Healthcare for the whole family

Rangely Family Medicine’s Shelby Lindsay, nurse practitioner, talks with a little patient while listening to his heart. Lindsay greets children in a pair of “bear feet” slippers that make them giggle and feel more comfortable visiting the doctor’s office. Brittny Campos Photo

By BRITTNY CAMPOS

Special to the Herald Times

RANGELY | Rangely Community Medical Health and Wellness Center is a campus which houses many different departments. One of the departments is Rangely Family Medicine, the facility’s clinic. Rangely Family Medicine has care for all ages. In recent years the clinic has gained two permanent doctors and a permanent nurse practitioner. Dr. Abigail Urish was a driving force in making the clinic more kid-friendly.

“Family medicine is the medical care for all age groups. One of the things I had noticed here in Rangely was how many families whose parents were coming to us but were still driving one-plus hours to have their children get their care.  Unfortunately, when we first moved here, there were some who still considered our clinic as an urgent care only to be visited when kids or adults have little illnesses but our practice wants to keep people healthy by doing wellness annual visits. So we felt making a child friendly waiting room and pediatric room could help acknowledge our ability to give immunizations and do well child visits as well as manage sick visits,” Urish said. For a lot of parents in Rangely, this is wonderful. The pediatric room has been decorated in a space theme with toys, books and the occasional movie playing to help the kids feel more comfortable during their visits.

The reading nook in the waiting room has given the kids a little more to do while they wait for their appointments. The reading nook is part of an initiative to get parents to read to their kids more.

“We are part of the Reach Out and Read national program, actually highlighted recently in the Colorado branch newsletter, and as such we give out books during our well child visits from 6 months to 5 years. The program has improved literacy rates in children entering school—on average scoring six months ahead of peers not in the program—and so we want to offer whatever shows a health benefit, of which health literacy is clearly important. Having such an obvious reading nook in our waiting room with the great underwater theme has made a lot of people realize more of the services available here in Rangely that can save driving and make life easier for whole families to be seen by the same doctor. We also got training last year to offer fluoride and dental screenings at our well child visits to promote dental health and reduce cavities,” Urish said.

Asked about how the clinic has changed since the opening, Urish confirmed the clinic has seen an increase in the pediatric population since opening the pediatric room. They have changed policies to make sure that patients who have listed Rangely Family Medicine providers as their pediatrician or primary care provider can be scheduled for a same day visit for really sick children. They have also worked to make services to keep children healthy more accessible and available. Urish thinks that has helped decrease sick visits.

“Rangely Family Medicine is dedicated to providing high quality care. We offer a full range of comprehensive, preventive care services for all ages. We are able to provide to our veterans, medical care and referrals saving them long trips to Grand Junction and Salt Lake. Our staff have spent the last five years engaged in practice transformations,” said  Tammy Dunker, Rangely Family Medicine clinic manager. “Our efforts have improved our processes which enabled us to give the same care you would expect to find in the bigger city systems and still get the close one on one relationship you would hope to find in a small town,” Dunker said. The clinic provides scheduled visits, same-day appointments and evening walk-in clinics, all conveniently located.

Many rural clinics struggle to get providers to even come for shifts, let alone live and assimilate into the communities they serve. Rangely’s providers live in and participate with the community.

The pediatric room was introduced in 2016 and has been a great addition to the clinic, according to Dunker, providing a child-friendly space that can deliver the care in an environment kids can relate to.

“We provide the same testing, protocols, checkups and immunizations you would find going to your pediatrician without having to travel so far to get it,” Dunker said.  They also participate with the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program which allows them to give vaccines at no charge for children who have no insurance or Medicaid.

Rangely Family Medicine has gone through many changes over the years. The clinic is working hard to keep our community members close and still get the care they need and want. Rangely Family Medicine accepts patients of all ages and has an after-hours clinic Monday-Friday 5-6 p.m.