New Ulm Medical Center
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Doctors and patients praise clinic’s new primary care model
When you don’t feel well, you want to see your own doctor or a provider who is already familiar with your medical history.
Since September, caregivers in the NUMC primary care clinic have been working in teams. There are six teams. Each team includes four or five doctors and a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.
Three additional nurse practitioners were hired to be able to form the teams, NUMC Medical Director Joan Krikava, MD, said.
A goal of the new model is to make patients comfortable not only with the doctor they see regularly but also with the nurse practitioner or physician assistant who is on their doctor’s team.
More appointment options
The new primary care model also includes changes that make it easier to schedule appointments.
"We have reserved 20 percent of the doctors’ day for same-day appointments," Krikava said. "We’ve reserved another 15 percent of their time in the clinic for patients who need to be seen within five days."
Patients may need an appointment within a few days because they’ve just gotten out of the hospital or need follow-up to a previous treatment, Krikava explained.
Model well received
Although it’s only been a few months, doctors and their patients said they really like the new model.
"We’re hearing from patients that they have no trouble getting same-day or short-term appointments and they appreciate being able to do that," Krikava said. "We’re also hearing that they like seeing their own group of providers."
Seeing a doctor who is familiar with their history is particularly beneficial for patients who have a chronic condition, Krikava noted. "Then they don’t have to repeat their medical history over and over."
The doctors like the new model because they are not seeing as many patients whom they don’t know, Krikava said.
Staff supports teams
The teams also have support people including eight LPNs who know how the doctors and mid-level providers like to work. "So they can make things ready for physicians and the patients can be seen more quickly," Krikava said.
The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 pm. Monday through Friday. The Walk-In Clinic is also open from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Source: New Ulm Medical Center
Reviewed by: Joan Krikava, MD
First Published: 02/25/2013
Last Reviewed: 02/25/2013