The Estero Medical Center's Physician Spotlight of the Quarter


Dr. Gregory M. Houck, founder and owner of Estero Dermatology, contributed to the following article courtesy of Bonita Living Magazine


Comprensive Health at the Estero Medical Center

By Kristina Kolesa


There are few amenities the Estero-Bonita Springs area does not boast. From picturesque beaches to high-end shopping, the area is well-stocked with all the necessities for life in paradise. The Estero Medical Center (EMC), a comprehensive medical facility with general and specialty practitioners, is one such amenity. Opened in July 2006, the 43,000-square-foot medical complex is a one-stop health care facility, offering patients diagnostics tools, including MRI, CT, X-ray and ultrasound technologies, 21 independent physicians in an array of medical specialties, an on-site lab, and an urgent care center. Best of all, it’s located at the corner of Corkscrew Road and Three Oaks Parkway, right in the heart of Estero. “I think the location is key,” says Dr.Teresa Sievers, a primary care internist at the EMC. Sievers relocated from a busy practice in St. Petersburg to start her practice in Estero and has been at the facility since its opening. One of the advantages she sees to working in the same building as her colleagues is the ease with which patients can get the treatment they need. “We work together. There’s definitely a good camaraderie,” she explains. “I refer a lot of patients to Urgent Care and the other doctors and vice versa. It helps with continuity of follow-up.” Currently, the EMC is home to physicians in dermatology, family medicine, obstetrics, pain management, ear, nose and throat/allergy, internal medicine, neurology, orthopedics, chiropractic and psychiatry. It had long been the goal of board certified neurologist and sleep disorder specialist Dr. Holly Hannon to have a comprehensive sleep center in which to treat patients from initial visit to final follow-up. “I wanted a place to have a full-service sleep center where I could see patients and we could do the testing and follow-up and everything at one location, a really great location,” she explains. Hannon found that location in the EMC. She moved to the facility in August 2007. “I like the idea of having a cohesive group of physicians,” says Dr. Gregory Houck, a board certified dermatologist at the EMC. “It makes it a lot more convenient for the patients. When you have both specialists and general practice doctors, patients can accomplish a lot without having to drive to different offices or medical centers.” Patients’ lab work can be completed on-site and at the Radiology Regional Center at the EMC. CT scans, MRIs and other diagnostics are performed as well, often with results available immediately or within an hour or two.

The Urgent Care Center at the EMC is ideal for patients with acute, non-life-threatening medical needs. It is staffed by four emergency room physicians as well as experienced physician assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners. Open late and on weekends, the Urgent Care Center accepts both appointments and walk-ins. “Probably half of our patients are people who have no doctor, or are seasonal residents or visitors so they have limited options to where they can go,” explains Dr. Thomas Johnson, emergency department physician and medical director of the Urgent Care Center. “They can go to the hospital or some place like our facility.” The care providers at the Urgent Care Center treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries daily. “All the people who work here are either continuing to work in the ER or have many years experience working in various emergency departments,” he says. “We bring that expertise to an urgent care setting where we’re able to see and treat complicated cases that would normally be seen in the ER.” Patients are often pleasantly surprised by the spa-like ambiance they find at the Urgent Care Center. Johnson and his partners purposely incorporated warm, welcoming elements throughout the center to keep the environment as stress-free as possible. “We wanted to make this as unlike an ER as possible,” Johnson says of the décor. “We have relaxing music playing, and there’s a large-screen TV in the waiting room that we play “I Love Lucy” and comedy films on. The last thing you want, when you think you’re ill, is to be in a drab, depressing place.” The center was so well received in Estero that Johnson decided to open a second Urgent Care Center in Cape Coral. In operation since July 2007, the Cape Coral location has been well received by the community there. With seven of the Estero Medical Center’s 11 acres still undeveloped, there’s plenty of room for its expansion in the future. It will no doubt afford Dr. Houck even more opportunities to answer a frequently asked question from his patients. “I get asked every day, ‘Dr. Houck, do you know a family practice doctor?’, ‘Do you know an internal medicine doctor?’, ‘Do you know an orthopedic surgeon?’ and I’ll say, ‘Well, sure, right across the hall.’”

Estero Medical Center 10201 Acros Avenue • Estero, Florida 33928 •

BL May/June 2008 • Bonita Living 42, 43