John Reel, PA-C

John Reel, PA-C, has enjoyed the PA profession’s flexibility to move among many medical disciplines and work in multiple clinical settings. He has worked in general surgery, emergency medicine, orthopaedic surgery, pulmonary medicine, family practice, internal medicine and urgent care. He has worked for large national corporations, small hospital systems and private practices. Just this past April, he began working for a walk-in clinic healthcare startup.

“Working in different disciplines has built my management and leadership skills in addition to making me a better provider,” he says. “I have learned best practices in operations, training and in treating patients, and I know that it is incumbent upon me to be compassionate and to listen.”

Reel is the primary provider at Blue Mountain Quick Care, the first walk-in clinic in this small underserved town of Lehighton, PA. The clinic is hospital owned – filling a community need since neither of the two hospitals in the area offer fast-track care.

“This is a poor county, with lots of Medicaid patients and only a few providers in the county who will treat them,” he says. “The emergency rooms were slammed because patients had limited access to primary care and nowhere else to turn.

The Quick Care clinic has extended hours and offers an alternative to patients with common illnesses and minor injuries. No appointment is needed, and the care is provided at a lower cost than a visit to an emergency room. Patients are referred to a primary care physician for follow-up.

Reel’s patient population is diverse, from pediatrics to geriatrics, and many of them are under six or over 60 with multiple comorbidities.

“The reaction from the community has been extremely positive—better than we thought,” says Reel. “The patients are so humble, grateful, and appreciative.

Outside his clinical position, John has often volunteered -- at a different walk-in clinic, soup kitchens and food banks. He has also taught ACLS, BLS, ergonomic training, CPR, ROM strengthening and wellness seminars.

Impact:

Former colleague Donna Surjnarine says: “John's compassion, attention and commitment to putting patients at ease, his adept clinical acumen and his keen ability as an onboarding provider, are just a few of his value points. John trained me on EHR, in policies/procedures, and was my supporter and ‘rock’ as I transitioned into practice.”

Surjnarine adds: “Patients and families wanted to be seen by John specifically and would call ahead to make sure he's working before they come in. I have seen him comfort grieving families and go the extra mile to check on patients, while always being available to colleagues for a consult. He is an advocate for the PA profession and is someone that nurses, MAs, nurse practitioners, PAs and physician colleagues look to for leadership.”

At this point in his career, Reel is thoroughly enjoying the role of primary provider in a healthcare startup.

“The feedback from patient testimonials and surveys affirms that this was a much-needed service, and the grades are very high for patient experience and outcomes,” he says.

“In addition, I am working at my desired level of autonomy and independence. I have a strong relationship with a collaborating physician across town and we discuss what a good thing this has been for the community and the health system.”