Last month, Medscape Medical News featured an article about Staff Care's 2016 Country Doctor of the Year, Jasmine Sulaiman, MD of Cleveland, Texas. (Read more about Staff Care's Country Doctor of the Year here.)
Lauding Dr. Sulaiman's service as the "sole safety net" to a set of rural communities in Texas, the article introduces the Medscape readership to a "family physician who started a health clinic in an old flower shop in rural Cleveland, Texas, and now supervises four clinics providing much-needed services to a largely uninsured population."
Tracing Dr. Sulaiman's path from St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Utica, New York's 10th largest city, to a community of less than 8,000 in Eastern Texas, Medscape's Megan Brooks writes that, when Dr. Sulaiman arrived in town, "the local hospital had just closed and access to patient care in the community was severely limited.
"After seeing the depth of the uninsured and underinsured population, she took up the challenge of building an indigent care clinic from scratch," Brooks writes. "She set up the only clinic in town and began seeing patients, making herself available to her patients 24/7."
That clinic eventually became the Health Center of Southeast Texas, which in turn has expanded to include three other clinics serving nearby counties, all of which Dr Sulaiman oversees (and the busy schedule doesn't prevent her from still seeing patients regularly).
Medscape: 2016 Country Doctor of the Year Community's 'Sole Safety Net'
"On an individual level, Dr Sulaiman is unquestionably a highly committed and compassionate physician who is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," Staff Care President Sean Ebner told Medscape. "Her practice style also illustrates what we believe to be the future of rural medicine."
Dr Sulaiman became the "sole safety net for underserved patients in her three-county service area," and has been doing so through the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) model, Mr. Ebner adds.
"All four of the FQHCs she has helped found are staffed with PAs and NPs — she is the only physician. All seven of her PAs and NPs rotated through her practice — so she has 'grown her own' staff."
"Given the ongoing shortage of rural physicians, it is mission-oriented physicians like Dr Sulaiman who will maintain services in rural areas through her own care and initiative and through the use of nonphysician clinicians and telemedicine. For these reasons, we believe Dr Sulaiman is a worthy Country Doctor of the Year," Ebner said.
For her part, Dr. Sulaiman says being recognized as Staff Care's 2016 Country Doctor of the Year has been "one of the most meaningful honors I have ever received. It represents the culmination of many years of education, hard work, and service, and I am so humbled to receive a national recognition at this point in my career.
"Most importantly, I am delighted to bring this recognition to my team, our clinics, and the communities we serve," Dr Sulaiman added. "I owe all of my professional accomplishments to the dedicated team of midlevel providers, support staff, and my CEO Mr. Steve Racciato who have supported and shared my vision of improving access to care in rural communities."
You can read the original Medscape article, entitled "2016 Country Doctor of the Year Built Rural Care Network," here. And don't forget to spread the word on your social networks! Join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and YouTube.