Care Team Embraces 101-year-old

ABOVE: The care team for Gerald Simoni (center) includes his girlfriend, Jean Eldridge and NorthBay Center for Primary Care staff (left to right) Tammy Ingham, M.A., Victoria Satterwhite, M.A., and Ali Hassani, M.D.
Mary Jameson remembers the first time Gerald Simoni called her.

“He was 98 years old and he was taking a vitamin a day, so he didn’t think he needed a doctor, but Medicare was recommending it,” recalled Mary, the director of outpatient care at the NorthBay Center for Primary Care in Vacaville. “He asked if I could help.”

She just had to meet him, and was happy to help him make connections. That was nearly four years ago. Since then, Gerald has been happily in the care of Ali Hassani, M.D., and a care team at the NorthBay Center for Primary Care in Vacaville, which includes Tammy Ingham, M.A.; Marissa Hutson, scribe; Alicia Gambetti, N.P.; Victoria Satterwhite, M.A.; and Julie Rodriguez, R.N.

Oh, and Gerald’s girlfriend, Jean Eldridge, who keeps him in line and on schedule.

Three Centers Focus on Your Primary Needs

We offer primary care at three locations in Solano County, with a number of doctors to choose from, specializing in pediatrics, family medicine and internal medicine. You’ll find them all included in this issue of Wellspring. Once you’ve established with a physician, you’ll need to schedule a new patient appointment. Call the NorthBay Center for Primary Care at (707) 646-5500 to schedule. Once you’ve established, you can use the call center to schedule appointments with your primary physician, someone on your care team, or consider an appointment at Care ’til 8, a service that is featured at both Vacaville and Fairfield sites. Or, you can schedule online through our secure web portal, MyNorthBayDoc.

When he’s not participating in a dance class, enjoying the symphony, listening to opera, eating dinner out or making a trek to Cache Creek, he’s enjoying life in one of Vacaville’s senior living complexes.

He was born in Richmond in 1917, and served in the U.S. Navy aboard a Landing Craft Tank, which was deployed in the Asia-Pacific Theater. He was part of the team that helped liberate the Philippines in 1944–45.

A greater portion of his adult life was spent in Vallejo, where he had “the best job in the county,” as the dean of vocational education at what was first Vallejo College and later become Solano Community College. He helped create technical programs at the school that included auto body, criminal justice, nursing, cosmetology, welding and aircraft maintenance.

What’s his key to a long life?

“I tell people I wake up every day and get dressed and have breakfast,” he said. “I’m just a 101-year-old guy who wants to make it to 102.”

He gives a lot of credit to his sprightly girlfriend, Jean.

“She’s the one who is keeping me young and alive,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

They met when she, as a volunteer driver, picked up him for an appointment at Travis Air Force Base.

He thanked her with flowers, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now she tends dutifully to him, making sure he never misses an appointment, especially one with Dr. Hassani and the care team.

Gerald Simoni and Jean Eldridge listen intently to the advice of Ali Hassani, M.D.
Gerald Simoni and Jean Eldridge listen intently to the advice of Ali Hassani, M.D.

And if Dr. Hassani is called away for some reason? Another member of the care team can pick up where he left off, said Gerald’s nurse practitioner, Alicia.

“The team concept has been working great for us because we really get to know our patients, and we also learn the style and practice of the physician we’re partnered with,” said Alicia. “I know Dr. Hassani’s way of doing things, and if I need to step in and help, Gerald already knows and trusts me.”

Gerald’s team is just one of many care teams that exist in NorthBay’s primary care setting. The concept is to put an entire medical resource team at the patient’s disposal. That means each setting has a number of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, medical assistants and other support staff to team up with the doctor. So while a patient is tasked with selecting a physician during open enrollment, they should know that every primary care physician in NorthBay’s system comes with the backing of an entire care team.

Gerald is pleased with the arrangement.

“This doctor is just wonderful. He understands me, I understand him. The care couldn’t be better.”

Dr. Hassani says the key to best serving Gerald is to listen to him.

“I have a lot of older patients, and you really have to be patient and listen to what they’re telling you, and reassure them when they’re concerned,” he said. “They’re like everyone else who wants a doctor who really cares. Our patients get that at NorthBay, and a whole team as well.”

Advice Nurses are Just a Phone Call Away

Have an urgent question or concern and can’t wait until your upcoming appointment? Go ahead and call the Center for Primary Care at (707) 646-5500. Nurses are part of the Primary Care Team that serve patients at all three Centers for Primary Care facilities in Green Valley, Fairfield and Vacaville. They have access to your electronic records and your health care team. They’re happy to take calls between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will help you determine if you need to visit the emergency room right away, visit Urgent Care, or if you can make an appointment with a member of your primary care team.

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