The AllCare Medical Group’s clinic in the Illinois Valley has recently added board-certified family nurse practitioner Kate Belfakih to its growing staff and she brings a compassionate message about the importance of getting timely medical care.
Before becoming a nurse practitioner Belfakih spent 10 years working as a floor nurse in a cardiac unit. “I saw lots of patients dealing with a wide range of heart issues, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and more. Many would come into the hospital with heart attacks, kidney disease, strokes and that sort of thing; I saw those conditions quite frequently.
“Now, I really want to help people manage those chronic conditions to prevent them from having to be hospitalized with the more severe outcomes that can sometimes be avoided,” she said, explaining her commitment to educating patients about the risk factors involved in heart issues, strokes and diabetes, COPD, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders and more.
Belfakih favors a holistic approach that incorporates a patient’s social, cultural, psychological and spiritual background and beliefs, while she also stays current on the best available science to ensure the highest level of care possible for her patients.
With the current nationwide shortage in doctors – especially in rural areas – nurse practitioners are increasingly taking up the slack. The key difference between NPs and MDs is that while NPs provide patient primary care, physicians are able to deliver more complex patient diagnoses, specialty care and treatments.
NPs are well trained to assess patient needs. They can order as well as interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, prescribe medications and formulate treatment plans. By blending clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, they typically provide the comprehensive care many patients desire – and often do so with better bedside manners…
“I’ve had people come in that felt burnt in the past, like they weren’t listened to. So I spend time really hearing what they have to say and then I explain how and why recommended treatments might help them.” She stressed how good health care is about “working together to create a plan to improve patients’ health. People here are really appreciating how I am taking this time with them.”
Belfakih graduated in 2021 with a master’s degree in nursing from the University of South Alabama.
There are numerous types of nurse practitioners, but Belfakih chose the “family” specialty to enable her to work with patients “throughout the lifespan.”
“My grandmother encouraged me to do this,” she said. “I wasn’t sure, but I’m the type of person who really cares for people and she thought I’d be a really good nurse. She ended up coming down with a cancer and unfortunately she didn’t see me graduate – but she was so happy that I was on my way in this career. There were other nurses who took care of my grandmother and so I thought: ‘OK, it’ll be like a pay it forward thing’ that I could then help take care of other people’s families when I graduated. That’s what she ultimately wanted. I had thought about dropping out of school to take care of her, but she was like, ‘No, no, you’re not doing that.’”
Originally from Oklahoma, one reason Belfakih relocated to Oregon is her love of the outdoors.
“I wanted to come to a place where I’d enjoy living,” Belfakih said. “I have friends that moved out here who really like it – and they said there was a need for practitioners. I wanted to be in a place where I was fulfilling a need. After interviewing in a few places around the state I liked the Illinois Valley best – so here I am!”
Belfakih is married and the couple has a daughter. The family often hikes on the weekends. They like the Cathedral Hills Trail System that’s located just outside of Grants Pass, and they hiked out to some old mines near Jacksonville. “My daughter really enjoyed learning about the mining history.” The family also thought the Little Falls Loop Trail near Selma was a lot of fun and look forward to exploring more of the region’s botanical areas.
Under the umbrella of parent company AllCare Insurance – and with a mission to help increase people’s access to health care throughout the region – the AllCare Medical Group has opened several small clinics: one clinic in Glendale; two in Grants Pass; and now, in the Illinois Valley.
“We do primary care, wellness and preventative care,” she said. “Once a patient is established they can be seen for episodic complaints, like colds, flus, or if a chronic pain condition flares up or minor injuries. Though we’re not an urgent care clinic – but if we have availability, we always try to get folks in.”
Belfakih is currently accepting new patients and says another new provider is joining the clinic in July as well.
The AllCare Medical Group takes most major insurances and the clinic is located at 341 Cottage Park. You take Hanby Street until you come to Cottage Park, where there are two office buildings. Call the clinic at 541-450-3625. They’re open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.