Monday, October 27, 2008

New Doctors’ Offices Debut at Lake Manassas

GAINESVILLE: Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas will open its doors November 3 in Gainesville, serving busy families living near the eastern borders of Fauquier County.

Internists Esther Bahk, M.D. and Marwa Abdelfattah, M.D. will provide primary care services in a convenient, patient-centered environment. Both doctors are excited about serving the Gainesville patient population.

Dr. Bahk said, “I am looking forward to establishing myself in the community and creating lasting relationships with my patients.”

The doctors said they were pleased to be part of the Fauquier Health family, with its focus on patient-centered care. Dr. Abdelfattah explained, “I love the Planetree concept of providing ‘an excellent patient experience,’ of involving patients and families in decisions about their own health care. It’s what I do. I am happy to have found a place where our philosophies are compatible.”

The new office will offer quality health care with an emphasis on convenience. Among the considerations for busy families:

• Early morning and evening hours, as well as appointment times on Saturdays.
• Same-day appointments are available for non-emergency care.
• A concierge meets patients at the front desk to answer questions and help them navigate through the process.
• A business cafĂ© provides dedicated space with wi-fi service for those who would like to work – or play – on their computers while they wait for family members.
• Lab work, including blood tests, can be accomplished on site.
• The new medical offices will have access to Fauquier Hospital diagnostic scheduling and records. Radiology or laboratory tests to be completed at the hospital may be arranged from the Lake Manassas offices.
• Medicare patients are welcome.
Dr. Bahk said, “My husband and I are both working parents. When we were looking for a pediatrician, we sought out a doctor who offered quality care, and convenience, too. I look forward to helping patients who have that same kind of lifestyle.”

Dr. Abdelfattah is a Gainesville resident and is eager to begin serving her neighbors. “As an internist, working with this diverse patient population is going to be very satisfying.”

Fauquier Health Internal Medicine, Lake Manassas
Address: Suite 101, 7915 Lake Manassas Drive, Gainesville
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12 noon
Phone: 703.743.7300
Information: For details, call Physician Referral at 540.316.DOCS

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Evening Seminar Focuses on Realities of Cancer

Cancer touches nearly everyone’s life in one way or another. Because of this reality, Dr. Sanjeev Aggarwal will present an evening seminar designed to help listeners deal with the multi-faceted aspects of the disease. Dr. Aggarwal is the radiation oncologist and medical director for The Cancer Center at Lake Manassas in Gainesville.

Dr. Aggarwal will speak on breast and prostate cancer and how the diseases affect patients’ lives, as well as the lives of their families and friends.

The free lecture will take place Wednesday, October 20, at Grace Bible Church, 4387 Free State Road in Marshall. For information, call (540) 364-3832 or go to www.gbcmarshall.org, “About Us.”

The Cancer Center at Lake Manassas is a strategic partnership of Fauquier Health and Prince William Hospital. The staff is dedicated to serving patients and families living in Northern Virginia, particularly the counties of Fauquier, Prince William, Rappahannock, Culpeper, Loudoun and Fairfax.

Visit the Cancer Center’s website at: www.cancercenterlm.org

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Veteran ED nurses have seen it all

At right, Dr. Joseph Servideo and Dr. Tom Myers enjoy the celebration of the opening of the new Fauquier Health Emergency Department waiting room. (Patients were welcomed this morning, October 15.) Both doctors worked in the Fauquier Hospital ED 30 years ago.

Lisa Mountjoy, a nurse in the Fauquier Hospital Outpatient Procedures Department and Lois Sutphin, a nurse in the Fauquier Hospital Infusion Center, gathered in the staff lounge and pored over old news clippings from the last 33 years. One article, cut out and stapled into a scrapbook, was torn and faded. The date on the page showed it was from September of 1978, three years after Mountjoy graduated from nursing school and joined Fauquier Hospital.
Both women remembered the story well.

Mountjoy said, “That was when we were still in the ‘old ED’ (a six-bed unit). Only that week we had been approved for helicopter transport.”

The newspaper article told of a serious car accident. A 22-year-old man had been pierced with an 8-foot-long board. “It was unbelievable,” said Mountjoy, who was head nurse of the ER at the time. “It went right through him. They had to cut both ends of the board away in order to get him in the ambulance.”

