Sun Life Health has a family practice in Maricopa. [Victor Moreno]

We’ve all been to the doctor, and they’re all pretty much the same, right? You go in, they look you over for 5-10 minutes, write a prescription, tell you to get more rest and start exercising, and send you on your way.

If that’s your idea of a doctor’s visit, you need to switch to Sun Life Family Health Center.
At Sun Life, the focus is on the whole patient and making sure the treatment programs developed for each patient have the best chance for success. They do this by involving the patient in their care.

How is that different from other doctors’ offices? According to Samantha Reinhard, Sun Life’s director of community outreach, it starts by including things in an office visit for which Sun Life may not be able to bill your insurance, such as a visit with a clinical pharmacist about medication management.

“We have programs that insurance doesn’t always consider as billable, but we feel like they are valuable to patients for their care. Those items are included as patient perks,” Reinhard said.

From infants to seniors, Sun Life offers a full continuum of care, often referred to as integrated care as opposed to the traditional models of healthcare silos.

Reinhard said that is Sun Life’s biggest advantage over other healthcare providers.

“We don’t work in silos,” she said. “The care team can look at a chart from each service line. If one of the doctors wants to know what our OB team did, they can just look at the chart instead of relying on the patient to remember what happened at their OB appointment, or the OB’s office sending the records. We don’t have to spend time going through siloed systems or dealing with a medical office phone system, so our patients get whole care, not siloed care.”

Most patients newly diagnosed with diabetes, for example, are reluctant to change the behaviors that affect their condition, like their diet, exercise habits or glucose monitoring.
Sun Life offers the ability to address all those needs in its Maricopa location. The lab work can be done on site, and the prescriptions filled at the pharmacy just down the hall. Diabetes counselors work with patients to help determine effective treatments, and in-office, integrated, behavioral health professionals help develop strategies for making the lifestyle changes needed to achieve the patient’s health goals.

One patient said consolidation of her medical needs was exactly why she chose Sun Life for her healthcare.

“It’s just so convenient,” she said. “They have the labs and pharmacy here in the office, and that’s very practical; I can fill my prescriptions here and everything is at the same place. I should have looked up Sun Life about seven years ago. I’m one happy camper.”

As part of its unique approach, Sun Life also teaches patients about nutrition, exercise and medication management to give patients an understanding of how each aspect of care works, how they interact and what their benefits are. The staff also talks with patients about their habits and listens for red flags that could impede the patient’s ability to manage their condition.

At Sun Life, the medical providers and staff want to make the whole patient better, not just one aspect.

“We are affecting the whole patient, the whole you,” Reinhard said. “We look for things you might not be looking for. If we’re talking about nutrition, we don’t just talk about eating better, we make sure you have access to good food. We want to treat people the way we would expect someone to treat our mom or grandma; we take that level of care.”