Publishers note: This is a true story of a patient's actual reflections in his own words. The patient's name is changed for HIPAA privacy reasons. It was originally published in part last year and is reprinted for Men's Health Month in June

MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ - Healthcare has been at a crossroads in many areas for years now. Technological advances create opportunities and challenges for healthcare providers and patients alike. Patient portals and automation are intersecting with direct one on one patient contact like never before.  Also the insurance marketplace reforms (such as the Affordable Care Act and numerous state mandates) have created options that were previously not available. At the same time, costs have continued to skyrocket.

While these undulations provide a compelling backstory, there is one immutable fact: Every day people need professional guidance and help with their healthcare: one on one, face to face, provider to patient. It cannot be replaced. This is what true healthcare is all about. It is refreshing that, on a rainy Saturday morning, while many folks are hunkered down for the recent Nor’easter rain, that is exactly what happened for a local patient from Holmdel Township.

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The local resident (we will call him Michael for privacy reasons)  went to visit Dr. Mulholland’s beautiful new Mulholland Medical Group's Shrewsbury Office.  Publisher Jeanne Wall heard his exclusive story:

“I actually scheduled the appointment a long time ago. More accurately, they scheduled it. I was at work and the phone rang. It was Dr. Mulholland’s office. They said that based on their information, I was due for a physical and other items due to age and prior medical history. I told them that I cannot meet during the week very easily so I would have to call back at another time. Much to my surprise, she told me that I can come in on a Saturday! That was really surprising so I made an appointment.”

He continued to describe how simply getting to a doctor is often a chore and that, since he felt pretty good, he wasn’t too worried about it. In fact, he said he forgot he had an appointment at all.

“So, I got another call to remind me about my appointment. That was a surprise but even more so was that the call was from an actual person. I like that.” He said.

Mulholland Medical Group has many convenient locations. Michael was able to go to a location he preferred and at a time and day of his choosing. They offer Middletown Hazlet, Shrewsbury and Red bank. Michael chose Shrewsbury for the visit.

Shrewsbury Family Medicine is managed by Nurse Practitioner Dana Essner . According to their website, Essner has been a nurse practitioner for almost 20 years. She is double board certified in both pediatric and family medicine.  She received her BA in English from Florida Atlantic University and her MS in Nursing from Seton Hall University.  She also completed a Post Masters Degree from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She is a member of the College of Lifestyle Medicine, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. Essner has been with IMA since 2015.  Prior to joining IMA, she worked as a Nurse Practitioner in the emergency room of Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank. Essner continues to further her education and is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice through the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Michael's story continues:

“I called them in the morning to confirm and they were so polite. I jumped on the parkway, got off at 109 and was there in about 12 minutes from Holmdel. There is plenty  of parking and the office complex is beautiful and brand new. They are located on the second floor and the elevator is right there. There was no wait.” Michael described his visit:

“I was greeted and walked back to be weighed. We reviewed several questions and took my blood pressure. My blood pressure was taken (125 over 72 – not too bad!). Then, the visit became more detailed. They did a full EKG. This gave me some pause and imagine my relief when I was told that my heart rate was 100% perfect. I was reminded at that moment how critical it is to have annual checkups”. This checkup was just getting started.

“Another professional came in and she was as nice as the first fellow. She asked me a few questions as well and documented everything on the computer. We did a blood sample to measure things like PSA, Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Glucose and many other things that apply to my gender and age group. I am not a fan of needles and I have to say this was easy. She knew what she was doing and it made me quite comfortable."

He continued. "After the blood draw I met with a third professional, Lexi Ruane, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, a Nurse Practitioner. She reviewed my entire file and performed numerous other exams of my eyes, ears, nose, throat, lymph nodes and lungs. I may be missing a few details!  There was one moment where I felt ahead of things which was their question about getting me scheduled for a routine colonoscopy. I actually had that scheduled but needed to delay it. I was given a friendly reminder to not wait any longer.”  Lexi asked me if there was anything else on my mind. Having a moment to think about it, I did need to see a dermatologist for a few (I think minor) items. We discussed the options and she provided references that I will contact this coming week.”

Michael said he went to the visit to get a check up without thinking too much about it but after the experience he had a new appreciation for patient focused advocacy and care.

“They called me because they knew it was time. An appointment was set up for a Saturday which allows me to not take time from work. They reminded me with a personal call. When I went there during the Saturday storm, I saw not one but three different care providers. Exam, blood work, EKG, blood pressure and something called a ‘pulse oximeter’ to measure oxygen levels. All were so friendly and professional. Oh, and they also gave me a flu shot. I wouldn’t have thought about that for a minute but with children at home it was so easy to have it completed in one visit.”

TAPinto thanked Michael for his time and asked one more question: “Anything else you liked?”

“Yes” he said. “No Co-Pay!” Most medical plans in the area are required to pay 100% for a routine preventive screening each and every year. 

We thought the story ended there but TAPinto received a follow up call. "They called me to update me on my lab results: said Michael. "I was shocked as my triglyceride levels are very high." He went on to say that while he was excited about the other results, the news of the high trigliceride levels has him making lifestyle modifications. "Glad I came in out of the rain. I have work to do to stay healthy for my family and myself."

Shrewsbury Family Medicine practices general medicine, well visits, sick visits, CDL physicals, workman’s compensation, lyme disease testing,  school and sports physicals.  Shrewsbury Family Medicine is open 6 days a week for appointments and morning hours on Saturday. Their Registered Dietitian is available for appointments Saturday mornings. Shrewsbury Family Medicine accepts patients ages 2 and up.

Men's Health Matters! Be like Michael and set up an appointment during Men's Health Month.

Check out today and schedule an appointment - experience what professional, caring healthcare can do for you and your family.