Attending the victim was Dr. Joseph Servideo, the current chairman of the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Department. He was then 34 and in his first year with Fauquier Hospital. He said, “The board had collapsed his lung, went behind his heart, behind his abdomen and through his bowel. I had never seen anything like it, and I was scared to death.”
Dr. Servideo and one of the hospital surgeons got the patient stabilized and he was airlifted to the Washington Hospital Center, where he was operated on successfully.

Former ED nurses Bernice Pearson and Janice Foley, now both retired, were on the scene that night too. Foley said, “It was a small community back then. If something big happened, you heard about it and just went in to help.”
In those early days of helicopter transport, Foley was called on several times to travel with patients on what she called “the MASH helicopters.” She said, “I’d be in the helicopter holding the IV and the patient would be in this big tube, attached to the outside of the helicopter. Sometimes when they didn’t have a medic, they’d ask the nurses to help with transport.”

The good old days
Sutphin, who began working at Fauquier Hospital in 1973, says that the hospital was a very different place back then. “We didn’t have a doctor in the ER all the time. I’d be in the OR and the bell would ring when there was a patient waiting at the ER door.”

Foley remembered, “One night a man arrived with a wire sticking three inches out of his eye. I had trouble finding a doctor and when I got one on the phone, he asked, ‘Can you see the wire?’

“I said ‘Yes,’ so he said, ‘Well, pull it out then!’ ”

Because of the frequent absence of an ER doctor, then nurses were often required to use their own judgment. Pearson told the story of a night when she was making her rounds and Foley was in the ER. “We heard this small voice say ‘Help.’ We checked the parking lot. No car. No rescue squad. So we went on with our conversation. We heard it again. ‘Help. Someone please help me.’

“We went outside and found a man hanging on to the wall in the parking lot. He had been shot in the leg and was AWOL from the service. We brought him in.”

Foley added, “We didn’t have any security back then. We figured if they can make it as far as the parking lot, that’s good enough for us.”

Foley remembered, “We had someone come in who had been shot in the chest and wasn’t going to make it. A motorcycle gang had been involved in a shootout. About 30 of his friends showed up and said, ‘We want his jacket,’ so I gave it to them.” Later, Foley realized she had given away evidence in the shooting. “I would have given them anything they asked for. They were scary.”

Sutphin said, “We made our own saline, distilled our own water, and prepared our own medicines that we got from Rhodes Drug Store. We used glass bottles for IVs instead of plastic bags.”

Mountjoy added, “We didn’t wear gloves back then. I remember one man came in who had been hit in the head with an ax. There was a lot of blood, but he was still talking. I held his head together with my bare hands while he was taken to Fairfax. HIV and Hepatitis were unknown back then.”

Thirty years ago, the most common emergencies handled in the ER happened on farms and in car accidents, according to the veteran nurses. Sutphin remembered, “Hay pickers, corn pickers, mower accidents. I remember when five people in one family were killed in a car accident. That’s how we got the traffic signal in Remington. One time someone came in whose whole bottom lip had been bitten off by a horse. They sewed it back on.”

She said, “I remember one little girl who lost her arm in some machinery. I was scrubbing that little girl’s arm, and I was crying like a baby the whole time.”

Dr. Servideo pointed out that emergency room physicians have so many more tools than they did 30 years ago. “Back then, we had X-rays, EKGs and some limited blood work. Now we’ve got CT scanners, MRIs, Dopplar ultrasound and multiple lab tests that can tell us so much more.”

The range of medicines has expanded tremendously too. “Back in the 1970s, if someone came in with a heart attack, we didn’t have much to offer – some pain relief, oxygen and nitroglycerin. Now, we can give them clot busters that within 20-30 minutes can dissolve the clot that is causing the heart attack.”

Clinicians’ training has changed, too. “Back then,” said Dr. Servideo said, “We didn’t have the specialty backup that we do now. Acute care specialties were just coming into being back then. Emergency room doctors were just family doctors who worked in the ER.

“And nurses, although they came out of nursing school very well trained and experienced in hands-on care, didn’t have to have the same skills they do now. In 2008, they need to be able to read heart monitors and work IV pumps, things that didn’t exist back then. We have an extensive program for new nurses that includes lots of lectures and hands-on experience, as well as working alongside experienced nurses.”

