Munson welcomes country doctor Daniel Hadley to Empire


Photo of Daniel Hadley by Karen Volas

From staff reports

Not long after moving to the region, Empire’s new doctor Daniel Hadley and his family visited the Empire Heritage Day festival on Oct. 12, where they watched fresh apple cider being made and logs being sawed. At the town’s historic museum, he posed for a photo in front of a wooden buggy—the kind that a country doctor may have used to visit far-flung patients in their homes a century ago.

Dr. Hadley won’t be making house calls at all hours down Leelanau County’s dusty two-track roads. But he will offer primary care four days a week to people of all ages at the clinic on M-22 just north of downtown. According to Munson Healthcare, the greater Empire area serves nearly 5,600 patients.

The 45-year-old doctor who started at Empire’s Munson-run outpatient clinic in early November, represents a success story for the northern Michigan healthcare giant. Earlier this fall Munson Healthcare announced a transformation plan that focuses resources on out-patient services at its rural clinics, while shifting all in-patient care to the population hubs of Traverse City, Cadillac and Gaylord. The move reflects a decision to save costs and concedes a chasm of job vacancies Munson has struggled to fill. As of late October, Munson had 14 network-wide primary care openings to fill.

Karen Volas

Karen Volas has been the Empire clinic’s primary care provider since Dr. Cyrus Ghaemi left in July 2022. Hadley now fills the vacancy left by Ghaemi in this gateway village to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

“Empire is a model for what we’d like to see,” said Munson Healthcare practice administrator Mindy Fewless. “Here we have a primary care provider, we have physical therapy, we have lab services. It’s the perfect example for expanding outpatient services and offering what we can without having to go to the hospital.”

A native of Niles, Michigan, Hadley and his wife Rachel bought a home in Long Lake earlier this fall after leaving a tribal-run clinic in Eagle River in northern Wisconsin, where he worked for nearly seven years. Prior to that he worked at a private family practice in Boulder, Colorado, which he joined after completing medical school at Indiana University. Hadley studied undergrad at University of Michigan.

Rachel Hadley grew up visiting a family cabin in Petoskey (the two were married at the Perry Hotel), so when he saw Munson’s job opening in Empire, the northwest Michigan region quickly drew them home. Together they have a 9-year-old son Jonathan and 7-year-old twins, Eve and Jeremiah.

“I’m looking forward to join the practice here,” said Dr. Daniel Hadley. “I know there’s been a need. I’m excited to get to know the community and make a big difference in people’s health and lives.”

The print version of this story in our Nov. 9 edition erroneously omitted the important role that Karen Volas has played as primary care provider in the Empire clinic since Dr. Cyrus Ghaemi left in July 2022. We regret the error. Volas has provided care as a family nurse practitioner for nearly 10 years.

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to help improve the health and well-being of my friends and neighbors in this beautiful community where we live,” she wrote after joining Empire Family Care in 2000.