[fancy-title type=”h3″]Caring For The Individual[/fancy-title]

“They will call you when they say they will call. If your provider cannot call you, another provider will make sure to call. This is unlike any health care I have received from other places. I’ve never felt so loved by a clinic,” says Hank Larmuseau. “They go the extra mile and do the extra research. That’s real concern. It gives me hope.”


Hank and Eloi Hoopman

Hank has been going to NorthCountry Clinic since February 2005. As a result of his age and his specific health issues, his medical needs began to mount. Hank found that his providers went out of their way to thoroughly research his unique diabetic and mal-absorption issues and understand his lifestyle. With the help of this research, and a collaborative effort between Hank and his providers, they were able to find a treatment plan to stabilize his medical issues, a self-care plan that fit his daily routine, and significantly reduced his need for medications. “I feel so much better. I have to pay attention to what I do, but now I don’t have to take so many pills and injections. What a relief.”

In addition to the genuine concern Hank feels from his providers, he feels something unique in the care he received from the entire staff. “I talk to Jessica a lot,” says Hank, referring to Medical Assistant Jessica Quigley. “She helps me with my prescription refills, gets answers to my questions, and puts me contact with my doctor when necessary. To know someone is there to help is an unbelievable comfort.”

[fancy-title type=”h3″]A Focus on Family[/fancy-title]

“They will call you when they say they will call. If your provider cannot call you, another provider will make sure to call. This is unlike any health care I have received from other places. I’ve never felt so loved by a clinic,” says Hank Larmuseau. “They go the extra mile and do the extra research. That’s real concern. It gives me hope.” Four providers established NorthCountry Clinic (NCC) in 1976 as a way to expand access to health care specifically for women and children. Deborah Sweitzer, PA, remembers the early days. “I’ve been at NCC 34 years. I still love my job. It’s been a good ride. The four women who started NCC were all working at the Humboldt Open Door Clinic. They saw a need in the community and opened NorthCountry Clinic for Women and Children. I began with the clinic the next year, 1977, and have been here ever since. In order to stay financially solvent we widened our scope to be a full family practice clinic. We have always retained our commitment to serving women and children and I have been a part of the women’s health program for the duration of my career here. Our clinic has always attracted providers who are dedicated to high quality care, access, and health education to empower patients to make healthy, informed choices. We have a quality core group of providers and staff. Even though our clinic has gone through changes over the years, the quality of care has never been compromised, nor has the mission at the heart of what we do.”


Deborah Sweitzer, PA

“We are always accepting patients for women’s health,” continues Deborah. “We try to keep our clinic feeling like a small intimate setting. We remain committed to offering women the option of being seen by women providers for their care. Open Door patients establish a primary care provider but women can choose who they want to see for their women’s health needs. We want women to feel comfortable when discussing potentially sensitive but very important information. It is meaningful to build a relationship with the provider they see year after year.”

The team at NCC has grown since 1976 and the demand for quality health care has increased. NorthCountry Clinic now offers comprehensive services for the entire family. NorthCountry grew out of Open Door in the 1970’s to focus on providing care for women and children. It came full circle in 2000, returning to Open Door to offer our community more effective and efficient healthcare on the north coast”says Julie Ohnemus, medical director at NorthCountry Clinic and Open Door Community Health Centers’ associate medical director. “For years we provided prenatal and obstetrics care for Open Door patients. Because of the increasing demand, we recently opened Northcountry Prenatal Services in the Shaw Pavilion at Mad River Community Hospital. Now all prenatal and obstetrics care is provided in the new facility.”

Joan Hughes, PA-C, has been working with NorthCountry for 30 years.  Joan loves the relationship she builds with her patients from generation to generation, “It is fun to have families come in for prenatal care and then watch the family grow. Our relationships as medical providers grow. I find tremendous satisfaction and reward in my job. It is such a gift. Anything we give, we get back multi-fold,” says Joan. “Prenatal may have moved, but we’re still very much connected.” Deborah agrees, “I have patients I’ve seen since we first opened and now I see their children and grandchildren.” Maria Spetzler, PA-C, adds, “I love working at this clinic; it truly represents a family practice. We see everybody from elderly to newborns.“


Joan Hughes, PA-C

[fancy-title type=”h3″]It Takes A Team[/fancy-title]

“NorthCountry Clinic has great synergy, all the parts work together to contribute to the whole” says Deborah Sweitzer. “Our staff is committed to the patients and to working with each other. Every one of our front desk receptionists, medical assistants, nurses and providers has an essential role in keeping the machine that is the clinic working efficiently,” notes Maria Spetzler, PA-C. Joan Hughes concurs, “Medical care begins when the patient picks up the phone to call the clinic. Our receptionists recognize that the person calling needs the reassurance that they can get the care they need, that they called the right place.”

Molly Rombalski, RN, has worked at NorthCountry for five years. “I worked in hospitals before coming to NCC. I found a level of respect at the clinic that I didn’t see in other places. I feel I have a voice and my opinion is valued. Everyone’s skills are appreciated and used to the fullest benefit of our patients. There are many things I can help patients with. That frees up providers to see more patients. We are not just more efficient, we’re more effective. I believe in this type of health care.”


Molly Rombalski, RN

Dolly Bott is the Behavioral Health Case Manager at NorthCountry Clinic. “I am an advocate for the patient. What I do supports the patient and that in turn supports the medical care we provide as a clinic.

When people are homeless, jobless, hungry or without transportation, their health suffers. If a patient can’t afford healthy food or needed medication, we’re spinning our wheels. I try to make sure patients can get the support they need.  I also work hard to make sure that patients get access to medical care. Open Door clinics see everyone but many specialists do not. I work to create the connections necessary for our patients to get the special medical care they need.”

“When I started with Open Door, I was seeing patients from NorthCountry Clinic exclusively. Now I see patients referred from any clinic in the Open Door system. I’m a Humboldt County native. I’ve been doing case management for quite a while. Fortunately, I have a lot of good contacts,” explains Dolly. “All of us believe in the team approach and all of us believe that we need to address the patient as a person who has a range of needs and dreams, not just a specific problem.”

Joan Hughes comments, “One of the things that is so wonderful about the care provided at NCC is that we have a wide variety of resources to use. Not everyone needs such a comprehensive team approach, but it’s reassuring to know it’s available. I often see patients with multiple issues, ranging from physical health to psychological well-being. I have the resources right here to address so much of what may be troubling someone. I really enjoy working for the well-being of the person. I can go far beyond the medicine.”