A close-knit group
Mountjoy and Sutphin remember the early days of the Fauquier ER as a time when the medical staff worked very closely together. “It was a much smaller group,” said Mountjoy. “We had six nurses who worked together for years. And the wonderful doctors… Dr. Servideo, Dr. (Eric) Maybach, Dr. (Steven) von Elten worked in the ED back then.”
Mountjoy remembered, “A child came in who had run her bike down her driveway into traffic. They thought they would have to amputate her leg. Dr. Benjamin Allen was the perfect doctor to help her. He had an artificial leg himself. He was able to offer encouragement and tell the family that their child’s life was not over. He told them how he played tennis and became a ski instructor.”

Foley and Pearson agreed that Fauquier Hospital has been able to attract wonderful doctors. Foley said, “When I first started here, we only had general practitioners, no pediatricians, no OB/GYNs. I remember when Dr. (Tom) Meyers (an OB/GYN doctor) first came here to look at Warrenton. He and Dr. (Bob) Young said they walked up and down Main Street and talked to people. They found that people were friendly and that there was a real sense of community. They wanted to start their practices and raise their families here. I’ve heard that kind of story a lot over the years.”
Of all the wonderful people the nurses remember from their early days in the ER, one they speak of most fondly is “Grandma” Ruth Krusie. Krusie was a legendary nurse whose memory is honored with the hospital’s Ruth Krusie award, given annually to an outstanding Fauquier Hospital nurse.

Mountjoy, Sutphin, Foley and Pearson all were honored with the Ruth Krusie award.

Mountjoy said, “Ruth Krusie was 72 when she passed away, and worked here up until 9 months before she died. She was so much fun, and a wonderful nurse. Before she went home every night, she’d tell us, ‘Watch out for the fools.’ ”

The women also remember the hospital’s snack bar wistfully. Sutphin said, “There was one long counter with some stools, and three or four tables for two people each. And there was the famous chicken salad. Volunteers – the chicken pickers -- would pull the chicken off the bone. It was wonderful.”

Mountjoy broke in, “And they made the best milk shakes. I liked mine chocolaty, but not too chocolaty. They knew just how many squirts of syrup to use for me.”

Mountjoy recalled that one night, visitors to the hospital cafeteria got a surprise. It seems that a jail inmate set his own mattress on fire and was brought into the ER with burns. Mountjoy said, “He escaped and ran buck naked through the hospital -- it was a shorter run back then. He ran into the cafeteria looking for something cool to put on his burns.

“He scared the cafeteria ladies, but one of the nurses ordered him into the shower.”

The nurses maintain that health care was much more of a hands-on proposition years ago. “Because the staffs were so much smaller, the head nurse was not only overseeing and supervising, she was another nurse on the floor.”
Sutphin remembered one day when the nurses would have preferred not to be so “hands-on.”

“There was a bomb scare at the hospital in 1969. Bernice (Pearson), then head nurse of the medical surgery unit, called us in and told us, ‘The bomb is supposed to go off at 7:00. So until five to seven, we’re going to search for the bomb.’

“I was only 17 and said, ‘I’m too young to be doing that. I’m going home.’

“Bernice said, ‘No, you’re not.’

“So we all looked for the bomb.”

Nurses did what needed to be done, agreed all four veteran nurses. Foley remembered a time when there was a shootout at a big country music concert in town. “I saw someone was shot, so I started to jump down and help. Bullets were flying. My husband pulled me back and said, ‘You can’t do that!’ ”

Pearson said with a smile, “Yes, Janice was one of those ‘eager’ nurses.”

All four nurses have deep ties to Warrenton. Pearson’s mother, Inez Gray, was also a Fauquier Hospital nurse, when the hospital was located in a house on Waterloo Street. “ ‘Lady Gray,’ everyone called her,” Pearson said. Pearson has been married for 40 years to Raye Pearson, a police officer she met in the ER.

Foley married Charles Foley, who was a prosecutor for the county, then a judge.

Foley said, “One night, when I was pregnant, a drunk gave me a hard time. He was chasing me around the exam room and I had to call for help.

“The next day he told Charles that a nurse beat him up the night before in the ER.

