By PENNY FLETCHER
Some patients are loyal to their doctor no matter how far they have to drive. That’s because they say they give them the kind of care they need when they need it.
Karl Ohlrich of Palmetto has been driving the 30-mile distance to Apollo Beach for more than 35 years to see Dr. Frederick Taylor.
About 15 years ago, Dr. Vincent Laganella joined Taylor in his practice. But the Apollo Beach office is set to close in November.
No, that isn’t bad news!
The two doctors have accepted two of three positions to lead the family practice at the new St. Joseph’s-South Physician Office Building at 10141 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview that held its Open House Sept. 14.
Joining them there is Dr. Moriam Ayo-Amu, a Ruskin resident, who Taylor says was chosen because of her excellence in family practice while working in St. Petersburg.
All three work with HealthPoint, which belongs to the BayCare system that is providing care for patients at the new facility that has been built in front of what will soon be the new St. Joseph’s Hospital-South, patterned after the hospital in Tampa.
“This medical facility is a pilot for St. Josephs,” said Taylor in an interview in his office the day before the Open House. “It’s not just for Hillsborough either, it’s also for Pinellas.”
What Taylor is referring to is a concept he says is taking hold all over the country and that BayCare believes is cutting edge.
“We’re rolling this out for other HealthPoint offices, too,” he said. “The concept is giving the patients more preventive care and less hassle. I’ve wanted to do something like this since 1975 but until the St. Joseph’s system, I haven’t been able to implement it fully.”
They call it “population management,” which breaks down to facts about what each individual patient needs. “If a patient with a chronic condition — like diabetes for instance — is managing really well over a period of time, maybe he or she doesn’t need to come in every three months just to get their meds,” Taylor said. “We have a patient-centered medical home, this way. It isn’t just seeing a doctor. There will be a health coach, and a PCC — a person who calls the patient on a schedule and asks about their regular maintenance, like blood work or tests. That way, if they need something before seeing a doctor, it is already taken care of. The medical visit goes smoothly and they shouldn’t have to keep coming back.”
Taylor has worked with hospitals before, commanding as Chief of Staff at South Bay Hospital more than once while holding the position of Chairman of Internal Medicine.
The new office will take Medicare, certain Medicare and Medicaid HMO’s and other managed plans, and most major insurances, he said.
Pediatric orthopedic surgeons Timothy Bradley and Brian Deignan will see patients at the Big Bend location one day a week to start, Deignan said.
Besides the patient care offices, the building has a state-of-the-art Outpatient Imaging center and a full laboratory.
The Open House had many attractions following a ribbon cutting at noon, from balloon artists, face painting and games for the kids, to a bike safety demonstration, Zumba dancing for exercise, and many types of health screenings.
Staff handpicked from other HealthPoint facilities answered questions about health and diet and took people on tours of the facility. Blood donations went on all day, as residents came and went and “met the docs” who wandered around talking to everyone all afternoon beneath a large tent.