"I want to honor their trust," said Vicki Roberts, who practices family medicine and is opening an office in Sikeston. "I came to the practice of medicine from pastoral work. In both settings, I have been honored with sharing intimate aspects of other people's lives.
"I strive to provide comprehensive care from a faith perspective. My patients all know that I pray for them and at times we share prayer regarding their health," continued Roberts. "All of our staff are people of faith. We hope that our genuine concern for them and their families will be a witness."
Roberts is currently on staff at Missouri Delta Medical Center. She recently left a position at a clinic here in Sikeston to open Family Medicine of Southeast Missouri.
By having a smaller practice, Roberts said she hopes to provide a personalized approach to care -- giving the patients easier access to the nurse and the doctor outside of scheduled appointment times. "There are times that I am adjusting a diabetic's insulin and need to be in touch with them on a daily basis," she said.
Roberts' practice will be located in the Medical Arts Building. She will be in the same offices formerly used by Ted Roberts, although the two are not related.
Roberts has a special interest in diabetic care and is an insulin pump trainer. "For the right patient, an insulin pump can provide freedom," said Roberts. "Rather than four shots a day, the patient with an insulin pump simply changes the pump every three days."
Although Roberts finished in family medicine, she did a double internship in internal medicine and pediatrics.
"I love the pediatric aspect of my practice," said Roberts. "Often, a mother who brings her sick child in for care is sick herself. As a family doctor I can treat the child and the mother."
Women's health care is another of Roberts' areas of interest. For the further evaluation and treatment of abnormal pap smears, she will be able to provide colposcopy. Another passion is geriatrics. "I like to work with my patients and their families to give them the opportunity to live at home, enjoying a good quality of life for as long as possible," said Roberts.
She noted that she is quite proud of the office, which is being redecorated by Ken and Debbie Siler.
"We have a gorgeous waiting room, six exam rooms, and a lab," said Roberts. "Each exam room is done in a different color scheme; the children are going to love our pediatrics suite."
The in-house lab will provide testing for cholesterol levels, urine, blood sugar and diabetes, among others.
The office accepts most major insurance plans, Medicare, and Medicaid.
For their uninsured patients, there will be a program that provides a three-
month supply of name brand medicines for $5. Uninsured patients who participate in the prescription program will also be eligible for some free laboratory studies, thanks to a special relationship with LabCorp, according to Roberts.
Although Roberts considered other locations, she decided to set up an office in Sikeston because of the community. "It's very homey and family oriented," she said. "And in a smaller town, you have the opportunity of really being involved in the patients' health."
She said she chose Sikeston because of the people who live in and around the town and the local hospital, Missouri Delta Medical Center.
"I appreciate the fact that I can take care of my patients both in the office and in the hospital," Roberts said. "In bigger medical centers, care of inpatients is often turned over to a hospitalist. This disrupts the patient-doctor relationship."
Roberts, who grew up in El Paso, Texas, fluently speaks Spanish. For the Spanish speaker, having someone who appreciates the culture as well as the language can help with the healing process, she said. For instance, older people are addressed in a different way than are the young.
Although Family Medicine of Southeast Missouri doesn't officially open its doors until April 1, it has already been quite busy with home visits and hospitalized patients, said Roberts.
When the office opens, there will be three employees in addition to Roberts. Staff will include Margaret "Annie" Johnson, a licensed practical nurse; Judy Ronkoski, office manager; and Roberts' husband, Ed Sullivan, will be the business manager. She plans to add a midlevel provider soon.
The office is located in the Medical Arts Building at 808 E. Wakefield. Appointments can be made by calling 620-6444; office hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.