GREENVILLE REGIONAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIAN FEATURED IN UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE PUBLICATION

Greenville Regional Hospital Physician Kelsey Hopkins, M.D., a member of the Greenville Medical Associates staff, was recently featured in the “Advancing Rockford News”, an alumni publication by the University of Illinois College of Medicine:

Kelsey Hopkins, M.D.

HOPKINS: AN “OLD TIME” DOC

Reprinted with permission from the “Advancing Rockford News” (Summer 2012/Vol. 3, No.1), a publication of the University of Illinois College of Medicine

Practicing in rural Greenville, Illinois provides Dr. Kelsey Hopkins with a wide and rewarding range of opportunities to impact the lives of the people in his community.

In addition to his services as a family practice physician, including referral to specialists in larger cities, he also has had the chance, along with his associates to teach a new anatomy course offered to honors students at Greenville College.

It feels like just the right fit for Hopkins, a 2007 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford’s Rural Medical Education (RMED) program, who dreamed as a teenager of “becoming an old-time country doc that did a little bit of everything in a small town.”

Hopkins, a native of Maple Park, in DeKalb County, moved to Greenville where, he said, his schedule went from “busy” on his first day to “full” within two months.  “It hasn’t even been two years since I’ve been in Greenville,” he said, “and the medical community feels that we could benefit from at least one more primary care physician, without even considering that at some point in the future some of the doctors may retire.

“Greenville is similar to most rural communities in Illinois in that it is medically underserved.”  Some examples, he said, are deficiencies in primary and specialty care physicians, scarcity of mental health services and the lack of ability for primary care physicians to have face-to-face peer interaction with specialty physicians in discussing patients’ conditions.

Hopkins said Greenville, a town of about 7,000 people 60 miles east of downtown St. Louis, is like most rural communities in that it has many uninsured and underinsured people, even though many of them are employed.  The financial burden of healthcare, he said, is a large barrier to that population seemingly making them less likely to seek early treatment for acute or chronic illnesses or to receive preventative care.

Hopkins said the most common chronic medical conditions he sees are COPD, obesity, chronic pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, tobacco use, and neuropathy.

While he said those conditions are likely typical for most rural and urban communities, “it seems that rural patients often have multiple complex medical problems, and therefore need longer office visits for me to effectively administer and coordinate high quality care.  As a result, my ability to always see a larger volume of patients in a day is diminished so that I never lose focus on this quality of care.”

Hopkins’ interest in the RMED program was fueled by a presentation he attended while an undergraduate at the University of Illinois in Champaign and he felt the program would allow him to meet his life goals.

“One of the greatest things about the RMED program,” Hopkins said, “is that it has the exceptional ability to take medical students who already have an appreciation for rural life and educate them with a well-rounded curriculum to further their understanding of rural medical health issues, while developing them into highly capable physicians who will be successful in rural medical practice.”

He said aspects of the program such as monthly meetings to learn more about rural life and culture as well as healthcare issues and challenges faced by rural residents, a focus on how a rural primary care physician can impact a small community, and a 16-week Community Oriented Primary Care research project were so beneficial “that I felt ready to start residency with more than half of my senior year of medical school remaining.”

Hopkins also was able to connect with a primary care residency with a rural focus and chose Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Indiana, because it also provided a rural track for his medical training and he credits both programs for his success.

“Despite the variables that may negatively impact one’s ability to give quality healthcare in a rural setting,” Hopkins said, I believe well-trained rural physicians will always be able to directly provide quality healthcare in the office or at the bedside.”

Dr. Hopkins recently served as a guest speaker at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford’s Rural Medical Education program.

Greenville Regional Hospital Interim President & CEO Michael Zilm said, “We were pleased with the newsletter article and how it brought to light the importance of family physicians in small, rural settings like our market area.  We are proud of our local physicians and very appreciative of their dedicated efforts to serve the residents of the communities we serve.”

Dr. Kelsey Hopkins sees patients at Greenville Medical Associates, located on the campus of Greenville Regional Hospital.  Other members of the Greenville Regional Hospital Medical Staff see patients at the McCracken Dawdy Hall Family Practice Center and the Greenville Family Wellness Center’s OB-GYN and Behavioral Health Services practice, all also located on the hospital campus.  Specialty physicians see patients Monday through Friday in the Greenville Regional Hospital Outpatient Specialty Clinic and the hospital’s Emergency Department is staffed by a physician around the clock.

For information on Greenville Regional Hospital physicians, contact Ryan Mifflin, Director of Advancement & Communication at rmifflin@grhinc.org or 618.664.1230, x3006 or visit www.GreenvilleRegionalHospital.com.