“Charles told him, ‘I heard about you at about 2 in the morning from that very nurse.’ ”

That was then, this is now

How do the nurses compare today’s brand-spanking new 33-room ED to the six-bed ER of 35 years ago?

“I love the fact that there are all private rooms,” said Sutphin. “We used to have all the patients in one room separated by curtains. And we have all state-of-the-art equipment. The new ED is just beautiful.”

When asked what he thinks of the new ED, Dr. Servideo grins broadly. “It’s fantastic. Having our own CT scanner is a dream come true. We have everything we need to provide the best possible care. You won’t find another ED anywhere that is better equipped.”

Through the Years


At right you'll see the Fauquier Hospital snackbar that was a favorite place for employees to get some famous chicken salad or a milkshake.

1925
20 patient beds
344 patients admitted
184 operations performed
57 emergency treatments
22 babies born

1956
56 employees
$100,000 annual payroll
$18.23: average daily cost of a room

1967
$19 cost of a semi-private room, daily
$26 cost of a private room, daily

1972
91 patient beds
3,000 patients admitted
26,000 patient days
900 operations performed
300 babies born

1981
40 physicians
330 employees, including 40 registered nurses
11,300 emergency room visits
500 babies born

2007
Fauquier Hospital Care
Patients admitted (not counting deliveries) - 5,008
Inpatient days of care - 21,121
Babies delivered - 820
Outpatient visits - 82,552
Emergency Department visits - 32,003

Charity Care
Free Medical Care - $4,028,871
Services to Free Clinic - $130,284
Rental for Free Clinic - $82,800 per year
Hours donated to Fauquier Free Clinic
by Fauquier Health System physicians and staff - 470

Community Outreach
Held programs that benefited 2,063 people
Conducted health screenings for 2,500 people
Participated in health education and local events benefiting 33,062 people

Grand Opening of New Emergency Department

Fauquier Hospital has doubled the size of its Emergency Department and added new features and upgrades.
“We’ve added a big, beautiful, new waiting room (opening October 15) that is going to provide a lot more comfort for our patients,” said Dr. Joseph Servideo, chairman of the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Department. “We’re also opening up more exam rooms and adding more physicians and clinical staff. All of this means we’ll be able to serve our patients much more quickly.”


The new ED expansion will not only allow for more flexibility during peak patient times, but it will also help the staff adapt to increasing demands created by future growth. “The hospital administration was very open to making the ED a little larger than what we needed for right now,” Dr. Servideo explained. “So this new expansion should easily serve us for the next five to 10 years.”

Highlights of the expansion include:

• 13,000 additional square feet of space, bringing the total number of square feet in the ED to 25,660

• 13 additional patient rooms, for a total of 33 private patient rooms in the ED

• A new, ED-dedicated CT scanner, providing convenient access and quicker results for ED patients

• Two state-of-the-art trauma suites that allow maximum use of space in the event of large-scale accidents or tragedies

• Dedicated rooms for obstetrical and orthopedic patients

• Two negative pressure rooms for potentially contagious patients that prevent the spread of infections

• New technology that includes: a digital imaging system that allows physicians to view x-rays within seconds; voice recognition dictation system; an electronic patient tracking system, which allows hospital personnel to see and update the location and status of each patient from anywhere in the ED

• Portable digital x-ray machines that can travel from room to room, for patient comfort and convenience

• Streamlined admission procedures through bedside registration, clinical staff information white boards for patient rooms, specialized treatment rolling carts, and more

• Inspired by nature themes, the expanded waiting room space is designed to inspire and soothe. It’s beautifully functional. New additions include an office for security; a private financial counseling room; new reception desk; new reception office space; and an area with vending machines and tables for patients and visitors. A children’s area will make waiting with little ones a bit easier, and two large triage rooms will offer staff more space to assess patients as they arrive.

• The new entrances, one for self-transported patients and one for ambulances, are sweeping, open areas that will welcome patients to the Fauquier Hospital ED

• A few more parking spaces have been added, and a traffic circle will allow anxious drivers to drop off and pick up patients more easily

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Focus on Diabetes


Diabetes is a lifestyle disease. That means it can be caused or made worse by poor choices -- a high-calorie, high-sugar diet and a sedentary lifestyle, for instance.
The Fauquier Times-Democrat newspaper was good enough to publish several stories highlighting the disease and the tools Fauquier Health provides to battle it. In case you missed them, here are the stories.

