Total family care
TIFFIN– Does a doctor’s office want to see new patients? The answer is yes– and no.
For the Amana Family Practice Clinic, such an increase meant its staff was providing important healthcare services to a largely rural community, but it was also a strain on the clinic’s resources.
Insert Tiffin Family Care, a new facility located at 110 Tall Grass Ave., an area that is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for health and well-being.
“When we looked at our patient demographics, there were about 3,000 established patients who were east of this Tiffin location,” said Chris Dunn, MD, an 18-year veteran of the Amana clinic. “We knew we had patients coming that far to receive care from us and thought this would be a good opportunity to better serve those patients.”
In 1999, years after the Momany family took over the decades-old Amana Family Practice, a new clinic was built to accommodate three full-time providers. For the past 15 years, Dunn said that number was more like five.
“It got to the point where we were going to have to close the practice to new patients or get bigger,” he said.
Opening another location in Tiffin, he explained, allowed the Amana clinic to spread out its 12,000-15,000 active patients.
And they’ve only added more, Dunn added, but the growth is sustainable.
“We’re getting new patients all the time,” he said. “We really pride ourselves on the quality care we provide, and we didn’t want that to get out of hand. We wanted to build slowly enough that we felt like we were in control and could continue to provide the same quality of care that we do in Amana.”
Dunn more or less heads the Tiffin location, although he continues to split his time between the two clinics, along with two other MDs. He noted while Tiffin is its own clinic, the same electronic health records are used at both locations, which means patients can be seen at either.
But the Tiffin facility, opened in June 2016, may look a little different– particularly inside the 10 redesigned exam rooms.
“Examination rooms are traditionally a sink, a counter and an exam table,” Dunn explained. “Ours are larger than a typical examination room and they’re set up with a half wall that divides the room evenly with the exam table on one side and a table and chairs on the other.”
This allows patients to be seen for a myriad of needs in the same room, as well as sit down and talk more intimately with their doctors.
“When someone walks in the door, no one necessarily knows whether they’re coming for chiropractic care, medical care or mental health care,” Dunn added.
While a licensed mental health counselor splits her time between both clinics, chiropractic is new and exclusive to Tiffin Family Care.
“It’s very nontraditional, but we really thought that would be something that would provide added benefit to our patients,” said Dunn.
Angela Overman, DC, utilizes an array of adjustment techniques for her Tiffin patients: Gonstead, Thompson, Diversified and Activator.
“People are pretty receptive to trying it,” she said. “Especially people who were really hurting.”
Dunn said the upsurge in narcotic use across the country– particularly opioids– was one reason they approached the clinic from a holistic health perspective.
“Between mental health and traditional medicine and chiropractic, we can address chronic pain in perhaps a much better fashion than we were able to before and hopefully rely less on narcotics and more on whole person health and well-being.”
The clinic is also working on a partnership with the Clear Creek Amana Community School District to provide behavioral health services that school nurses usually can’t offer.
“When you have a child who’s in crisis, they could perhaps come here instead of just go to the nurse’s office or principal’s office,” explained Dunn. “We’d be able to work closely with the school and provide care that otherwise wouldn’t really be available.”
He said he hopes to eventually provide services for the athletic teams as well.
Other Tiffin staff are Kristie Yoder, LMHC, Heidi Waters, ARNP, Dana Jiras, RN, and Faye Kimm, the nurse office manager. Tim Momany, MD, who is also the CEO of Amana Family Practice, and Ronald Dose, MD, also split their time between the two locations.
The team is so committed to providing care to its clients that the clinic stays open until 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (the Amana clinic is open late Mondays and Thursdays), and also has a doctor on call 24/7.
“Being out in Amana, you have to be comfortable with doing more because we’re farther away from an emergency room,” Dunn said. “A lot of the stuff that would get punted to an emergency room when you’re right in town is stuff that we would typically take care of.”
The latest emergency visit he recalled was a tibial fracture (shinbone) that happened on the soccer field.
“We let the patient sort of decide what an emergency is for them and try to accommodate it so it keeps them out of the emergency room and away from urgent care, and it keeps their continuative care better in tact,” he added.
In addition to chiropractic and family medicine, Tiffin Family Care offers radiology, lab work, dermatological procedures and in-office surgery. The clinic serves every demographic, from babies to the elderly.
“We take care of everybody except the dog,” Dunn joked.
The clinic has also partnered with the Tiffin Pharmacy next door, which is in effect the Amana Pharmacy.
“We have a close working relationship with them and always have. We asked them if they’d be interested in partnering with us, and they were very interested,” said Dunn. For patient convenience, the pharmacy keeps the same regular hours as the clinic.
Then there’s Progressive Rehabilitation a few suites down, where the Tiffin staff usually recommend patients for physical therapy. Dunn noted, however, neither Amana Family Practice nor Tiffin Family Care is affiliated with a particular hospital in any way.
“We allow our patients to choose where they want to go. Then we accommodate them so they’re not locked into doing anything,” he explained. “We have the ability to use the pharmacy and Progressive Rehabilitation but not the requirement.”
Soon, patients and other Tiffin residents will also have the opportunity to use a fitness center, which Dunn plans to open up in the same building.
“When you’re looking at health, it’s good to be able to provide people as much under one roof as you can,” he said.
Boasting 3,000 square feet, the gym will feature pre-owned Snap Fitness equipment, 24-hour access, an aerobics room and personal trainers.
Dunn said the remaining suite space will likely become a pizza place or coffee shop.