“Your family is our family,” explains Office Manager Brenda Glass, who proudly describes generations of care offered by Huntsville Family Medicine. The practice is located in the Medical Office Park of Huntsville, Texas, just a few minutes from Interstate 45 and tucked behind Huntsville Memorial Hospital.
“We have served so many Huntsville and surrounding area families for such a long time that they are like our own families,” she says. Glass joined the practice in 1982, fresh out of high school and ready to work. She “grew up” in her first job in medical records, eventually promoting to office manager. Today she manages a lively staff of 18, including clinical employees and seven front office workers, all supporting a team of five physicians. Glass oversees office functions including billing, records, insurance filing, front office check-in procedures, and she also supervises a clinical coordinator handling medical issues.
Five partner physicians direct Huntsville Family Medicine, working daily in 15 patient rooms. Four of the physicians are board certified in family practice, and one is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. They all share a tradition of continued, quality service to Huntsville.
Lawrence H. Wells, M.D., has resided in Huntsville since 1986 and joined Huntsville Family Medicine in 1997. His specialty is family practice, and he serves a large population of senior patients. Family practice is also the focus of Isnardo E. Tremor, M.D., who came to Huntsville in 1996 and Robert Fernandez, M.D., who joined the practice in 2002. Mary Rosenquist, D.O., has been practicing in Huntsville since 2008, and she is also board certified in family practice, serving another large portion of the practice’s senior patients. Fifth physician Shao-Jen Chang, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. He has served Huntsville’s medical needs since 2000.
“We serve patients from the cradle to the grave,” Glass explains, “from birth to death. We handle all aspects of the patient’s care, and then we refer them to specialists when needed. Each physician sees about 20-25 patients per day, five days a week. This gives us about 100 or so patients every day, Monday through Friday. We also have physicians who are accepting new Medicare patients, which is a big plus for our community.”
Glass and the front-office crew form a hive of activity. Rows of office cabinets and walls of office planning charts flank the women, who offer easy smiles and encouragement to patients entering the facility. All the while, phones ring, fax machines come to life, radio station KSAM fills the air, and three or more layers of conversations fill the place. It’s hectic, but happy.
“It’s fun to be here, because the front office staff is homegrown,” Brenda says. “Our receptionists Jaqui and Katie have worked here almost 20 years, and our referral coordinator Kara Pavelock has worked here 30-plus years. When patients check in, they know our people already; our employees are often already friends with their families.” Receptionist Jaqui Christ, a Huntsville native, agrees. She is positive and energetic in an environment where pain and discomfort can frequently make an appearance. “Every day is a different day, and I love helping patients out when they are sick,” she says. “We’ve dealt with a lot of the same people over the years, and it’s a very comfortable relationship. It makes it easier for us to help them in difficult times.” Along with managing tasks like checking patients in and out, collecting co-pays, and verifying insurance information, Jaqui and her coworker Katie Davison may find themselves offering visitors a cup of coffee, helping patients in and out of cars, or rewarding a sticker to the child who just got a shot.
Along with sharing personal care with generations of Walker County residents, Huntsville Family Medicine is proud of its new advances in technology. “We are fortunate to have a full-service laboratory and x-ray department on site,” Glass says. “We don’t have to send patients elsewhere for these services.
“We also have a new website (huntsvillefamilymed.com) so patients can become familiar with their doctors and the rest of our staff,” she says. “It’s set up to save time for patients needing information from our office.” The updated site has a special tab for patients, so they can go online, pull up their new patient registration packet, and have it filled out before their office visit. This fall, the site has a new patient portal that will allow patients private access to their medical records, medication lists, appointments and personal history with the facility — and even offer a place to request refills for medications. “Our site allows patients who are online to take care of their needs after-hours without having to wait for the office to open,” Glass said.
“We are also fully electronic with our health records, a service that’s not offered by every medical facility. It took two years of the office staff scanning about 10,000-plus patient records to do this, and it’s a huge step forward. It helps physicians quickly access records online or share records with patients via the online portal. This makes it easier to maintain continuity of care when care is needed elsewhere.”
As autumn begins, Huntsville Family Medicine is bracing for winter respiratory illnesses and encouraging patients to get flu shots. A new influx of temporary SHSU Bearkat patients also returns to the practice, and the resident patient list lengthens. “As Huntsville grows, we have seen an increase in the number of patients, with an average five or six new people signing in every day,” Glass says.
Along with accommodating technological change and new growth, Huntsville Family Medicine works to keep up with changing government regulations.
“The most challenging aspect of working in health care right now is dealing with the ongoing change of government regulations,” Glass says. “Each year there are new requirements, such as changing our office coding systems and moving medical records to electronic versions. The changes are intended to help the patient, but they are very challenging to implement. We are working hard to keep up with this.”
“Despite the challenges, we enjoy what we do,” Glass says. ”We are professional, but laid back. Patient care is taken seriously, but we have an enjoyable atmosphere here. We like the people we work with, and our doctors are great doctors. We are looking forward to a long future of personal service to our hometown.”