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Salem mother credits patient-centered care for saving son's life
Culver-Truby family - Michael and Sara with Amanda and Andrew
"They listen to our concerns." Sara Culver-Truby talking about being in a patient-centered primary care home.
Sara Culver-Truby at a half-marathon race.

Feb. 13, 2013, (Salem) — Sara Culver-Truby credits the personal touch her family receives through a patient-centered primary care home for possibly saving her teenaged son's life.

It was supposed to be a routine physical so Andrew could join the track team at school. Evelin Dacker, M.D., at Vida Family Medicine listened to his chest. There was a slight murmur in his heart. Dr. Dacker took this seriously and got Andrew Yancey, then 14, in to see a heart specialist. His murmur turned out to be a very serious heart condition, called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM. It is a thickening of the heart muscle. The condition is best known for its role in cardiac arrest and subsequent death in young athletes. It is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 30. It was Vida Family Medicine's patient-centered, personal care that helped save Andrew's life.

"They listen to our concerns. We ask questions and can ask them anything – intimate health things or whatever – and get an answer. They see the patient as a whole person."  ~ Sara Culver-Truby

"Dr. Dacker hears everything a patient is presenting to her. She got him the care he needed. It's just amazing care," said Culver-Truby, a personal chef and flight attendant for a family from San Francisco. Her husband, Michael Truby, a commercial airline pilot, and daughter, Amanda Yancey, 20, are also patients at Vida. Clinics that are officially recognized as Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes foster strong relationships with patients and their families. Primary care homes improve care by catching problems earlier, focusing on prevention, wellness and management of chronic conditions.

"They listen to our concerns. We ask questions and can ask them anything – intimate health things or whatever – and get an answer. They see the patient as a whole person," Culver-Truby said.

"We have an integrated medical practice. We do look at the whole person," says Dacker. "We try to think outside the box to help out patients. We believe it's a partnership between the patient and the health care provider. It's about working together for better health.

One of the things Culver-Truby said she especially likes about Vida's patient-centered care is that all of the health providers for her and her family communicate with each other, and with outside specialists. For example, Andrew, now 18, sees specialists at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and all of his doctors share information to make sure everyone is on the same page.

"I go in and they have all his information," Culver-Truby says.

Dacker says that communication is essential in her patient-centered practice. "We put the patient first before anything."

To find out if there is a patient-centered primary care home near you, or to learn more about the recognition program please visit www.PrimaryCareHome.oregon.gov.