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CARD clinic opts to stay near St. John¹s

| January 18, 2005 11:00 PM

The Center for Asbestos Related Disease has entered into a lease-purchase agreement on a building along East Third Street with plans to move in around the beginning of April.

Currently located in the old Prompt Care building across Louisiana Avenue from St. John¹s Lutheran Hospital, the CARD was looking for room to expand last year when it bought the building along Cedar Street that once housed Dr. Roger Brus¹ clinic. Even after buying that building, though, the CARD board kept looking for a way to stay within the medical corridor near the hospital, said board vice president LeRoy Thom.

³That¹s always been our intent,² Thom said.

When the building currently occupied by Dr. Terry Patrick¹s eye care center became available, the board and CARD staff members agreed that it was a perfect match, Thom said.

³It works for everybody,² he said.

Patrick will be moving his office to a different location in Libby, Thom said. The CARD will be making some minor remodeling changes to the building and will be using both the upper floor, which currently houses the eye clinic, and the lower floor, which includes two apartments.

The new building has three to four times as much space as is available in the CARD¹s current location and is bigger even than the former Brus clinic along Cedar Street, Thom said. The CARD will be keeping that building for the time being and already has a renter for a portion of it, Thom said.

Changes at the CARD include the recent addition of pulmonologist Dr. Alan Whitehouse to the staff and an ongoing project to develop an asbestos research center

Whitehouse formerly practiced in the Spokane area and has treated more than 500 people for diseases related to exposure to Libby asbestos

In November, the Libby City Council approved a $250,000 grant to help the CARD with the research project. The CARD is using the funds to establish a database, website, library and tissue bank to facilitate research into asbestos-related disease. The money represents about a third of what is expected to be needed to complete the project.

The model for the center, which was developed during two conferences held in Libby, calls for the CARD to continue providing health care to patients while contracting with researchers around the country or around the world. Proposals for research projects would be reviewed by a panel made up of participants in the conferences.