Top-notch physician care is right here in Grand County |

Top-notch physician care is right here in Grand County

James G. Kennedy, MD
President-elect, American Board of Family Medicine

I am proud of the care that we all receive in Grand County. I would like to brag about the quality of care that is available in this mostly rural county. The recent provider changes gives us an opportunity to educate and reassure everyone about the outstanding care that is available here at home. Secondly, although we will now qualify as a rural health shortage area, there is plenty of capacity to absorb all of the patients of the practices that are closing.

The American Board of Family Medicine certifies about 88,000 family physicians in the United States. I am happy to note that all of the family physicians in Grand County are board certified. We are the second largest certifying board. We work closely with the American Boards of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine to assure the public that all board certified primary care physicians are qualified to provide exemplary care to everyone. These three boards certify about 90 percent of the physicians in the U.S., and we are proud of those who maintain their certification through yearly training, testing and educational activities.

Every board certified physician in Grand County is able to provide care for children and adults of all ages for the majority of their health care needs. We are trained to provide or guide the care of all patients. Health care access can be complex and we are trained to assist in finding the right providers when subspecialist care is required. Every family doctor has completed at least 12,000 hours of training through medical school and residency. Training includes the care of adults, children, women’s health care and obstetrics. Many family physicians have more intense training in acute care and trauma, office orthopedics, geriatrics and other care needs. We all have over 3,000 hours in training in the care of children and adolescents, which makes us well qualified to care for children, even those with extraordinary needs. Knowing everyone in a family can make all the difference. Studies over the last 15 years have shown that the outcome of care by family physicians and pediatricians is equivalent. The rates of referral for subspecialty care is also similar, meaning that any care that cannot be rendered in either office requires the same types of subspecialty consultation.

I know in our practice, we provide care for children who just need regular care and who also may have complicated needs. Included in this group are kids with mental health issues, heart, lung or other problems. I believe our scope of care is similar to all county practices.

Every provider may refer certain patient problems at different rates, but all providers will have the experience to care for or find the right care for you. The level of care is great in all of our practices. Although we have too few pregnancies to perform deliveries in Grand County, prenatal care with delivery out of county is also provided in some practices.

I would encourage everyone to access their primary care in Grand County. Find a practice that suits your family’s needs and your personality. I am confident that you will find the right care, at the right time, in the right way to satisfy 90 percent of your health care needs. Stay in county, the more we use our resources, the more resources will become available.

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