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Things fall into place thanks to patient-centered primary care

Slawson family at Multinomah Falls
The Slawson family, from left: Isaiah, Thomas, Cristy and Nadia at Multnomah Falls.

Nov. 1, 2012 (Gresham) – For the Slawson family, being in a patient-centered primary care home has been a huge stress reliever.

Cristy and Thomas Slawson's son, Isaiah, 6, has spina bifida, a condition in which the bones of the spine don't form properly around the spinal cord. He also has seizures and hydrocephalus, which is an accumulation of fluid inside the skull. He needs: a pediatrician, neurologist, neurosurgeon, urologist, orthopedist, and occupational, physical and speech therapists. It is important that there be coordination and communication among all of these specialists.

"If you’re not in a patient-centered primary care home and this is available to you – grab on to it. The care has been fantastic."
~ Cristy Slawson

Isaiah's seizures were increasing and he needed surgery to replace the metal rods in his back, which have to be extended every six to eight months as he grows. Doctors needed to get the seizures under control so that he would be able to have the needed surgery.

The Slawsons go to Metropolitan Pediatrics in Gresham, which is a state-recognized patient-centered primary care home. That means it provides high-quality coordinated care to its patients. Families with complex medical needs such as Isaiah's are assigned a care team, which includes a pediatrician, care manager, medical assistant and, for some patients, a psychologist, explained Resa Bradeen, M.D.

Metropolitan Pediatrics also has offices in Portland, Beaverton and Happy Valley.

Isaiah's care manager, Karen Masulis, a registered nurse, first got a handle on the seizures. She set up a consultation between the neurologist and pediatrician, so they could communicate before Isaiah could see the neurologist.

"Karen makes sure all the health care providers are on the same page," Cristy Slawson said. "Just the fact that the pediatrician and neurologist could consult without me having to drag Isaiah all over Portland was huge for me! You have no idea how much of a stress relief Karen and this type of care has been for us."

Isaiah's little sister, Nadia, 2, also goes to Metropolitan Pediatrics.

"It is the same level of care for her, also," said Slawson. "If you're not in a patient-centered primary care home and this is available to you – grab on to it. The care has been fantastic."

To learn more and find out if there is a patient-centered primary care home in your area please visit www.PrimaryCareHome.oregon.gov.