The staff at Mountain Sage Medical (L-R): MaryKay Steeves, Casey Herringshaw, Debbie Fitzpatrick, Dr. Tom Fitzpatrick, Dr. Oleg Reznik, Brogan Lucas, Victoria Brown. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)
Dr. Oleg Reznik joins Mountain Sage Medical
By Randy Parks
In 2009, Dr. Tom Fitzpatrick founded Mountain Sage Medical by opening clinics in Burns and Seneca, along with seeing patients at the Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic.
Now, just three years later, Dr. Oleg Reznik M.D. has joined the staff, enabling Mountain Sage Medical to expand their hours and services.
With the medical climate undergoing a number of changes, Fitzpatrick started Mountain Sage Medical based on a different business model and technology.
For the last three years, Fitzpatrick has put in 10-hour days at the VA clinic on Mondays and Tuesdays and seen patients at Mountain Sage Medical on Wednesdays, Thursdays and a half-day on Fridays.
“Our long-term goal is to use technology and personnel to provide more patient time per visit, as well as affordable care,” Fitzpatrick said. “Mountain Sage clinics are expanding, and we’re grateful for Dr. Reznik’s decision to join our practice. This will allow us to expand our hours and provide additional services to Harney County.”
The staff is also key to providing input. “We keep it pretty relaxed here and are always willing to try new ideas,” Fitzpatrick said. “The staff comes up with some great ideas.”
Reznik plans on being in Harney County for a long time, and he credits his wife, Mathilde, for bringing them here.
He explained that she was working on her dentistry degree, and during a rural rotation, she spent time working at the Burns Dental Group.
After graduating in 2011, Mathilde accepted a part-time position in Burns. “She wanted a part-time position so she could be home with the kids,” Reznik said.
Once his wife had the job, Reznik started researching if there was a need for a doctor in Burns and accepted a position in September with the High Desert Medical Center, which was transitioning to Harney District Hospital and Family Care Clinic.
He then joined Mountain Sage Medical, saying it just seemed to be a “better fit.”
Reznik was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1970 and immigrated to the United States in 1988. He lived in New York from 1988 to 2003, graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from New York University. He then graduated cum laude with a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) in Brooklyn and spent his residency with SUNY Stony Brook, earning a resident teacher award.
Seeking to practice a full range of family medicine, Reznik moved to Salem in 2003.
Mathilde was born and raised in France, near the rural town of St. Flour and immigrated to the U.S. in 1998.
After graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2006, Mathilde applied to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The Rezniks then moved to Portland, where Reznik joined the faculty at OHSU Department of Family Medicine and Mathilde studied at OHSU school of dentistry, graduating in 2011.
From 2008 to 2011, Reznik operated his own private practice, before selling it in 2011.
He then served as a full-time relief physician for Providence, covering 28 primary care and urgent clinics in the Greater Portland area.
Comparing practicing medicine in Harney County to the metro area, Reznik said, “there are many differences in many different aspects.”
“The pace of life is slower here, and the environment is healthier,” Reznik said. “Relationships are more personable as well. Here, we’re (patient and doctor) presuming we’re going to see each other again, while in the big city, you’re probably never going to see some patients ever again.”
Another major difference Reznik pointed out is the number of medical personnel. “You don’t have 100 doctors and 300 specialists,” he said. “People coming in expect their family doctor to take care of what’s wrong. This is what I felt I was going into family medicine for. I want to be able to help most people with most things.”
Reznik said in his previous nine years of practice, he would often refer patients to others and receive reports back. “Medicine has gotten very fragmented, with specialists on top of specialists, and they don’t really see the big picture,” he said.
Reznik added that, in their short time here, they’ve noticed that people are down-to-earth, family-centered and spiritually oriented. “There are traditional values, which we appreciate,” he noted. “There’s also a closer connection with nature, like deer in the yard. We went fishing, we’re going to church regularly, and it just feels natural here.”
Reznik said when he came to Burns for an interview, traveling through the High Desert made him feel like he was leaving a man-made world and coming to something “more fundamental.” “Some people don’t like it, but for me it’s a good fit.”
Although the community is somewhat isolated from other cities, Reznik stays connected to other professionals with modern technology. In today’s world of computers, consultations and advice are just a click away. “I feel I’m part of a large network,” Reznik said.
With Reznik joining Mountain Sage Medical, plans are to expand the clinic hours to seeing patients five days a week, including Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 7 p.m.
The hours at the Seneca clinic will also be expanded.
Fitzpatrick said that with a rural grant they received, and working with Pacific University, the clinic is developing a plan to expand services with physicians and physician assistants, as well.