I’m wondering if our local families understand and take advantage of the benefits of well-child checks. Well child checks are important tools for you and your doctor to make sure your child is developing right and to screen for common problems that appear at specific ages.
What happens at a well-child visit? We check your child’s growth and development, looking at their height, weight, and head size as compared to other kids their age and gender. This can tell us if there are trends that need attention. We also check age-appropriate milestones, social behaviors and learning. We make sure your baby is able to do the things he/she should be doing by certain ages. If we find a problem, we make recommendations: continue to monitor, send to a specialist to evaluate, or get specialized services or therapy starting at an age young enough to make a difference. We also talk about nutrition and safety in the home and community. At well child checks, we discuss immunizations to prevent illness. At the Perry Memorial Walnut Clinic and our other Perry Clinics, we offer immunizations for children whose insurance cover them. If your insurance doesn’t cover immunizations, we discuss with you when and which vaccines your child needs to get at the health department – who typically can provide these necessary immunizations for free or at a reduced cost to children without insurance or who are underinsured.
Most insurances cover wellness exams 100%, especially for kids. Check with your insurance provider to be sure. Well-child checks are for healthy kids who are growing and seldom go to the doctor, as well as for children who are seeing doctors regularly due to chronic health issues.
In my office, I like to see kids at the following intervals starting from their newborn checkup (2-5 days old), 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months. Then in the second and year, we would see them at 15 months and then every 6 months (18 months, 24 and 30 months of age) until they are 3. Starting at age 3, we would then like to see the kids yearly until they are 21. Their birth month is a good time to remember to schedule these visits, or you could do it in the summer when the children are off school.
In the summertime (or any time of the year) we can incorporate school and sports physicals with the well-child check. Keep in mind the well child visit and physical are not interchangeable. The well-child check is much more comprehensive than the school or sports exams and is intended to catch any health problems early on. Because of the wide range covered during the exam we can fill out the any required forms pertaining to the physical during this visit to save you time or an additional appointment.
Before you bring your child to the clinic for his/her wellness exam, make a list of topics you want to discuss with us, whether it be about how much sleep your baby should be getting, is a certain behavior normal, what and how much should they be eating, or maybe small health issues like skin lesions that you’ve deemed too minor to make an appointment for.
Regular wellness exams help your provider get to know your child and the family, so that they can know when something is amiss. This consistency helps develop that medical home, where everyone knows your name.
Remember as you are making plans this summer, think about scheduling well child exams for your kids if they haven’t had one, need to get caught up on them, and especially if they need to get vaccines, or need physicals for camp, school or sports.
In rural areas, the average person has to drive more than 30 minutes to reach the nearest healthcare facility. That travel time can make the difference between life and death. In Princeton and the surrounding areas, the community has benefited from having a strong, progressive hospital for the past 100 years, ready to meet the needs of anyone walking through its doors. Perry Memorial Hospital’s leadership is now considering what needs to be done to ensure the community’s healthcare needs can continue to be met far into the future.
Mayor Joel Quiram, Annette Schnabel, Perry Memorial Hospital CEO/President, and Perry board members traveled on December 10 to OSF/St. Paul Hospital in Mendota to visit with the president and board members who oversaw the transition of Mendota Hospital to full affiliation with OSF.
Annette Schnabel said, “The visit provided an understanding of the impact of OSF full affiliation at the community, employee, and service levels.”
The original existing hospital built in 1951 needed $24 million of improvements to bring the hospital up to current regulations. It’s location of 1315 Memorial Drive was landlocked, which prevented future expansion. On December 7, 2011, the doors opened to a new $30 million state-of-the-art facility at 1401 East 12th Street in Mendota. The decision to invest in a new building was the best alternative for the future of community healthcare. However, the revenue did not grow, costs rose, and the cash on hand was used to operate the hospital. It was time for hospital leadership to consider other options.
Mendota, like Perry, was an OSF affiliate. After interviewing multiple health systems, OSF was selected as the best potential partner for future community health due to the established relationship and the expertise and vision of OSF. Mendota’s board members in attendance could not have been happier with their decision; without the full affiliation with OSF, the current hospital would probably be an empty building.
Growth at OSF/St. Paul, Mendota has taken place since full affiliation in April 2015. Mendota Hospital originally offered four primary care physicians – one APP, one general surgeon, one orthopedic and one part-time gynecologist. All remained except full-time orthopedics due to population and demographic needs, so it was transitioned to a part-time service.
Today, Mendota’s onsite care has grown with a focus on primary care and now has five primary care physicians, five APPs, one general surgeon, one part-time gynecologist and one part-time orthopedic surgeon. With the resource of the OSF regional ministry, TeleHealth and shared services have grown with the addition of TeleNeurology, TeleEpilepsy, TeleSleep, and EICU.
The full affiliation allows OSF/St. Paul, Mendota to anticipate and adjust to meet the needs of all patients, even when there is an influx of inpatient stays beyond the capacity of the hospital. Their structure actually includes keeping patients at home where they receive local care, and it removes the need to be transitioned to another hospital far away from home.
Witnessing the outcomes in Mendota will help to guide the ongoing discussions between Perry and OSF. Perry’s executive team and board members are committed to finding a long-term solution that ensures Princeton and the surrounding communities have access to quality healthcare for another 100 years. They will continue to evaluate if and how a partnership with OSF would be the best long-term solution.