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Monday, December 03, 2012
IHC Provider Spotlight: Rural Physician of Excellence Award winners

This post is part of the IHC Provider Spotlight series that will periodically highlight IHC providers for their achievements or for their approach to providing medical homes to IHC clients.

The Illinois Rural Health Association (IRHA) has honored five physicians with the 2012 Rural Physician of Excellence Award, including four doctors who work at Rural Health Centers (RHC) enrolled as medical homes with Illinois Health Connect.

The 2012 honorees are: Dr. Katherine Austman (Family Healthcare of Gibson), Dr. Philip Siefken (Greenville Medical Associates), Dr. Reid Sutton (Family Medical Center in Paris), Dr. Penelope Tippy (West Frankfort Family Medicine) and Dr. Timothy Garrett. Each of the winners were honored this fall in a ceremony in their community.

Calling the shortage of physicians in rural areas one of the nation's "biggest challenges in healthcare," the IRHA developed the Rural Physician of Excellence Award to recognize those doctors who have accepted the calling to serve rural communities and go out of their way to make an impact. Illinois Health Connect, SIU Medical School and Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services were the award sponsors for 2012.

Dr. Austman is the Chief of Medical Staff at Gibson Area Hospital. Serving a rural community has been her focus since she graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford's R-Med Program, which prepares doctors to practice in a rural setting.

Dr. Austman is certified in neonatal resuscitation, advanced life support for obstetrics, pediatric advanced life support and advanced cardiac life support. In servicing her community, Dr. Austman sometimes treats patients at her home when her clinic is closed.

"It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of my profession," Dr. Austman said. "Though I feel very grateful to receive this accomplishment, I would also like to recognize the staff of Family Health Care of Gibson City -- Nela Medina, Rikki Ricketts, and Sherry McCrants -- who help me every day in providing such a high level of care to our patients. This would also not be possible without the support of my family, friends and community."

Dr. Siefken is board certified in both pediatrics and family practice. According to IRHA, Dr. Siefken is the only pediatrician in Bond County. He was honored in recognition of his dedication to improving healthcare in southern Illinois.

In addition to working at Greenville Medical Associates, Dr. Siefken is on staff at Greenville Regional Hospital. He previously worked and taught in Indiana after completing his residency at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He returned to his hometown of Greenville in 2006.

"I really appreciated the opportunity to win this award amongst my family, friends, patients and co-workers," Siefken said. "It is wonderful that the IRHA recognizes the hard work rural physicians provide."

Dr. Sutton, a family physician, is the Chief Medical Director at Paris Community Hospital/Family Medical Center where he has worked for 35 years. He is the supervising physician for the PCH/FMC weekend walk-in clinic, is the medical director at several nursing homes and works closely with a home for the disabled.

The IRHA cited him for the compassion he shows for his county's most vulnerable citizens residents: the seniors and those with developmental disabilities.

"On behalf of the medical staff, we couldn't be more proud," said Dr. Leland Phipps, who is a colleague at PCH/FMC. "(Dr. Sutton) is astute, kind, and always a gentleman. His excellence doesn't just start and stop at the clinic door. It also includes his service to the community and this institution."

Dr. Tippy, who recently retired as the Director of the Southern Illinois University Family Medicine Residency Program, is the medical director for the SIU Family Practice Centers in Carbondale, Sesser and West Frankfort. She also is the Medical Director for the Physician Assistant Programs at SIU and St. Louis University.

The IRHA noted that Dr. Tippy's affect on healthcare extends beyond the patients she treated. Through teaching in the family practice residency program and the physician assistant programs, Dr. Tippy has indirectly improved the health of numerous others.

"Dr. Tippy's contribution to the healthcare system in Southern Illinois is beyond measure," said Dr. Robert Wesley, who is a IRHA board member and the Executive Director for Regional Medical Programs at SIU Medical School. "When she assumed directorship, the SIU Carbondale Family Practice Residency Program was in perilous straits. Her strength, determination and dedication saved the program from tumbling over the brink. Under her guidance, the program became one of the premier rural family medicine residency programs in the nation."

Sunday, December 02, 2012
IHC catches up with osteopathic providers

Making a fifth consecutive appearance at the Illinois State Osteopathic Medical Society (IOMS) Annual Meeting, Illinois Health Connect staffed a booth in the exhibit hall at the event held November 30 and December 1 in Lombard.

IHC Provider Training Specialist Danielle Parrillo interacted with a variety of osteopathic providers, educating them further about the IHC program.

The learning objectives during the two days IHC was at the event included: integrative therapies, nutrition communication, cardiac emergencies, pulmonary embolisms, podiatric skin conditions, rheumatology injections and aspirations for primary care, and interventional modalities to treat chronic pain.

Friday, November 30, 2012
ISMS discusses the business side of health practices

Illinois Health Connect Provider Services Trainer Danielle Parrillo staffed a booth in the exhibit hall at an Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) and Chicago Medical Society CME event titled "Time For a Checkup: Improving the Business Side of Your Practice," which was held November 29 in Des Plaines.

It was the second consecutive year IHC attended this event. Ms. Parrillo educated primary care providers and specialists in attendance about the IHC program.

The learning objectives for the event included: assessing important trends in managed care contracting, building and sustaining a productive and positive work environment and distinguishing hidden sources of stress in a practice and learning how to eliminate them.

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