Locations in Baldwin, Cadillac, Grant, McBain and White Cloud


  Contact Administration : (231) 745-2743

All posts by Travis Kroll

A Child With Autism, Not An Autistic Child

“My child has what?” I have to admit, as a medical provider, I feel I should have known more about autism. My child was 18 months old, wasn’t talking, and wouldn’t turn her head to look at me if I yelled her name from only a few feet away. After ruling out a hearing issue, her pediatrician referred her for further evaluation at a children’s hospital downstate. She was evaluated by a speech therapist, a behaviorist and a child psychologist, all in one day. Their conclusion: autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

Jon Borton, PA-C, and family

As a medical provider, it made sense. However, as a parent, I didn’t want to admit that my child was anything but perfect. That quickly changed. I had taken care of a few patients with diagnosed autism, but my daughter didn’t have some of the same characteristics that these patients had. I went from knowing what autism was and how it was generally diagnosed to resident expert (in my mind) in a very short period of time. Then an interesting thing happened. My son, who is 18 months older than my daughter, started talking at an expected age. He never had any signs of hearing issues and would turn his head to look in my direction if I called his name.  However, he lacked eye contact, was socially awkward compared to peers, and required strict adherence to patterns. Something just wasn’t “normal,” whatever that is. I initially thought, he only has an attention problem (which he does). After learning as much as I could about ASD, I started to strongly suspect that he had the condition as well. My son eventually went through the same testing and was given the same diagnosis.

The description of what my family went through over two years is used to highlight a couple of things. One is that every child is an individual and should be treated as such. A given condition, especially those in mental health, can present with a wide range of symptoms. Second, and just as important, is to hopefully increase awareness of autism in the general public. Since my ASD journey began, I have played a part in diagnosing several children and adolescents with the condition. I don’t know if it was “meant to be”, but that argument has often been hard to refute.

Autism spectrum disorder has become the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States. In 2000, the CDC estimated that 1 in 150 children had autism. The most recent statistics estimate that number to be between 1 in 40 and 1 in 59 children. The increase in the prevalence of autism has been mostly attributed to improvements in screening and diagnosis of the disorder. It affects all racial and ethnic backgrounds and is about four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls

As one might imagine, there are several signs and symptoms of autism. When a child is first seen by a primary care provider, we start to look for signs of developmental or communication challenges. We observe how your child laughs, looks to you for reassurance, tries to regain your attention during a conversation, points or waves, responds to his or her name, or cries. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for autism at the 18 and 24 month well child visits. This is most commonly done using the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, or M-CHAT. A positive screen can indicate the need for further evaluation. It is important to note that a normal screen does not rule out the diagnosis of autism or other developmental disorders. There is an online form of this that can be accessed by anyone at www.m-chat.org.

The treatment of ASD requires a comprehensive approach. Because individuals with ASD have varying degrees of impairment in social and behavioral function, management needs to be tailored to the child’s age and specific needs. The goals are to maximize functioning, move the child toward independence, and improve quality of life. There is increasing evidence that intervention is most effective when initiated as early as possible. A notable treatment approach for those with ASD is applied behavior analysis (ABA), which encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors to improve a variety of skills. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are often used to target specific deficits as well. While no medication specifically treats autism, medications can be used to treat common coexisting conditions/symptoms, such as hyperactivity, inattention, aggression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, depressive symptoms, and sleep dysfunction. To any parent who has concerns about possible developmental issues, autism, etc. with your child, the best advice I can give is this: Be an advocate for your child. Your concerns should be heard and addressed. Make an appointment with your child’s primary care provider and have an assessment done. Again, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the earlier treatment may be able to be started. I was lucky enough to be able to do so for my children at an earlier than average age. Since beginning to understand the things that they struggle with, it has made every milestone that much more significant. I like to say that my children are not just autistic. They are so much more, with their own strengths and weaknesses. They are children who happen to have autism. They are my world.

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Welcome Lisa West, FNP-C!

Having providers that work to connect with and understand the needs of patients in Lake County is vital to the mission of Family Health Care (FHC). That’s why FHCis pleased to announce the addition of Lisa West, FNP-C, to its Baldwin office.

Lisa began her career in the medical field as an emergency room nurse. After realizing she wanted to advance her career, Lisa achieved her Master’s degree and became certified as a family nurse practitioner.  She has been in practice for over five years.

“I am excited about the opportunity to practice medicine in an environment that puts patient care first,” says Lisa. “The adventure of living and working in an area that is new to me is also exciting. I cannot wait to serve the residents of Lake County!”

Lisa comes to FHC from Nacogdoches, Texas, with a patient-centered philosophy of care and an outgoing personality. She completed her Bachelor of Nursing at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and her Masters of Nursing at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas.

FHC continually focuses on meeting the needs of its communities by growing and expanding services to provide rural residents and visitors to the area with quality, affordable access to behavioral health, medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, laboratory and radiology services close to where they live, work and play.

