double the size of its staff; patient visits are up about 250 percent.
“I know I’m going to miss working with my colleagues in the health and social service world, but probably the biggest emotion I’ve had throughout all of this is pride,” White said. “Moving into the new location probably was the biggest decision the agency has ever made.”
White said she believes the organization’s services will still be in demand even after health care reform is implemented.
“Our mission has stayed the same over the years: To treat those with no insurance and to not compete with the private sector for those who have any type of coverage,” White said. “We don’t know the rest of the reform story in Kansas yet until Gov. Brownback announces whether there will be Medicaid expansion. But either way, there will still be people who are uninsured.”
White said she plans to stay in the Lawrence area, but does not have any immediate career plans.
“I have a 6-year old and 8-year old who are looking forward to being able to spend more time with their mom,” White said.
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