Our Delaware is a production of Libertarian Solutions of Delaware, and is dedicated to the proposition that individuals can meet their own challenges, solve their own problems, and make their own communities stronger through self-reliance, voluntary cooperation, and grassroots politics. This blog is dedicated to highlighting the many outstanding homegrown businesses and community organizations in our state.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A local revolution in health care: Hockessin Walk-in Medical Care

Hockessin Walk-in Medical Care
Lantana Square Shopping Center
Hockessin DE
I started thinking about this blog and this part of the project when I started hearing and seeing advertisements by a major corporation for a new walk-in clinic opening up on Kirkwood Highway that proclaims itself "the neighborly place" to get fast medical care.  Whenever you hear a corporation (banks also come to mind here) talking about being a good neighbor, you know you need to hold onto your wallet.

But the reality is that there is a quiet revolution in walk-in medical care happening at the Lantana Square Shopping Center in Hockessin, in the form of Dr. Vince Schaller's Hockessinn Walk-in (also known locally as the Lantana clinic or other variations of same).

We ended up there for the first time in 2003, maybe a month after the clinic opened, when my daughter had a topic allergic reaction to some chemical she'd gotten on herself on a shopping trip.  In the early days Dr. Vince Schaller was seeing almost all the patients by himself (it's HIS clinic, he's not just an employee, he is the boss), and that was the beginning of a friendship and a business patronage that has extended now for almost a decade.

Dr Vince Schaller is revolutionizing
walk-in medical care in Delaware
Where do I start about Dr. Vince?  He's an emergency medicine specialist who did part of his residency with Dover pediatrician Dr. Janaki Kaza (a local legend there as well), who decided he was tired with the normal models of medical practice and that he could do better.  Go here to read the outstanding patient reviews that Dr. Vince has accrued over the years.

What's better?

1.  The staff:  Dr. Vince has created a topnotch staff.  From the ladies at the front desk to the paras, nurses, PAs, and docs you see, he has hired folks who are far more than a cut above what you'd find at a typical walk-in clinic.  They are professional, friendly, and helpful in ways you cannot yet imagine.  Yes, there are long lines to get treatment some days, so if your issue is not incredibly time sensitive they will take your initial paperwork and your cell phone number and you can leave.  They will call you back when a room and a doctor are actually ready to see you.

2.  They will figure out a way to make it possible for you to see the doctor, even if you don't have insurance or much money.  For insurance billing purposes there is a minimum charge if you are paying cash, and it can be high.  So for first-time visitors with no insurance they hand you a coupon that cuts the cost down to $65 (exclusive of radiology tests if necessary).  Don't have that?  As the plentiful signs in English and Spanish tell you, Dr. Schaller will work out a payment plan for as little as $25 a month, but he WILL see you.

3.  They go beyond the call of duty.  When my then-three-year-old grandson gashed his cheek on an exposed piece of metal bed frame a few years back, Dr. Schaller stopped the bleeding, looked at the cut  and told me he didn't want to sew it up himself because it would leave a noticeable scar just under Shane's eye.  Instead, he called in a plastic surgeon who came to the clinic, did the procedure, and scheduled a follow-up in his office.  Amazing in several ways:  Dr. Schaller has a network of on-call specialists that show up when he needs them, and their services are covered in your price of admission. In Shane's case, his mom was then unemployed and had no insurance, so the follow-up visit to the plastic surgeon's office was arranged without cost to my daughter.  No, it's not all free, but Dr. Schaller is committed to finding a way to make it happen for his patients.  Recently he has set up a Wednesday morning clinic in which he sees some patients on an ongoing rather than emergency basis.

(Oh, back to that staff thing.  If you are doing a follow-up visit they give you something called a "blue pass."  You just call in on the appointed day, give them that number, and they call you back when there is a room and a doctor ready to see you--you get to do all your waiting at home!

4.  The range and quality of care is first-rate.  You might have already gotten that impression.  There is X-ray available on-site, pharmacy services, and medical testing.  Dr, Schaller is a warm, funny guy, but when he hires new medical staff, he's quite quality oriented.  You can tell if somebody doesn't make the cut, because they will be gone in a couple of months.

Reception at Hockessin
5.  Dr. Schaller and his staff build relationships with their patients.  From Linda at the front desk to paras like Teddy or nurses like Patty, everybody there just cares about their patients.  My son has Myelagic Encephalomyelitis (commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and needs weekly IV therapy.  If this had to be provided at a hospital, it would take at least a full day and reams of paperwork.  Dr. Schaller handles it during his Wednesday clinic (and has, for over a year); no muss, no fuss, no problem--we are in and out in little longer than it takes two bags of fluid to get into my son.  In the process we've made close friendships with many of the staff, and we see first hand (we're there every single week) exactly how much they care about their patients.

6.  Dr. Schaller is giving back to the community in big ways.  He is the driving force right now behind organizing physicians and schools in Delaware to pay more attention to concussions in athletes, to make sure they have all had cognitive baseline tests done before they play in contact sports, and to make sure that they receive appropriate follow-up.  He offers low-cost sports physicals for students on both a walk-in and scheduled basis.  He has internships set up for students in local high schools who think they might be interested in medical careers,  and Hockessin Walk-in is a training facility for the following medical programs in our area:

  • Physician Assistant Students from Arcadia College
  • Students from University of Delaware’s Nursing, Physical Trainer, and Nurse Practitioner Programs
  • Nurse Practitioner Students from Wilmington University
  • Nursing Students from Delaware Technical Institute
  • Medical Assistant Students from Harris Training School and Dawn Training Centre
The new facility
7.  Dr. Schaller is expanding.  Some time within the next two years he will open a new facility on Newport Gap Pike in his own building.  It will have an IV Infusion center that can service cancer patients and others without the need for them to go to the hospital.  It will have a full-service pharmacy and medical testing.  It will have a restaurant.  And it will still feature all the the aspects that have made his original clinic a success.

If you live anywhere within the area, and you have need of walk-in care, I urge you to get yourself down to the Lantana Square Shopping Center and visit Dr. Vince and his staff.

Here are the details of his location, hours, and website:

Hockessin Walk-in Medical Care316 Lantana Drive
Hockessin DE 19707
(next to Tru-Value Hardware) 
Monday-Saturday:  Noon - 8pm
Sunday:  Noon - 5 pm


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