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New Ulm Medical Center

New Ulm Medical Center launches new clinical primary care model

When a person has a medical concern, not only do they want to see a healthcare provider in a timely fashion, but they want to see someone familiar and with whom they are comfortable. A new clinical primary care model at the New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) will be able to provide just that.

A pilot of the new model is being launched September 2012. In the new model, primary care physicians and mid-level practitioners (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) will form teams so that the work can be redistributed among them and patient appointments are more efficiently divided.

“The team will be able to address the individual patient needs using staff people to do things that they are trained to do,” explained NUMC Medical Director Joan Krikava. “This means that patients might not see a doctor for something that they expect to see him or her for. It redistributes the work so that the physician’s schedule can clear up and patients who need to see a doctor urgently can get in right away.”

A goal of the new system is that patients will become comfortable not only with the doctor they may have been seeing for years, but also the mid-level practitioners that are now paired with those doctors. There will be two or three physicians paired with each mid-level provider under the new model.

“This will benefit not only those with chronic diseases – because there will be a whole team of providers who know and understand their condition – but also those with urgent care needs, because they’ll be able to get in quickly and to see one of a team of providers they will become familiar with,” Krikava said.

Clinics across the country are beginning to implement this style of primary care in preparation for the medical home model of clinical care. That will additionally require a dietitian, social worker, pharmacist and diabetic educator. In 2013, NUMC will begin to integrate those specialties into their clinical primary care model.

“We have a primary care crisis in this country,” Krikava said. “We have fewer physicians going into primary care – more and more new physicians want to specialize. The good news is we are training a lot of mid-level practitioners.”

As part of this primary care model re-design at NUMC, the clinic has hired three new nurse practitioners and eight LPNs to support the provider teams. The pilot of the new model includes Drs. Herman Louters, Roger Lindholm, Charles Stephens, and Jason Mohrer as well as Anita Reiderer, PA-C. There will eventually be six teams and all should be in place by early 2013.

“Patient choice is still the most important thing,” Krikava said. “While we will try to steer patients toward a mid-level who works with their primary care provider when it is appropriate, if they have a second provider they are comfortable with they can still see that person.”

To make an appointment at the NUMC clinic, call 507-217-5011 or go to MyChart.