MU Health Care's Smiley Lane clinic temporarily closed

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 | 1:24 p.m. CST; updated 9:27 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 5, 2011

COLUMBIA — MU Health System's Smiley Lane clinic will be temporarily closed because of water damage that occurred on New Year's Eve. 

While the clinic is being repaired, physicians are seeing their regular patients at other locations. The family physicians will be at the Green Meadows and Keene Street clinics, and the obstetricians and gynecologists will be at the MU Women's and Children's Hospital. 

David Mountjoy, director of clinic operations, said the water damage occurred when a pipe fitting that was connected to an expansion tank failed.

"Water shot across the room in a horizontal fashion," Mountjoy said. "It ran for basically all day on Friday."

Because the office was closed for New Year's Eve, nobody was there to discover the water until late that night. There was about 2 inches of standing water on the floor of the clinic by the time the leak was noticed, Mountjoy said.

The water caused significant damage to the clinic. Mountjoy said the carpet and cabinetry throughout the clinic have been removed and are being replaced. The lower 24 inches of Sheetrock walls will also need to be replaced and repainted. 

"That type of thing can grow mold," he said. "We're very sensitive to that in our clinics."

Some electronics were also damaged in the clinic. Mountjoy said five electronic foot pedals for exam tables and floor scales will need to be replaced, and 27 computer hard drives are undergoing data recovery. The data is mostly physicians' personal work — the medical records are stored off-site and were not damaged.

Mountjoy said he hopes most of the cost will be covered by insurance, but he anticipates there will be some out-of-pocket expenses.

The Smiley Lane clinic sees 70 to 80 patients a day, and Mountjoy said the transition to other clinics has been smooth. Only a few patients needed to be rescheduled, and no appointments have been canceled. The staff has been calling each patient individually to inform them of the new locations and give them specific directions to the clinics. 

"Even though it occurred at the worst possible time, we really got a great response from the community and the university," Mountjoy said. "I'm still a bit surprised about that response."

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