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Published on October 22, 2014

Callaway Physicians Celebrate 40 Years of Service in Fulton

FULTON, Mo. — University of Missouri Health Care is celebrating 40 years of providing health care at its University Physicians-Callaway Physicians clinic in Fulton.

The clinic opened in 1974, and today specialists there treat more than 15,000 patients each year. James Stevermer, M.D., professor in MU School of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine, serves as the medical director of Callaway Physicians. Four more University of Missouri family physicians and 11 family medicine resident physicians work at the clinic, offering vital health care for this rural community.

“We have worked hard at Callaway Physicians to meet two goals,” said Stevermer. “First, providing excellent health care for the people of Callaway County, throughout all phases of life — including prenatal and delivery care, and managing acute and chronic problems for patients of all ages, as well as providing doctors in their final stage of training a rural setting to polish their primary care skills. It has been successful, providing great care to many people in the area. We even have six physicians who trained at Callaway Physicians now practicing throughout Callaway County.”

Callaway Physicians originally opened as the Callaway Family Medical Center and was the first of several rural area clinics the University of Missouri opened in the 1970s. The University of Missouri Health System’s goal was to expand primary care services to areas that did not have adequate health care and to provide a rural training site for family medicine resident physicians.

“It became a very good learning experience for all of us,” said Roger Hofmeister, M.D., retired Department of Family and Community Medicine faculty physician and the clinic’s first medical director. “It enabled resident physicians to think about each situation and determine if what they were dealing with was something they could handle in this rural environment or if more advanced treatment was needed. They learned what you can and can’t do in a rural hospital. ”

Since Callaway Physicians opened 40 years ago, 400 family medicine resident physicians have received advanced training there. More than half of those doctors are still practicing in Missouri, many serving in rural and underserved areas.

“The community was extremely supportive,” said Hofmeister. “They saw the value in having more doctors in town.”

The MU Department of Family and Community Medicine has been ranked in the U.S. News and World Report’s top 10 leaders in family medicine for 21 consecutive years.

This year, the Callaway Physicians received national recognition for its patient-centered medical home. The “medical home” is a model of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety.

The basic mission of a medical home is to build a close relationship between clinicians and patients and to ensure every patient has a health care professional who can coordinate all the patient’s health care needs and that individuals receive the care most appropriate to each person’s individualized needs. Having a medical home ensures that the patient remains front and center.

“I consider myself winning because I got to go to Fulton,” said Hofmeister. “At the time, no one realized the commute every day would be so beneficial. It gave the resident physician, attending physician, and me time to talk about what was expected that day, and on the way home we had more time to debrief, giving us more teaching time that in turn benefitted the patients.”

The first patient at Callaway Physicians is still receiving medical care from doctors at the clinic today.

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