New physicians put the family first  

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Dr. Jamie Broekhuizen, D.O., says she gets "a bang out of working with kids" and enjoys treating the whole family.

6 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A DOCTOR

1. Where is the practice located?

2. Is the physician in your insurer's network?

3. Where are routine X-rays and lab studies performed?

4. How long must you wait for an appointment after you call? Can you be seen on the same day if you have an urgent need?

5. If you call with a question about your care, does a doctor or nurse return the call promptly?

6. Who covers for the physician when she is away?

Adapted from http://www.webmd.com/menopause/menopause-how-to-choose-a-doctor; Dr. Maureen Dela Cruz, MD and Dr. Jamie Broekhuizen, DO.

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The new family medicine physicians at KishHealth Physician Group are eager to spend as much time on the "family" aspect of their practice as the "medicine" side.

"Getting to know a family's dynamics" can really play into how a physician will work to manage patients' health, not just their illnesses, said Dr. Jamie Broekhuizen, D.O., who joined the group in Sandwich in the late spring.

"I really enjoy working with patients of all ages. And I get a bang out of taking care of kids...you never know what is going to come out of their mouths," she observed.

Broekhuizen, 33, and Dr. Maureen Dela Cruz, M.D., 34, who also started with the group in the spring, work some complementary hours so that one of the female doctors is regularly available during office hours.

"At some point in their lives, especially around menopause, some women would prefer to see a female physician,'' Broekhuizen said. "Our practice offers that opportunity.''

And because she is trained as a doctor of osteopathy, her approach is very holistic.

Broekhuizen practiced the last two years in an outpatient family medicine clinic in Holland, Mich. Because she is new to the area, she said she encourages families to talk to her before they need medical care, so the first urgent appointment is not the first meeting for doctor and patient.

"I feel there is a right doctor out there for each person,'' she said. "It's best if the patient feels comfortable right away, and that helps build a very good relationship that will lead to more openness."

Dela Cruz last worked at a multispecialty clinic in suburban Houston, where the population was far larger than the Sandwich area.

"I'm more comfortable working in this kind of environment where your patients are less mobile and will probably be with you for a long time," Dela Cruz said.

And, Dela Cruz she said she enjoys spending time working with patients on disease prevention, which "really helps develop a strong doctor/patient relationship." Like Broekhuizen, she chose family practice so she could also get to know patients as part of a family unit, and so that she could attend to different needs as people age.

"I want people to feel comfortable telling me about their symptoms,'' she said. "If they don't open up, it will be difficult to get the whole picture. You need to have a personal relationship with your patients in this area."

Being located on the Valley West Community Hospital campus also makes it convenient for patients to access most of their care in one setting. The physician group can secure samples for the lab in its office, and the analysis will be conducted at the hospital nearby. X-rays are available at the hospital on the same campus.

The doctors work out of the medical office building on the campus of Valley West Hospital. The office is at 1310 N. Main St., #208, Sandwich; (815) 786-3770.

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