For the Love of Health Family Health Center opens to patients

Published 12:44 pm Monday, October 4, 2021

DOWAGIAC — A local nurse practitioner and her team have unveiled a colorful approach to patient-centric health care for the first time. With it, they are looking to change the perception of what it means to be a health clinic.

For the Love of Health Family Health Center, 412 Gray St., hosted a grand opening reception Friday, Oct. 1, in advance of their official opening to patients on Monday.

Owner Nadzieja “Nicole” Pocheki, FNP-BC, said the experience of showing off all of her hard work has been like a dream.

“It’s been kind of surreal, to be honest,” she said. “It seemed like it was so far off and then this morning I was like ‘it’s really here.’ … But it’s been super exciting too, to see all the support from the community.”

Courtney Wetzel, of Marcellus, a nursing student at Southwestern Michigan College who will be working at the clinic, said the color-coded rooms and warm, inviting atmosphere are part of what will set the practice apart.

“That’s the whole vibe we wanted,” Wetzel said. “We want you to feel at home, we want you to be comfortable when you come in here. Not nervous – we want you to be able to talk to us.”

When patients arrive, they will be greeted by a painted blue reception area with a piece of wall art declaring “without sleep, no health.”

Around the corner is the waiting area, a pink-walled room with a hand-painted mural of a tree of life surrounded by the words “For the Love of Health.”

Each patient room is also color-coded, with names such as “the green room” instead of numbered rooms as seen at traditional health clinics. Even the staff break room is painted with its own warm color and features an antique table from OH MY Old Made New, 206 Front St.

Each room, in fact features a piece of furniture or cabinetry from OH MY Old Made new.

“I feel like it’s very decompressing,” said Wetzel, of the peach-colored walls and spacious break area. “It’s so comfortable. If you need to come back here and chill out for a second, it’s perfect for that. It’s very calming.”

The colors are not the only unique aspect of the practice that For the Love of Health, according to Wetzel.

“There’s no secretary. We’re just going to do it all,” Wetzel said. “I think that’s better because I think you can get to know your patients better — better than these big hospitals or the other clinics where the patients are just a number.”

Pocheki is a longtime resident and health care worker in Dowagiac, and she is looking to change how clinics traditionally operate, according to Wetzel.

“Nicole’s been at all the major hospitals, so she knows how all that works,” she said. “She’s trying to get away from that. She wants to patients to come first, and that’s not always the case, right?”

The patient-centric philosophy extends to all potential patients. The clinic will accept most insurances, have a sliding fee scale as well as a direct payment care plan or “subscription” plan to allow people flexibility with paying for health services.

“In the communities, you don’t really have too many doctors office or clinics that you can go to,” Wetzel said. “Our goal is to help everyone. That’s our main focus.”

In addition to Pocheki and Wetzel, Sara Palmer of Dowagiac, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field, will join the clinic as a licensed practical nurse. She will also be the “go-to” for the Vaccines for Children Program at the clinic, according to Pocheki.

For the Love of Health Family Health Center is accepting new patients, and can be reached at (269) 919-2008.