LAKE CITY, Minn. — Residents at Mayo Clinic Health System’s care center in Lake City now have a team of primary care providers available to them 24/7.
Lilia Ponton, M.D., Denise Carlson, C.N.P., Tonya Anderson, C.N.P., and Rachel Koenig, P.A.-C., all specialize in caring for the elderly. The team recently began providing on-site primary care to care center residents. Dr. Ponton, a board-certified geriatrician and certified medical director in long-term and post-acute care, leads the primary care provider team. Dr. Ponton is available daily in Lake City. Carlson, Anderson and Koenig each spend part of their work week on site in Lake City.
“We see this as an enhancement to the care we offer our residents who can expect more prompt and consistent care and overall better coordination of care. We’re very excited to have Dr. Ponton and team,” says Jake Suckow, care center administrator. “They’re experienced, excellent providers who have a passion for working with the elderly.”
The care center’s primary care team manages each resident’s routine care, evaluates and treats unexpected illnesses, and coordinates specialty care if needed. Team members take turns being on-call after hours, weekends and holidays. Care center nurses can reach one of them any time to evaluate and treat a medical issue.
“Many long-term care facilities usually send residents to the emergency department (ED) for unexpected illness because they don’t have a provider immediately available,” says Dr. Ponton. “This results in many unnecessary ED visits. Our team will be able to reduce these visits as well as re-hospitalizations because we’ll be closely managing each resident’s health.”
In addition, the primary care team will help residents and families with end of life counseling and advanced care planning. “Our residents’ families have found this very valuable,” says Carlson.
Carlson, who has been working with long-term care residents in Red Wing for many years, says she’s looking forward to getting to know care center residents in Lake City.
“We will really get to know the residents and families. We’ll know them by name and their story,” says Carlson. “We tend to develop some deep relationships over time. It’s so rewarding. The residents usually have so many fun stories. There’s never a dull moment.”
In addition to caring for Lake City care center residents, Dr. Ponton and team provide primary care to nursing home residents in Red Wing.