Dr. Christy Martinez and Dr. Sarah Roberts, board certified family medicine physicians at Homer Medical Center, have accepted full time positions as hospitalists at South Peninsula Hospital. Their move from family medicine to inpatient will begin on October 1. A third hospitalist, Dr. Kira Bendixen, will be joining them in November to complete the hospitalist team.
South Peninsula Hospital shifted to a hybrid hospitalist model over three years ago, when the providers from Homer Medical started rotating week-long coverage at the hospital. This was the first step towards having dedicated hospitalists, who work exclusively in the inpatient setting. However, it has been a continuing desire of the medical staff to have a more consistent, permanent team for inpatient care. The COVID19 Pandemic challenged the hospital to increase the capacity to care for critically ill and complex medical patients locally, particularly when the option to send these patients north to larger and more specialized hospitals was delayed or not available. Additionally, Homer Medical was in need of a more consistent schedule of providers to offer patients, especially for scheduling recurring appointments. Dr. Christina Tuomi, Chief Medical Officer at the hospital and one of the primary care providers at Homer Medical Center, is excited about the decision. “With this change, the hospital is further developing services and expertise in our inpatient-based care, while offering more consistent access to providers and long range scheduling of appointments in the clinic setting. All to best serve our patients and the community.”
Dr. Martinez and Dr. Roberts have a combined 16 years of practicing family medicine at Homer Medical Center, Dr. Martinez with six and Dr. Roberts with ten. Dr. Martinez was born at South Peninsula Hospital and raised on the southern Kenai Peninsula, so brings lifelong connections to the community outside her practice. Their experience and personal knowledge of hundreds of patients and families will be an important addition to their medical expertise in their role as hospitalists. Martinez has been serving in the role of Hospital Medicine Director for the last four years, overseeing the inpatient area, and both have been part of the rotating schedule providing hospital coverage.
Martinez reflects, “I will greatly miss the opportunity to care for local residents as their family physician, but I look forward to being a part of increasing Homer’s inpatient based services that will grow our local care to meet the needs of our community in new and necessary ways.” Roberts expressed, “I am honored to continue providing care for individuals and families during some of the most joyful, trying and difficult times, and hope that being a familiar face will make a difference.”
Both providers have added clinic days during the month of September to allow for necessary appointments to assist with the transition. Homer Medical Center is adding new providers to ensure choice and access for patients. Joe Llenos, MD, board certified in family medicine, and Bonnie Turner, family nurse practitioner, are joining the team and will begin seeing patients at the end of August. Additionally, Drs. Tortora, Swain and Tuomi will now have increased capacity to see more patients at Homer Medical as they will no longer have hospital rotations. For a complete list of providers at Homer Medical Center, visit www.homermedical.org.