Lisa will provide medical care services at FHC’s Baldwin office located at 1615 Michigan Avenue in Baldwin. To schedule an appointment with Lisa or another provider call (231) 745-4624.

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Keeping West Michigan’s Elderly Safe!

Finding ways to ensure elderly patients are safe at home is a goal of Family Health Care(FHC). One way FHC accomplishes this goal is through the organizations bathing program, which not only helps older adults remain safe by helping prevent slips and falls, but also relieves the strain on caregivers.

On October 10 during the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan Annual Conference,Family Health Care was presented with the Tess Canja Innovation Award from BlueCross Blue Shield of Michigan. This award is given to social service agencies thatwork to improve health-related situations for older adults. Winners areselected by a committee of state-wide volunteers who consider the creativity,cost-effectiveness, replicability and quantified positive impact demonstrated.

“This was a bit of a surprise since the Tess Canja Award is very competitive,” said ReneeKopach, outreach services manager at Family Health Care. “Our goal is to ensuresomeone’s mom or dad, grandma or grandpa is provided the care they need sotheir family can spend time making memories.”

In 2015, in response to an identified need among its respite clients, FHC implemented the bathing service. This service is available to seniors who are not eligible for skilled home care and would otherwise have to pay privately for the service or go without. A major safety concern for the senior population is getting in and out of the shower, a task that is often difficult or uncomfortable for family caregivers to assist with. FHC respite aides assist with bathing and personal care which increases bathroom safety, improves hygiene, and decreases risk ofskin break down and infection rates while providing essential support forfamily caregivers.

Family Health Care’s In-Home Respite Care program is comprised of men and women who have apassion for ensuring elderly community members receive the compassionate carethey deserve while providing the caregiver time to rest and recharge. Theseexperienced respite aides provide weekly visits during the day, on the weekendsand sometimes overnight. They help with meal assistance, reading, visiting andcompanionship, and provide time to socialize with another adult.

To learn more about respite services and how Family Health Care is working to give ourelderly in the community the best life possible, visit familyhealthcare.org.

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Celebrate National Rural Health Day!

Family Health Care will join the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day on Thursday, November 15, 2018.

Dr. Kamrowski exams a child’s eyesight during an outreach event.

NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues. National Rural Health Day is an annual day of recognition which occurs on the third Thursday of November and was awarded the 2018 “Outstanding Rural Health Program of the Year” by the National Rural Health Association.

Over 60 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” said NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”

In central-west Michigan, Family Health Care provides comprehensive primary health care services through its medical, dental, vision and pharmacy programs; and additional programs such as Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, free health insurance enrollment, In-Home Respite Care, and a variety of primary care services in schools. Family Health Care is focused on making health care accessible to everyone in order to achieve its vision of 0% health disparities in the communities the organization serves.

“Our employees are dedicated to meeting the needs of every patient that comes through our doors and through outreach into the community,” says Kathy Sather, President & CEO of Family Health Care. “I am truly proud to be part of this dedicated team of individuals working toward the common goal of improving the health of our rural communities.”

State Offices of Rural Health play a key role in addressing those needs. All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens. In the past year alone, State Offices of Rural Health collectively provided technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities.  Family Health Care is a proud member of the Michigan Rural Health Association.

Additionalinformation about National Rural Health Day can be found at PowerofRural.org.To learn more about NOSORH, visit nosorh.org; to learn more about Family HealthCare visit Read More

September 25 is National Voter Registration Day 2018!

On September 25, 2018, Americans will celebrate National Voter Registration Day with a massive 50-state effort to register voters before Election Day this November.

With midterms and governor races happening in a few weeks, every eligible American voter should exercise his or her right to be heard at the ballot box this year and next. National Voter Registration Day is the right place to start by getting registered.

That is why communities across the country are planning to use National Voter Registration Day to increase voter participation.

Thousands of national, state, and local organizations and volunteers will be the driving force behind National Voter Registration Day 2018. Partner organizations will coordinate hundreds of National Voter Registration Day events nationwide and leverage #NationalVoterRegistrationDay on all social media platforms to drive attention to voter registration and the midterm elections.

Family Health Care is proud to be a National Voter Registration Day partner. On September 25, between
9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Family Health Care will engage its community and register voters at the following locations:

  • Baldwin – 1615 Michigan Avenue, Baldwin, MI 49304
  • Cadillac – 520 Cobb Street, Cadillac, MI 49601
  • Grant – 11 N. Maple Street, Grant, MI 49327
  • White Cloud – 1035 E. Wilcox, White Cloud, MI 49349

The effort’s website, NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org, provides a listing of National Voter Registration Day events across the country.

Founded in 2012, National Voter Registration Day is designed to create an annual moment when the entire nation focuses on registering Americans to exercise their most basic right – the right to vote. More than two million Americans have registered to vote on this day since the inaugural National Voter Registration Day.

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