Easthampton Family Care Practice Develops Model for Primary Care

Manhan Internal Medicine completes renovation, brings on two additional caregivers

 EASTHAMPTON – Manhan Internal Medicine, a family medicine practice made up of four health care providers, recently completed an office renovation that doubles the space and makes an on-site blood draw station available to patients. The practice also brought on two additional physician assistants as well.

In this way, the practice is building on a model that Mark Bigda, an internist with a focus on adult and family medicine, sees as the way forward for family medicine at a time when physicians are backing away from family practice to focus on a specialty.

That model is having a primary care provider oversee nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and, “That’s a model that will hold,” said Bigda, who leads the practice along with Nurse Practitioner Sharon Shumway and Kate O’Connor and Kathleen Treanor, both physician assistants.

“The bottom line is we’ve lost so many doctors in this area in the last decade that there’s been a very high need,” Bigda said. “A lot of people have been going without a physician. By bringing in a nurse practitioner and physician assistants, we’ve filled the gap now in the middle of Easthampton to become the go-to place for primary care.”

The renovation at Manhan Internal Medicine at 2 Mechanic St. began in late February and was completed in early May. The project added five exam rooms, doubled the size of the waiting room and added an on-site Holyoke Hospital lab so patients don’t have to travel further for blood work.

The practice, which serves well over 5,000 patients who are 18 and over in the Valley and in Connecticut and states as far away as Arizona, also brought in O’Connor and Treanor to join the 10 other staff members, including a medical assistant for each practitioner and an on-site practice administrator and referral specialist.

Shumway is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who has practiced in the Pioneer Valley for 15 years. She earned her degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has a special interest in women’s health.

O’Connor holds a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., and she earned a bachelor’s in biochemistry from Regis College in Weston.

Treanor hold a bachelor’s in physician assistant studies from Long Island University in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a bachelor’s in biology from Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.

“The future of family practice is these ladies standing before you,” Bigda said. “Doctors want to specialize now. There are very few left doing family care medicine. There’s a great dearth of regular doctors.”

Bigda holds a medical degree from the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, and he completed his residency in internal medicine at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

Bigda is a leader in an organization called Mustard Seed Missions of West Hatfield, which provides medical relief in Haitian villages. He travels to Haiti several times a year to offer care in remote locations.

Manhan Internal Medicine is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and now offers walk-in hours between 8:30 a.m. and noon on those days, and the practice provides its own on-call, after-hours service to better serve patients.

Almost all insurances are accepted, including Mass Health.

For more information, call 413-529-9282.


Image courtesy of Kathea Pinto via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Liscense.