Gillette Children's is committed to providing access and excellence in health care to children throughout Minnesota.
Gillette’s associate medical director for Greater Minnesota, Andrea Paulson, MD, says, “It’s critical that all children have access to the expert subspecialty care they need to be able to grow, thrive and achieve all they can.” Paulson, a pediatric rehabilitation medicine physician, was named to this newly created role to connect Gillette services to families living in rural locations throughout the region.
National Rural Health Day is November 18th and an opportunity to celebrate the community-minded spirit of rural Americans and to highlight health care providers who keep people living in these areas healthy. An estimated 57 million people in America live in rural locations.
Since our founding in 1897, Gillette has helped families navigate the scheduling and logistics involved in getting care for children who have complex medical issues. Although we’re headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, Gillette has clinics throughout the state in locations such as Alexandria, Baxter, Bemidji, Duluth, Mankato, St. Cloud and Willmar. Gillette also provides access to expert providers through virtual care appointments.
The supervisor of Gillette’s Greater Minnesota clinics, Mary Kautto, RN, believes providing solid health care in rural areas is “just the right thing to do.” Kautto is proud of Gillette’s commitment to rural families, “I’ve always said, not everyone with special needs or complex medical conditions needs to live in the Twin Cities!”
Grateful families and primary care providers
Paulson and Kautto say they often hear from families who are grateful Gillette has clinics throughout Minnesota. “These families are glad they didn’t have to travel as far for specialty care,” Paulson says. “It really helps families because they don’t have to miss as much work, children don’t have to miss as much school, and it saves the family money on gas and other travel expenses.”
Kautto agrees and adds, “Some families from rural areas find it a bit scary to drive in the Twin Cities metro area.”
It’s not only families who appreciate the Gillette presence in rural areas. Primary care providers in Greater Minnesota appreciate the opportunity to refer their patients to a Gillette clinic location in their area. Mary Kautto says the Gillette presence in these communities is a real benefit. “The Gillette providers can help to educate primary care providers in the area and to coordinate a child’s care.”
Andrea Paulson says having clinic sites throughout Greater Minnesota helps to educate the entire community. “Having experts locally improves communication with local physicians and providers. It also strengthens the awareness and knowledge about complex, rare and traumatic conditions,” Paulson adds.
"We have the absolute best staff..."
One of the hallmarks of the Gillette Clinics in any location is the dedication of the staff. Paulson says she’s impressed by the caring and energy she finds at the Greater Minnesota clinics. “We have the absolute best staff throughout our Greater Minnesota clinics, they live in the communities we serve, understand the strengths of those communities and are 100% committed to our patients. Our staff is an excellent source of knowledge on local resources and creative solutions.”
Both Paulson and Kautto say they’re pleased Gillette is dedicated to being a resource and presence for children throughout the region.
“I believe children and families should receive the best possible care as close to home as possible,” Paulson says. “My goal is to work with every child and their family to help them achieve the next milestone, while always striving towards greater independence.”
In the future, Gillette hopes its expansion of virtual care options will increase the number of patients who can access our care. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Gillette has expanded its virtual care options to help our patients receive the care they need via computer, laptop, iPad, or smart phone.
“We have so many tools now to help families,” Paulson says. “Personally, I remain committed to caring for all patients in Greater Minnesota and will continue to ensure the care at every Gillette location achieves the highest standards.”
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