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betterment of the population. It likely will require providers to give greater encouragement to patients to follow their advice. “We have to show them we’re doing this for their health,” he said.

Clinic within a clinic

The Hilbert clinic of ThedaCare Physicians sees patients from infants to the elderly and all ages in between— including people in their teens and 20s who might have reproductive health and family planning questions. Schuldes said, “Many times, people aren’t sure of where to turn for answers. With that in mind, I’m happy to say our clinic is now a free provider for Wisconsin Family Planning Services. As the only Family Planning Services clinic in Calumet County, ThedaCare Physicians-Hilbert confidentially provides a number of services free-of-charge.

“When people have the right information, they are better able to make decisions,” he added. “But worries about cost and who may find out about a health issue can sometimes lead patients to wait to seek treatment. We offer a free family planning and reproductive healthcare services, help patients develop pregnancy plans and offer STD screenings, pregnancy tests and Pap screenings. Our clinic also provides patients with information and eligibility-based screening for Medicaid programs, including the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, BadgerCare, and the Wisconsin Family Planning Waiver.”

These services are provided to men and women of reproductive age and no parental approval is needed.

As a member of the Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, all reproductive health services provided at ThedaCare Physicians-Hilbert are paid through the Medicaid Family Planning Only Services Program. “Our staff works with patients to fill out the necessary paperwork to qualify for this program,” Schuldes said. “Patients who are covered by their parents’ insurance can still receive confidential care without a bill being sent.”

Important topic

He added, “Reproductive health is a topic that not everyone feels comfortable talking about, but it is important. For example, sexually transmitted diseases that go untreated can lead to more serious complications, including infertility. If a woman suspects she is pregnant, it’s also important to find out as soon as possible so proper prenatal care can begin. By becoming a member of the Wisconsin Planning and Reproductive Health Association, we are able to be that safe place where anyone can come and talk about their concerns.”

Schuldes said, “These services are just a small part of what we do at ThedaCare Physicians-Hilbert. We still provide all the services we did before including regular check-ups and care for people who are sick. It’s just another way to provide a much-needed community service.”

Also new in the past year is Theda-Care’s relationship with the Mayo Clinic. ThedaCare providers can e-mail questions to world-class Mayo Clinic physicians who are able to provide responses. That is in addition to the network of doctors, nurses, specialists and other health care professionals already available at system members such as Theda Clark Medical Center, Appleton Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Fox Valley.

Schuldes also continues to try to be visible in local communities. Earlier this year he arranged for the ThedaCare chef to prepare a meal of salmon and healthy pasta for the Hilbert Fire Department, then talked to the firefighters about the importance of healthy eating, exercise and stretching. A yoga demonstration might be offered as well to the department, Schuldes said.