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When Opal Alexander, 82, learned Dr. Tahirih Jensen left Verde Valley Medical Center’s Village of Oak Creek Health Center, she became alarmed.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
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When Opal Alexander, 82, learned Dr. Tahirih Jensen left Verde Valley Medical Center’s Village of Oak Creek Health Center, she became alarmed.

“I’m legally blind, and when they said I had to go to Sedona to see her, I panicked,” Alexander said.

VVMC learned in May that Jensen planned to move her practice to Sedona. Later that month, staff heard Jensen decided to stay in VOC but not at VVMC, according to VVMC Director of Marketing Marguerite Lauri.

Nobody at Jensen’s office could be reached for comment.

Alexander thought the notice she received about Jensen leaving meant the entire facility would close.

Lauri said the VOC branch isn’t closing. VVMC is looking for a doctor to replace Jensen.

VVMC’s VOC branch opened in November 2005 and essentially provides only space for doctors.

“VVMC was not interested in being a landlord,” Lauri said, but it recognized a need for a health care facility in VOC.

According to Lauri, it’s expensive to set up facilities, so VVMC took it upon itself to construct the space. Now, VVMC leases the spaces to physicians.

VVMC’s VOC branch is very convenient, Alexander said. She relies on Verde Valley Drivers — a volunteer group that provides transportation for people who cannot drive — to get to her appointments, and she worried she couldn’t make it outside the Village.

Drivers don’t want to go to Sedona right now because of construction, Alexander said. High gas prices discourage travel to other neighboring communities as well.

“To get a ride into Cottonwood is almost impossible,” Alexander said.

Lauri said Alexander and other VOC residents don’t need to worry.

“We are aggressively recruiting,” Lauri said. “It appeared there was still a need [after Jensen left].”

Alexander said whether she continues seeing Jensen or sticks with VVMC depends on who is brought in.

“Dr. Jensen is a tremendous doctor,” Alexander said.



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