In honor of Doctor’s Day on March 30, Prowers Medical Center would like to celebrate our dedicated team of 10 fulltime providers who offer integral services to our community. Each week, you’ll meet two providers and learn about their role in caring for patients. This week the spotlight is on two members of our medical team, Dr. Hilton C. Ray and L. Renee Weakley, FNP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner. Please join us for our Doctor’s Day celebration on March 30 from 2 – 4 pm at the Clinic and meet these outstanding providers!
Both Dr. Rick Ray and Renee Weakley, FNP-C, value having patients who they see over time. They appreciate really getting to know their patients and their families.
“When I know my patients, I can take a much more holistic approach to their healthcare, seeing the whole person, rather than focusing on one problem,” said Dr. Ray whose philosophy as a doctor is to really listen to his patients and take an approach that works best for them.
Weakley agrees and says, “I approach each person as an individual and try to really listen to their concerns. I enjoy caring for the whole family and getting to know everybody from the kids to the grandparents.”
Likely you’ve heard Benjamin Franklin’s saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It really is the perfect approach to maintaining your health. While it can be tempting to only see your doctor when you have a problem, if you see them when you are well—and commit to fine tuning your health in between—you just may need a few visits rather than several in the coming years.
“Wellness exams and health screenings let us find and treat problems earlier, before they become serious. Prediabetes, for example, can be reversed if a person makes significant changes in their diet and starts exercising regularly,” Weakley said.
During a wellness exam, your practitioner not only monitors your vitals but also completes health screens and labs to check for cancer, anemia, heart and lung issues, thyroid disorders, renal and liver disease, diabetes and more. He or she also talks with you about your health habits and helps you figure a plan to stay on track. It’s also a time to talk about your family’s health history. Before your annual exam, it’s a good idea to jot down a list of items you’d like to visit about.
“When I see a patient regularly—every year or so—I can identify subtle changes and pick up on things that are happening that they may not even be fully aware of, like weight gain, a change in demeanor, signs of depression or reactions to stress,” Dr. Ray said.
While they have always provided health screens, the Clinic is now formalizing certain screens to meet Medicare guidelines for wellness exams. For example, your wellness check this year will likely include a depression screening, cognitive screening and fall risk screening as deemed necessary. It’s a national push to make sure conditions are not missed. Weakley advises her patients to use their birthdays as a reminder to get an annual exam.
“Wellness exams are a time for people to ask about current concerns or things they might be wondering about. Health screenings often stimulate conversations that normally would not have come up, resulting in better quality care,” Dr. Ray said.
Both practitioners have been in the community for several years. Dr. Ray raised his family here, with his son still living in Lamar after graduation, and his twin girls off to college. Weakley was raised in southeast Colorado and has a senior in high school in Lamar, and one in college. Her husband also works at Prowers Medical Center, as a surgical nurse. If you’d like to make an appointment with either Dr. Hilton C. Ray or Renee Weakley, FNP-C, call Prowers Medical Center Clinic at 719-336-6767.