Saturday clinic meets patients, doctor’s needs

MIDDLEBURY — It had been more than a year since Dr. Maja Zimmermann had stopped seeing patients on a regular basis. She had started devoting her energy to administrative tasks as director of Porter Practice Management (PPM), and missed the daily contact with folks needing care.
Now Zimmermann is getting the best of both worlds.
She continues to provide leadership and support for the 11 area medical practices that make up PPM, but is now back to dispensing patient care through a recently launched Saturday morning clinic.
That clinic, based at Porter Internal Medicine on the Porter Medical Center campus, is open to patients of the five general practices that are affiliated with PPM: Addison Family Medicine, Little City Family Medicine, Neshobe Family Medicine, Bristol Internal Medicine and Porter Internal Medicine.
Also eligible for visits are patients requiring pre-travel vaccinations. Those traveling to exotic destinations that are home to rare maladies, can visit Zimmermann to make sure their immunizations are up to date — for example, she is the only yellow fever vaccine provider in Addison County.
And as well as the urge to administer direct care again, Zimmermann pointed on Monday to another motive.
“I wanted for a long time the opportunity for patients to be seen on the weekend,” Zimmermann said.
The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It is not a walk-in clinic, meaning that eligible patients must call ahead — on the same day that care is needed, if necessary. The number is 382-3470.
Zimmermann said the clinic is allowing some patients to avoid having to wait until a Monday to be seen for such ailments as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, ear infections, minor injuries and follow-up care for wounds. The clinic is not for people seeking care for chronic medical conditions or basic check-ups.
In additional to providing direct care, Zimmermann is able to do some triage, sending the more serious cases to the emergency room. And the Porter Hospital laboratories are conveniently nearby for patients who need blood work, X-rays or other tests to assist in their diagnoses.
A receptionist and nurse assist Zimmermann at the clinic. When Zimmermann can’t be there, Nurse Practitioner Christin Bland has filled in.
Zimmermann said she sees around 10 patients each Saturday morning, and the clinic has been full during the past two Saturdays.
“It has been very well received,” Zimmermann said.
Porter Medical Center spokesman Ron Hallman agreed the clinic has become a valuable resource.
“The benefits of this Saturday clinic for patients who require primary care services when most other practices are closed, include both more timely and personalized care and also an opportunity to potentially avoid a visit to the Emergency Department for an ailment that does not require that level of service or expense,” Hallman said. “So we are extremely pleased to have started this program to better serve our community.”  
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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