WILLIAMS, Ariz. - As the new North Country HealthCare Williams Clinic manager, Jeff Axtell said he hopes to expand the health center's role in the community.
"We've got a good core of services now, we just want to enhance those and get to a higher level so that we can be more to the community than just this, we can provide more of the needs they have," said Axtell, who took over as clinic manager in December 2012.
Prior to starting at North Country HealthCare, Axtell worked for 20 years at Flagstaff Medical Center as the director of the Cancer Centers.
One of Axtell's goals as Williams Clinic manager is to work with the Williams Health District board to determine additional services to bring to the community.
For example, Axtell said the Williams Clinic now offers cardiology clinics so people don't have to travel to Flagstaff for those services.
Axtell said he hopes that in the next year the clinic can also start providing mental health services such as counseling.
"Because right now I don't know that there's enough resources for that and I definitely see a need," he said.
Another of Axtell's goals is to reduce the wait time for appointments at the clinic, which can be as long as two to three weeks.
Within the next six months, clinic staff will perform a health assessment, which will include conducting a survey and evaluating demographic data.
"So that will help us grow our services to meet the needs of the community versus what we think," he said.
Axtell said one of the things that helped convince him to take the job at the Williams Clinic is the experienced staff.
"It's a full staff, they work very well together, it's a great team," he said. "So I wasn't coming in and having to fix a lot of things, I could come in and say, you guys are doing great, let's keep moving forward."
Axtell originally wanted to work in the health education field but then switched to administration.
"I think the biggest thing is improving the health of the community, taking care of problems that are out there and really making an impact on people's lives in regards to better health, better services and things like that," he said.
Axtell lived in Parks for about 7 years, so he said he is familiar with the Williams area. He currently commutes from Flagstaff but likes the sense of community Williams has.
"One of the things that kind of excited me about the position is that this health center basically takes care of all the community," Axtell said. "I like the uniqueness of how approachable it is. It's great to see that the staff know all the patients, it's very friendly. It's definitely a community health center in the true respect of the word."