PLATTEVILLE — Two employees of Dean Clinic in Platteville have been working for Dean Clinic longer than Dean Clinic has been in Platteville.
Barb Engebretson works in insurance and bookkeeping. Kaye Baus is an X-ray technician. Each has been working for Dean Clinic and its predecessor clinics in Grant County for 40 years.
“I’m still here because I love what I do,” said Engebretson.
“And that’s what I know what to do,” said Baus.
“We work for a great bunch of doctors and a great bunch of coworkers,” said Engebretson.
“There’s been a lot of camaraderie with the people we work with, in and out of the clinic,” said Baus.
Both are Lancaster residents.
“We’re in different areas of the clinic, but we see each other,” said Engebretson. “We go to the same church,” Christ Lutheran in Lancaster.
Baus said they see each other in Lancaster “off and on.”
Each got to Dean by a different path.
Baus started at Doctors Park in Platteville two weeks before Engebretson started at the Grant Community Clinic in Lancaster in 1972.
The Doctors Park clinic was owned by three physicians — Charles Steidinger, Milton Stuessy and Stanley Neuland, Baus’ uncle. The family connection came in handy because Baus was one of the last employees of Prairie du Chien General Hospital before it closed.
“When I first started, we were hand-processing film, which was messy and slow,” said Baus. “But the patient load was much less back then. Through the years, things have become much more automated — better for the patient, better for us.
“They just managed X-ray and the lab. One of them had to be in charge of me every year. And it was like a family.”
The Grant Community Clinic was owned by four physicians — Kenneth Bauman, Leo Becker, Harold Carey and Glenn Hillery.
“They were all great to work for; we were all a very close family,” said Engebretson. “Back when I started doing insurance, there were no procedure codes, so I’d pull charts. I’d pull charts probably 15 at a time, and I’d hand-type the forms and then send them to the insurance companies.
“I’ve had to go through three computer transitions, and every transition I had to manually enter the information. It was a lot of lot of work.”
Dean bought Doctors Park in 1989, then bought the Grant Community Clinic in 1993.
Engebretson has worked in Platteville for 14 years.
“I truly enjoy working with the patients,” she said. “I work upstairs; the rest of the office is downstairs, and I love working with patients, questions with their insurance.”
Baus works in Platteville three days a week, and works in Lancaster with its new orthopedic surgeon two days a week.
“Patients always think I can read the X-rays,” she said. “And I always tell them I’m not trained enough, nor am I paid enough, to read your X-rays. That’s the doctor’s job.”
Each has seen an enormous amount of change in health care.
“It’s definitely harder for patients insurance-wise, simply because the cost of insurance has gone so sky-high,” said Engebretson. “We see a lot of uninsured patients, which of course is very difficult.”
“With better equipment we can do more of what we need to do,” said Baus.
Neither has immediate retirement plans.
“I don’t know how long I’ll work — as long as I’m able to,” said Baus. “I like what I’m doing; I like who I’m working with and for.
“It doesn’t seem like 40 years. You look back and it’s like, where did that time go?”