In other words, patients are not done with the doctor’s office when they leave there. It is now common for Rusch or someone else from Dr. Hetzner’s office to make a phone call to a person to see how they are doing, to see how they are following up on the advice they received at the office, to make sure they come in for any scheduled lab work, etc.

“I absolutely love working with my patients,” said Rusch, who has been an RN for about nine years after her first vocations in accounting and raising her family. A daughter, son and two daughters-in-law are nurses, so there is plenty of medical talk around Rusch family gatherings.

“We help people find resources,” Rusch said of her patients. “We look for different means to help them.

“We get reports identifying the at-risk groups,” she added. “We supply a lot of education for those folks... I don’t just focus on the disease. You have to focus on the whole person. There might be other factors behind their disease. Sometimes they just need someone to talk to.”

Success stories

Rusch, who previously worked in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, said she has seen patients lose 10 to 30 pounds by making some lifestyle changes. “I have spouses who say, ‘You get them to do more than I can!”

Affinity’s Medical Home teams consist of physicians partnered with advanced practice providers (APNPs or PAs), RN specialists who coordinate chronic disease management, patient

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service representatives, health care associates (CMAs or LPNs) and a behavioral health care coordinator. “It takes a whole team,” Rusch said. “We work together.”

The physician continues to be a key part of that team, of course, and patients of Dr. Hetzner know he has had a patient-centered philosophy for the 25 years he has been practicing in the community.

In addition to seeing patients at his office at 632 Fremont St. (STH 32/57) in Kiel, Dr. Hetzner also sees patients at Chilton’s Calumet Medical Center, which is part of Affinity Health System. He also continues to serve as the medical director of Willowdale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New Holstein, and is the chair of the Family Medicine Department for Affinity. He does all that and said, “I make a few house calls here and there.”

Dr. Hetzner continues to take care of patients of all ages and welcomes new patients. The people Rusch tends to see through her specialty generally range in age from their 40s to their 80s. Some have diseases which are newly diagnosed, and some have been diagnosed for years. For others, she is working to fend off disease.

“We are getting worse,” Rusch said of the population’s health. “I don’t have the answer for that.” Busy lifestyles which lead to eating fast food, not taking time to relax and enjoy life and, believe it or not, a smoking rate which is on the rise again are some of the factors she sees.

But for Rusch, it is all about helping people live a better quality of life.