Floyd Valley Hospital and Family Medicine Clinics welcome Dr. Ellen Aquino to Le Mars, Iowa.

Aquino came to Iowa from Virginia. After she completed her board certification in family medicine in 2008, she became an assistant professor at the Eastern Virginia Medical School Department of Family and Community Medicine. She was a faculty member for the family medicine obstetrics department, and was involved in training residents on prenatal care, labor management, ultrasound, spontaneous and assisted vaginal deliveries, minor gynecological procedures, and more.

At the outpatient clinic, Aquino saw her own patients, ranging in age from the very young to the elderly, in addition to precept residents in all areas of family medicine.

At the Family Medicine Clinics in Le Mars, she will continue to see patients of all ages.

"I'm open to the whole spectrum," Aquino said.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Aquino received her undergraduate degree from the University of the Philippines in 1985 and her medical degree from Saint Louis University, Philippines, in 1989. She did her internship and residency at San Juan de Dios Hospital, where she practiced obstetrics and gynecology.

"I was an OB-GYN eight years before I moved to America," she said. "It was very challenging. You have two patients at one time, mother and baby. You have to take care of both. I enjoyed it because there is a happy ending most of the time. And my personality fits an OB-GYN. I love talking to patients and I love labor watch."

Aquino decided to specialize in family medicine when she worked with Dr. Marita Fallorina, a family medicine physician at Family Practice/Pediatrics Office, Newcastle, Del.

"She encouraged me to do family medicine. She said, 'You can still do OB-GYN. It's the best of both worlds.' I have an interest in women's health and pediatrics, but I also love taking care of the elderly."

One of the reasons Aquino pursued a position in Le Mars was because she wanted to have more face to face time with patients and develop a relationship with them.

"Family Medicine Clinics in Le Mars isn't a very big clinic," she said. "I have my own nurse and Patient Services Coordinator. I don't have to share them with other providers, and work gets done more efficiently. It's not so busy or crowded." 

When Aquino started seeing patients at the Family Medicine Clinics, her Care Team was already in place.

"We have a unique feature here at the Family Medicine Clinics. All of the doctors have direct lines. When patients call, they can get their doctor's team. They don't get a person working for 12 doctors. Patients see the same provider 77 percent of the time. It improves continuity of care," said Julie Sitzmann, clinic manager at Family Medicine Clinics.

The clinic's Care Team model consists of a physician, two nurses and a Patient Services Coordinator (PSC). They all work out of the same pod and have three exam rooms. All of the pods are equipped with the same equipment. Because of the model, cycle times average 44 minutes from the time patients check in to the time they check out.

"This way, doctors have more control of their schedules and they can help more patients," Sitzmann said. "They have more face to face contact because they're not spending their time on paperwork and other behind-the-scenes work. When patients have the same providers, they build a relationship. Physicians get to know their patients inside and out. At the Family Medicine Clinics we help promote care of the whole person."

Sitzmann said Aquino will be a good fit with her interest in women's health. She will join six other physicians, two nurse practitioners and two physician assistants at Family Medicine Clinics. Aquino's team includes Heather Adair, R.N., and Lisa Morris, PSC.

Women's health is emphasized at Floyd Valley Hospital and the Family Medicine Clinics.

Women can obtain the full spectrum of women's health services in Le Mars, including digital mammography, lab/radiology services, bone density screenings, and obstetrics & gynecology services, including breast exams, health screenings and pap smears.

Parents also have access to the services of pediatrician Dr. Jolene Meis.

"We provide continuity of care," Sitzmann said. "We treat patients from the beginning to the end, from conception to death - their whole life."

Ann Cole-Nelson, community relations manager at Floyd Valley Hospital, said with all of the services offered between the hospital and the clinic, residents of Le Mars don't have to drive to another community to receive them.

And whether patients live in Le Mars, Marcus or Remsen, their medical records can be accessed electronically by their physicians when they have services performed at Floyd Valley Hospital or the Family Medicine Clinics.

"We try to stay on top of technology," Sitzmann said.

Aquino is married to Albert Aquino and they have a 10-year-old daughter, Alleana, who is attending Le Mars Gehlen as a fifth-grader this year.

Aquino said she is happy to be a part of the Family Medicine Clinics and the Le Mars community.

Dr. Aquino is currently accepting new patients. Her direct dial number is (712) 546-3610.

To welcome Aquino and her family to Le Mars, Floyd Valley Hospital is having an open house on Monday, Sept. 19 from 5-7 p.m. in the Conference Center. 

"Please join us in welcoming Dr. Aquino to the community," Sitzmann said. "We know she will be a good fit. She is very friendly. I think patients are just going to love her."