Managing diabetes: Hard work, but worth it

About a year ago, in July of 2007, Warrenton resident Jim Smyth realized that he hadn’t been feeling well. He said, “I was really tired, didn’t feel like myself. I felt like I had a minor case of the flu. I have traveled a lot internationally for years, so I figured that’s why I was feeling run down.”


He had no idea how ill he really was.

Dr. Michael Lin of Warrenton diagnosed Smyth with Type 2 Diabetes, which runs in his family. “It turned out I was really sick, and had been for a while. I just didn’t know it,” said Smyth.

He was put on medication, and tried to get a handle on his blood sugar. “I started exercising at home, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was undisciplined, and there was no accountability.

“I am pretty busy. I work for an international publishing company, in business development, and have customers all over the world. By 8 a.m., I’m already way behind, because the rest of the world has been up and doing business for hours. When I was first diagnosed, I kept thinking I could continue the way I had been and just make a few changes in diet and exercise.”

By December, Smyth saw that his self-help efforts were not working. On his doctor’s suggestion, Smyth joined Fauquier Health’s LIFE Center, a medically based fitness center. “I started because I had to. At first I did it to live longer, but now I do it to feel better. And it really works.”

That was 9 months -- and 36 pounds – ago.

Smyth joined Fauquier Health’s Diabetes Management class and was surprised. He said, “I’m very well-educated. I read everything on diabetes when I got my diagnosis. But I took the pre-test they gave in the class and failed. The class gave me a chance to talk with experts and discuss how the disease affects my body and how I could make real changes.”

Smyth met for one-on-one sessions with diabetes educators Aren Dodge and Dottie Williams at the LIFE Center. “They provided a combination of expertise and genuine caring that is unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else,” said Smyth.

The individual classes were followed by four group classes. Dodge reported, “Jim is great. He’s our cheerleader. He comes to classes and speaks to others about his experiences and provides encouragement.”

Nutrition is a main focus of the Diabetes Management classes. Smyth said, “It’s not easy, but I have no choice. If I want to eat junk food, I’m going to feel bad.

“Dottie is always checking on me. ‘How’s your blood sugar today? What did you eat yesterday?’ It’s great to have someone to discuss things with. They teach you how to eat the right amount at every meal. The support is terrific.”

Regular exercise is another important component of diabetes management. Smyth said, “I can’t say enough about the LIFE Center. People don’t know how lucky we are to have this kind of facility right here in our small town. I come in and work out for 30-45 minutes, six days a week whenever I’m not out of town. Once I’m here, I don’t want to leave.
“I have people here who ask me how I’m doing. It’s a little extra incentive. If I don’t come, next time they want to know, ‘Where were you?’

Smyth continues to get help and motivation from Williams and Dodge, as well as exercise physiologist Sara Freeman. “Sara developed a plan for me and I follow her directions. I never get bored. There are lots of different things to try. I’m not great at stretching, so Amy (Moore, another exercise physiologist) showed me what’s good for me. I’ve done water exercise classes with John Ferguson and that was great, a lot of fun.”

“It’s hard work, but I get real benefits--benefits that let me enjoy every day more. I am very grateful for the care and support I get from the LIFE Center team.”

Smyth has made astonishing progress in a short time. The last time his blood sugar was tested, his numbers were the same as a person without diabetes. “I feel really good. It has happened very quickly. My doctor was amazed.

“The real benefit has been to the quality of my everyday life. I wake up every day feeling better. I can’t control the disease, but I can control how it affects me.”


New endocrinologist debuts in Warrenton

Nearly one in ten American adults has diabetes and, if present trends continue, one third of Americans born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime. These staggering statistics are from the American Diabetes Association.

Because diabetes is now being referred to as an “epidemic,” Fauquier Health has recruited a diabetes specialist to be part of its newly created Fauquier Health Endocrinology. Endocrinologist Dr. Deepak Kashyap is delighted to be in Fauquier. “I see this as a tremendous opportunity to provide vital specialty care in diabetes and other endocrine diseases.”

Dr. Kashyap said that his role is to de-burden primary care doctors by focusing on intense diabetes education and treatment. “Your primary care doctor may be treating you for arthritis, high blood pressure, and other medical conditions as well. I am able to focus my time with patients addressing their questions and working with them to improve their understanding of diabetes.”

