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Dermatology clinic to open this spring

Posted: February 9, 2011 - 5:58am

A pair of medical professionals are teaming up to bring a medical specialty to Juneau. Kris Miller of Haines and Troy Richey of Springfield, Ore. are opening a new dermatology practice this spring.

The team has leased space at 3225 Hospital Dr. to open Alpine Dermatology this spring. They agree dermatology is an underserved area in Juneau, a notion that helped trigger the idea for Miller.

“Currently people with urgent or pressing skin care needs have to travel, like to Seattle or Anchorage, and now services will be available here,” he said.

The plan is for the clinic to open as needed. Miller said they are currently looking at about 10 days a month. He’s hopeful the clinic will be open in mid-March.

Miller, a physician’s assistant, and Richey, a dermatologist, felt this was an area that is needed in Juneau and began working on the plans when both were in Oregon. Miller said he knew there was a shortage of dermatology in Southeast Alaska and wanted to offer more here.

“We noted that there was a deficiency of dermatological opportunities for patients for care there,” Richey said.

“In essence, we’re offering general dermatology from skin care to acne to rashes,” said Miller.

Alpine Dermatology will also aid in some more advanced cases, which is where Richey comes in. Miller will man the office during those days while Richey flies here intermittently for more advanced cases and procedures.

Both Miller and Richey gave an example of Mohs surgery as one of those cases that Richey would travel here to cover. Mohs is a very precise technique to remove smaller amounts of skin for cancer treatments. Miller said it is used when skin needs to be removed from a high functioning area, such as the face. It removes as little skin as possible to preserve structure and function.

Richey said he would be the only one there to perform such procedures. He added Mohs differs from other surgeries in that results are found almost immediately, so is done on an outpatient basis.

“It’s the best way to take away all of the cancer without taking away any more of the normal skin than you have to,” Richey said.

The use of Web-based electronic medical records will allow them to share patient information immediately while they are in separate states and allow more immediate decisions if Richey’s expertise is required more urgently.

The team intends for the clinic to accept insurance and Medicare.

Miller has been in health care for more than 20 years and been practicing dermatology in Oregon since 2001. He started out as an emergency medical technician and went on to become a registered nurse and then physician’s assistant. He holds a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Utah.

Richey finished his residency in 1995 and now works at the Dermatology Clinic of Springfield. He is certified by the American Board of Dermatology.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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