Building a Foundation of Wellness through Primary Care

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Thursday, June 10, 2021 ~ Updated 11:06 PM

Laura Glueck, DO, family medicine physician at Jackson Family Care, a Saint Francis Healthcare System Medical Partner location, says she takes a transparent approach to speaking about health conditions to help build trust and long-time connections with patients.

“Relationships are the biggest thing,” she says. “It’s a team effort between the patient and healthcare team.”

Whether seeking help for a sudden health concern or pursuing preventative care, connecting patients with a primary care provider helps ensure the highest level of care.

Primary care providers at Saint Francis support patients in every stage of life, beginning in neonatal care and extending to older adulthood. Jason Bandermann, MBA, vice president of Saint Francis Medical Partner Operations - Northeast, says a lifetime focus on wellness is essential to the ministry.

“It’s embedded in our Mission to ‘provide a ministry of healing, wellness, quality and love inspired by our faith in Jesus Christ,’” he says. “That preventative maintenance — that’s the role of a primary care physician.”

The wellness aspect of Saint Francis’s Mission statement includes preventative care and consistent visits with a primary care provider.

While walk-in facilities and emergency departments provide excellent care when needed, Bandermann says having a connection with a primary care provider is vital. Consistently visiting a family physician helps the medical practitioner view the patient’s broader history, understand prior treatments and provide personalized care.

“They’ll have that line of sight or knowledge about the patient — anything from surgeries to a particular diagnosis you’ve had in the past,” he says. “They might be able to pick up on a condition more quickly because they have your personal history.”

Dr. Glueck describes it as “points of contact,” as a primary care provider visits with the same patients on a consistent basis.

“They know the patient and begin the relationship very early,” Bandermann says. “They follow conditions, they have a consistent touch-point, and that is part of the ongoing maintenance that we believe is essential to our ministry here at Saint Francis.”

When choosing a primary care provider, Bandermann advises individuals to seek a medical practitioner they can fully trust. Asking one’s social circle, conducting online research and meeting with the physician can help to find the best fit.

As a physician, Dr. Glueck says individuals should seek a provider who meets their expectations.

For many patients, accessibility is one of the most important aspects of primary care, Bandermann says. Easy-to-access care and quickly-scheduled appointments can help establish trust between the patient and physician, adding to a higher level of care.

To expand that accessibility, Saint Francis is constructing a new, two-story primary care office at 2130 E. Jackson Boulevard in Jackson to bring a higher level of care to patients, Bandermann says. Projected to be completed in late Summer 2021, the clinic will combine primary care, urgent care, lab, imaging and counseling services.

Previously, these departments were located in separate locations in Jackson and Cape Girardeau, Dr. Glueck says; the new facility may mean faster laboratory results for patients and a new workflow for primary care appointments.

“I think it will be much better for the patients,” she says. “They’ll be able to get their labs done ahead of time, and we’ll be able to review them at the visit.”

The new facility will be open seven days a week, with extended hours for the urgent care services. After completion, the primary care office will be accepting new patients.

Preventative care brings value and quality to communities from a wellness-based perspective.

“We are extremely dedicated to [wellness],” Bandermann says. “We want to see the trend continue of that upfront, preventative care.”