It's rare in this day and age to find a doctor who is willing to make house calls or answer his own telephone 24/7.
But that's precisely how Decorah's Dr. David Heine plans to operate the Family Care Clinic, a new outpatient clinic set to open Wednesday, Dec. 3.
"The American Academy of Family Physicians has been studying health care in the U.S. and the Senate just took up a proposed model of health care that goes back to the old Marcus Welby, M.D. model," said Heine.
"The health care system has become so complicated, most of us need help navigating the system. It helps if people are attached to a primary care provider."
Since his resignation as Winneshiek Medical Center chief medical officer last year, Heine has been performing emergency care services in Southern Minnesota.
He said he hopes his new clinic, located at 903 Commerce Dr., Suite A, will provide "a welcoming place where people can come and get continuity of care."
"It will be a facility with complete services for the very young to the elderly," said Heine, adding he will offer complete laboratory services and work with both Winneshiek Medical Center and Gundersen-Lutheran Decorah Clinic for x-rays, ultrasounds and MRIs.
"I've met with both agencies and am excited about being able to offer those services," said Heine.
The Family Care Clinic will offer preventative and wellness care, well woman's care, prostate and skin cancer screenings, chronic illness care (including asthma, migraines, arthritis), sports injury evaluation, laceration repair, DOT physicals, immunizations, tetanus shots, STD screening, HIV testing, insurance physicals, depression/anxiety screening and treatment, weight-loss counseling, tobacco-cessation counseling, mole removal, menopause evaluation and management, breast cancer screening, ingrown nail treatment, and fracture care.
Heine will also offer a variety of services for the elderly, including Medicare physicals, nursing home physicals, nursing home visits, assisted living house calls, chronic illness care (arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD/emphysema), joint injections, exercise prescriptions, osteoporosis care, prescription drug cost reviews and more.
"We're accepting all major insurance companies, and will offer a 25-percent discount for patients who are uninsured," added Heine.
"Our goal is to be a completely paperless office, in response to the government's push for electronic medical records. The patient will tell us which pharmacy he or she prefers, and prescription orders will be transmitted from our network to theirs," he said.
"We'll see a 3-percent increase in Medicare reimbursement for doing it that way, because it reduces medical errors so much."
Although Heine's clinic will be primarily outpatient, he plans to pay "social visits" to his hospitalized patients.
"Winneshiek Medical Center will notify me when a patient of mine checks into the hospital," said Heine, adding although he will be available to his patients, their care will be managed by WMC's hospitalists.
Earlier this year, WMC began a one-year hospitalist pilot program, with one to two clinic physicians covering four-day rotations of duties in the hospital, during which time they will not see patients at the clinic.
Hospitalist, a term coined in 1996, refers to a hospital-based general physician who cares for hospitalized patients in the place of a patient's primary care physician. Instead of patients having to wait for their regular doctor to stop by to see them, the hospitalist on duty makes him or herself available.
"While I was at the Medical Center, I helped develop that program. I believe strongly in the model, where there is a physician there to take care of you and provide answers during the day," said Heine.
"I've chosen to support that. It's important to keep that service utilized so WMC will maintain that practice," he said.
Dr. Heine will be available in the office Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30.
He will also make himself available each Wednesday for nursing home visits and house call services.
"If you have a little one you don't want to bring out in the cold weather, or if grandma is too weak to come out, just call ahead of time. I also plan to use Wednesdays to make the rounds at local nursing homes," he said, adding he'll be available 24 hours a day for phone consultation.
Heine said he is thankful for the consulting help he has received from the MBA Health Group of Vermont, and his landlord, Jim Falck.
"Jim has been incredibly supportive in helping me get this practice going," said Heine.
Other tenants in the building include Dave Olson and Associates, Falck and Associates and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation.
"Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation has been great. They have 500 clients with disabilities, and I've already been partnering with them to help find their clients employment and health care. They've also been a great help in making sure our office is ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act) - compliant," said Heine.
He said he is also excited about his staff, Carol Bakkum, R.N., of Waukon, and Matt Pyle, a Luther College graduate who will serve as his lab and officer manager.
For more information, contact Heine at 563-382-1200.