Ebert Children’s Clinic expands to family care, celebrates National Nurse Practitioner Week
November 11, 2013
For the past 13 years Dr. Chris Ebert-Santos has been serving as Summit County's pediatrician at Ebert Children's Clinic in Frisco. She's now expanding to adult care and will officially rename her practice Ebert Family Clinic in January.
"It will be nice to be able to take care of the parents of children I'm already caring for," she said.
As part of the expansion process, Ebert recently hired family nurse practitioner (NP) Laura Amedro. Nov. 10 to 16 marks National Nurse Practitioner Week, a campaign by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) to raise awareness about the role nurse practitioners play in providing health care.
Amedro started out as a registered nurse, working OB-GYN and then critical care. She then got her graduate degree, a master's in nursing, which included a family nurse practitioner degree as well.
"It's an alternative to going to a traditional [doctor]," Amedro said. "Patients can use a nurse practitioner as their primary care provider."
A nurse practitioner can diagnose and treat patients, much like a regular medical doctor. They are able to prescribe medicine, order X-rays and other diagnostic tests, as well as conduct physicals, wellness exams, and treat chronic issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
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There are more than 171,000 nurse practitioners in America today, and approximately two-thirds of Americans have seen an NP for their primary care needs.
"Americans make over 970 million visits to NPs every year, making NPs the health care providers of choice for millions of patients," said David Hebert, chief executive officer of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, in a prepared statement. "Now more than ever, AANP wants to encourage people to look toward NPs for their primary health care needs."
For Amedro, being able to take care of the new transition to family care has been exciting so far. She said the clinic is accepting new adult patients even now, before the official expansion.
"This is an incredible opportunity for me, to design it how I want to design it," Amedro said. "I've really been able to take the reins on this new expansion."
Recent changes to health care also motivated Ebert to transition to a more family oriented clinic. Because the law now requires preventive care, such as physicals, pap smears, vaccines and lab tests be covered by insurance, with no copays or deductibles, Ebert said it will require more providers, since more people will be receiving medical care.
"All the time I've been here, I've had people come to me and ask if I take care of adults," she said. "Some people couldn't get access, couldn't afford to see other doctors or get an appointment — they wanted to come to my clinic. Now they can."
Ebert said having such an established presence in the community will help make expanding to adult care easy. Having Amedro as part of the staff has increased the number of patients the team is able to care for. The clinic is also planning to add another internal medical doctor.
"It adds a great deal of person-to-person time for us," Ebert said. "We can expand appointment times and spend more time filling peoples' needs and talking to them about issues."
Amedro said she feels lucky the clinic is able to expand to help others in the community, and is looking forward to showing even more people what a nurse practitioner can do.
"I was trained under a nursing background, which is a holistic way of delivering care," she said. "I take into account the entire aspect of someone. I like to listen to patients, I'm still a nurse at heart."