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Grants Pass man slims down, sheds medications and feels better after getting patient care focused on wellness โ€” not illness

Rogue Medicine, Grants Pass, Oregon

Richard McClanahan *after*
A slimmer, healthier McClanahan after participating in the wellness program.

When Richard McClanahan shows his Oregon driver's license to people, he can see the look of disbelief on their faces.

"Yep, that's me, really," he tells them. The photo on McClanahan's ID looks a lot different from how he looks now. He is 40 pounds lighter. He has gone from a 44 inch waist to a 38. And, those XXL t-shirts he used to wear? They are a thing of the past.

"People tell me I should go get a new photo but I want to keep it. It reminds me of where I don't want to be," said McClanahan, 74, of Grants Pass.

Even more important than how he looks are the improvements to his health. He suffered from hypertension, high blood pressure, gout, arthritis and high cholesterol. Through changed eating habits and weight loss, he no longer has to take a half-dozen medications he used to.

"I feel great," he says.

McClanahan has been a patient of Heather Kahn, M.D., at her Rogue Medicine clinic in Grants Pass since 2004. About a year ago, he enrolled in its wellness and nutrition program, which includes office visits with Cindy O'Dell, a certified nutritionist.

Richard McClanahan *before*
Before McClanahan began the wellness program.

Kahn, an independent physician, also has a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a medical assistant and office staff in her rural practice, which has about 3,500 patients. Kahn first started offering wellness and nutrition visits to her patients like McClanahan with chronic health conditions.

"I was always talking to my patients about illness and not wellness. Wellness is knowing what's important to them. What motivates them to be healthy to enjoy life? I ask patients what their five-year wellness plan is. We do financial planning, why not wellness planning?" Kahn said.

This new approach to wellness helped Kahn earn recognition by the state as a Tier 3 Patient-Centered Primary Care Home, the highest a clinic can achieve. She now offers wellness visits to all of her patients 66 and older. Rogue Medicine is part of the new AllCare Health Plan, Inc., a Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) serving Oregon Health Plan clients in Curry, Josephine, Jackson and parts of Douglas counties. In addition, Kahn also partners with a local volunteer network called RSVP. Volunteerism has been shown to help patients with depression by connecting them more with their community, Kahn said.

"The wellness approach has changed the energy in my office. We get information about what each of our patients want. One heart failure patient wants to go to Yellowstone National Park with her grandson. We are working to make that happen โ€“ getting her heart issues under control and educating her about the effects of heart failure at the higher elevations in Yellowstone. These are the reasons we are living. These are the things that motivate people to be well," Kahn said.

Learn more and find out if there is a Patient-Centered Primary Care Home in your area.