ThedaCare

been under-served in the past. “Anything people can do to get health care is a good thing,” Schuldes said.

When people come in to ThedaCare’s Hilbert office, the message they will get is that proper nutrition and ample exercise is a much better option than medication.

When he can, Schuldes continues to take walks around Hilbert as part of his exercise regimen—not to mention it helps him get to know the village and its residents better. His time to take those walks has been diminished a bit this year as he has been spending 2-1/2 days per week at the Darboy location of Theda-Care Physicians, which had lost one of its health care providers but is getting a new one. Schuldes said his time in Darboy might have positive long-term ramifications for the Hilbert clinic as patients he gets to know in Darboy might just as easily be able to see him in Hilbert depending on where they live.

Patients also will see an experienced staff in Hilbert, although coder Kathy Loose and practice coordinator Stacy Lau now do their tasks off-site and practice associate Angie Koeck is just returning from maternity leave. Medical Assistant Kim Meyer continues to serve

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in the office.

Help comes when called upon

Similarly, other area providers in the ThedaCare system fill in for Schuldes when he is on vacation. And whether it is Schuldes or someone else staffing the Hilbert clinic, the doctors, nurses, specialists and other health care professionals at system members such as Theda Clark Medical Center, Appleton Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Fox Valley and others are ready and willing to lend a hand when needed. Schuldes said health care professionals at larger facilities understand the challenges of staffing a small clinic such as Hilbert and they want to help when and if they can. “When you need their attention, they’re there for you,” Schuldes said.

While he has seen a lot of changes in health care, he also knows there are more on the way.

“Health care costs too much,” Schuldes said. “We constantly try to look at that. Are people price savvy? Yes. A lot of people are trying to get phone-based care.”

Schuldes continued by saying he would like to see people be able to make their appointments online, and he also would like to see more creative scheduling of patients so that clinics can be open when people need them and not just during the normal business day.

But changes past, present and future have not diminished at all the enjoyment Schuldes gets from his profession. “The satisfaction with rural medicine is still huge,” he said.