Dr. Kashyap is board certified in internal medicine and endocrinology and is a certified diabetes educator. He explained, “This is an additional certification in teaching patients how to manage their diabetes – reviewing the roles of nutrition and physical activity, educating patients about the pathophysiology, individualizing treatment goals and providing coping skills.”

A study by the National Institutes of Health revealed that about one-third of people who have diabetes don’t even know they have it. Dr. Kashyap said, “By the time most diabetics are diagnosed, the beta cells (insulin-producing cells) of the pancreas have been damaged so much that only 50 percent of them remain functional. And each year, another 3-5 percent of these cells fail. Newer drugs such as Byetta (a twice-daily injection) or Januvia (a once-daily pill) could possibly prevent further pancreas failure.

“I have a lot of experience with these newer therapies. Byetta, for instance, can have the added benefit of decreasing the appetite for easier weight loss. Because excess weight is a contributor to diabetes, this is an important benefit.”
Dr. Kashyap added, “I am trained in the use of insulin pumps, which can be used in place of insulin shots. Pumps release the medication automatically, and there are fewer needle sticks.”

But diabetes treatment is not all about medication. Diabetes is a “lifestyle disease,” caused and exacerbated by poor diet and inactivity as well as genetics.

Dr. Kashyap said, “I spend a lot of time with my patients talking about meal plans and exercise habits. It can be difficult to convince patients of the long-term benefits of these changes because sometimes serious diabetic complications may take several decades to develop. Many adult diabetics don’t even have the most common symptoms: fatigue, increased thirst, frequent urination and blurry vision.”

About half of those diagnosed with diabetes decide to change their lifestyle.

“If we catch diabetes early, and significant lifestyle changes are made, in some cases it can even be reversed. But I must have the patient’s participation. My job is to empower people to make the changes they need to make. If you have diabetes, you have to live with it, but I’m here to help you with that.”

Fauquier Health Endocrinology
550 Hospital Drive (at Fauquier Health Medical Center on Hospital Hill)
Warrenton, VA 20186
Main number: 540.316.5940
Main Fax line: 540.316.5941


Special Programs for Diabetics

Diabetes and You
What: Dr. Deepak Kashyap, a board certified physician in Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, will discuss diabetes prevention. Find out who is at risk for diabetes; the signs and symptoms of diabetes; how diabetes develops, and what changes you can make to reduce your risk of diabetes and protect your health.
When: Thursday, November 13, at 7 p.m.
Where: Sycamore Room B at Fauquier Hospital
Information: Registration required. Call 540.316.3588.


Self-Management Training
Classes on diabetes self-management are offered at Fauquier Health’s L.I.F.E. Center in Warrenton.
Participants learn the basics of managing diabetes, including nutrition, monitoring, problem solving, activity goals, stress and complication prevention. A free glucometer, test strips and lancets are given out, and those who enroll are signed up for a free L.I.F.E. Center membership while they are enrolled in the class.
The self-management sessions, which require a doctor’s referral, include two one-hour, one-on-one classes with diabetes educators Aren Dodge and Dottie Williams. Eight hours of group classes follow, offered weekends, evenings or day times.
The classes are covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. More information is available by calling the L.I.F.E. Center at 540.316.2652.

Diabetes Support Group
The Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center hosts a free Fauquier Diabetes Support Group on the second Thursday of every other month. The group will meet from 6-7 p.m. in Studio 1 on November 13 and January 8, 2009.
The group will be for anyone in the community with any type of diabetes, as well as his or her support person.

More information is available by calling the L.I.F.E. Center at 540.316.2652.

Diabetes Program at the Free Clinic
In addition to its regular health clinic, the Fauquier Free Clinic has a diabetic specialty clinic that meets once a month by appointment. Three doctors participate in the special program: Dr. Michael Ackerman, Dr. Bill Simpson and Dr. Kevin McCarthy.
The patients benefit from extra attention, shorter wait times, group classes about diabetes management, and seeing the same volunteer physician each time they come.
Operating since 2003, the diabetes clinic serves about 35 patients, mostly those who can benefit from additional education about their disease, or who have had a particularly difficult time controlling their blood sugars.