Primary Pediatric Care in your HOME! How cool (and convenient) is that?

by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection

I’m remembering a time when I had a healthy, chubby three-year-old at home and he only went to preschool three days per week.  His brother was 6, attended Vanderlyn Elementary for kindergarten, and had a HUGE crush on Paige Spearman, the Vanderlyn nurse.  Who could blame him?  She’s adorable.  But seriously, he was the strep throat king that year and Paige would call me to retrieve him monthly on a Tuesday or Thursday when healthy chubby boy was home.   So, off I’d go to the pediatrician’s office with chubby and strep throat king in tow.  Upon arrival, I had to decide which side of the waiting room to sit on.  The well side exposing healthy kids to strep throat or the sick side exposing chubby to various and plentiful contagions?  Wouldn’t it be great if I could have tested for strep at home avoiding the pediatrician’s office altogether?  Or better yet, what if I could just get them to call in the darn Amoxicillin prescription since I KNEW it was strep throat again.  Gosh, I wish I had access to Jennifer Rego back then.  (Side note – he had strep 11 times in kindergarten but had his tonsils removed and has not had strep since.)

Fast forward SEVERAL years…Young college boy called me from Auburn last week because not only had he not yet recovered from extensive contact with poison ivy but was also stung by a yellow jacket (or two).  Oh, the perils of working for a landscaper…His boss sent him to get treatment because his arm was swelling up to twice the normal size.  He doesn’t have a doctor in Auburn, Alabama.  He didn’t want to go to an unknown urgent care and expose himself to Covid.  If only he had an established relationship with Jennifer Rego, she could have FaceTimed with him and called in a prescription.  Lucky for chubby armed college boy, his grandfather hooked him up with his Auburn internist/friend.  Pretty soon, he had a Prednisone pack in hand and was watching the swelling desist.

Last week I met Jennifer P. Rego, PA-C, MMSc.  She is a physician’s assistant who worked 20 years in the CHOA Emergency Room.  Ready for a change, she recently embarked on a new medical adventure – mobile medicine!  Think house calls.  Her physician father performed house calls when she was a young girl.  She recalled him carrying rolls of dimes whenever they were out and about to use to call his patients from payphones.

COVID entered the scene bringing with it lots of changes to CHOA, impacting Jennifer’s role in the Emergency Room.  She was ready for a change so called a colleague who has a very successful and well-established pediatric office in Grayson, Georgia.  The two of them put their heads together, developed a business plan and have partnered together to offer mobile pediatric primary care to the Dunwoody/Sandy Springs community.  Thanks to Jennifer, we can now experience pediatric primary care in the safety of our own homes!!!  Why our community though when Grayson is so far away?  Jennifer lives here and her two teenagers attend Mount Vernon Presbyterian School.  

I’m fascinated by the idea of mobile pediatric care so I recently sat down with Jennifer over lunch at Marlow’s and asked her tons of questions.  Here’s the scoop:

Jennifer is an Emory University School of Medicine trained PA (Physician Assistant) who, after working 20 years in the ER of a pediatric hospital and raising two kids of her own, proclaimed:  “We’ve lost the art of medicine.  It has turned into a machine.  I want to give parents back the “say so” in the care of their kids”.  She also mentioned that her days are now “gloriously calm” as compared to life in the ER!   She holds a medical license from the Georgia Composite State Medical Board and can bring all her years of pediatric expertise to you and your children, in the comfort of your home.

Jennifer explained that she went through a very thorough cost analysis to determine a fair price for all offerings.  You can read about pricing and services offered here.  

Basically, when your pediatrician’s office is not available or you don’t want to go to the office and need non-emergency quick care for your child, Jennifer Rego will bring primary care to you.  If you reside in Dunwoody or Sandy Springs and would like to schedule an appointment, please click here and select the date and time that best fits your schedule or call 888-778-2429.  Her specialty is pediatric care for the normal array of visits you would go to your pediatrician for: minor illnesses (including asthma, bronchitis, RSV, COVID-19, sore throat, colds, coughs, ear infections, fever, allergies, rashes, eczema, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, reflux/heartburn, styes, “pink eye” conjunctivitis, flu or similar symptoms), minor injuries (lacerations, minor burns/cuts/abrasions, concussion, sprains/strains, suture/staple removal), minor skin conditions (diaper rash, acne, athlete’s foot, Chicken Pox concerns or exposure, cold/canker & mouth sores, impetigo, lice, minor psoriasis, poison ivy & poison oak, rashes, skin irritation & dermatitis, ringworm, rosacea, scabies, sunburn, swimmer’s itch, wart evaluation), and sports physicals & procedures.  Bringing this care to the comfort of your home helps to ensure your child will not receive additional ill exposures, keep “safe space” and family close.

For those of you (like me) with kids in college towns far away, the next time your young adults are home make an appointment with Jennifer.  Once they are “established patients” she can do “tele-medicine” calls with your kids.  This is so conveniently wonderful for non-emergencies preventing our local kiddos from needing a doctor in Athens or Auburn or Statesboro or Milledgeville etc.

Last but not least, I found it very interesting that she offers in-home COVID testing for the entire household (flu shots too).  Meaning, she does not limit the offering to just the kids in the house…she’ll COVID test or give flu shots to the parents too.  Her COVID test isn’t free but she can guarantee results in 12-24 hours.  If you get swabbed in the morning, you will likely get your results that evening.  If you get swabbed in the afternoon, your results should be available the following morning.  There is a cost associated, but for many jobs, schools, and travel scenarios people are having trouble getting timely COVID results and need to pay for a sure thing.  

Jennifer seems to be very authentically enthusiastic about her new mobile practice.  She is personable, calm, obviously very smart and I feel like she’s probably amazing with kids.  If my kids were still kids and not young adults, I would call her for all their pediatric primary care needs and welcome her to my home with open arms.  Oops, I guess I cannot HUG her, so I’d welcome her wearing a mask and offering her hand sanitizer and a Diet Coke.

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Jennifer P. Rego, PA-C, MMSc