Dr. Pamela Letts, owner of the Centre Shops Family Practice and Urgent Care, plans to retire at the end of the season.
“Right now, I can’t be specific about it,” said Letts, who said she is “flexible and negotiable” about her actual retirement date.
Meanwhile, Dr. Laura Balda, a board-certified primary care physician, is visiting the Key to explore the possibility of opening a practice.
Mayor Jim Brown, Letts, Longboat Key Club General Manager Jeff Mayers and members of the Longboat Key Foundation will meet with Balda April 2, at Longboat Key Town Hall. Balda currently practices in Falls Church, Va.
Longboat Key Foundation President Bob Simmons could not be reached for comment about what role the foundation could play.
David Novak, a longtime practice management consultant, is facilitating Balda’s visit to the Key. He said he seeks to recruit physician candidates, obtain office space, and bring a new practice up to operational status by September, if possible.
“It is hoped that Dr. Balda will find the opportunity here superior to any others as she, an Englewood native and University of Florida Medical College graduate, moves back to Florida from her current practice in Virginia,” Novak wrote in an email to Mayor Jim Brown.
Novak said Letts seeks to provide continuity of care.
“The bottom line is, if this practice venture goes ahead either with one or two physicians, Longboat Key will have a full-time practice on the island,” he said.
Letts is a Staten Island, N.Y., native who practiced in Canada for 15 years before moving to the area to be closer to family.
She began practicing at the former Bay Isles Medical Center in 1996. She temporarily began practicing in Sarasota in 2002 before opening the Centre Shops Family Practice and Urgent Care in 2003.
The Bay Isles Medical Center closed in 2005.
For at least four years, residents and town officials have discussed possibilities for maintaining medical services on the Key, where the seasonal nature of the population presents challenges.
They have explored options such as a for-profit clinic that would be affiliated with a foundation, a non-profit medical center and attempting to partner with Sarasota Memorial Hospital, although nothing has come to fruition.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]