Since Dr. Chris Molitor began seeing patients in the newly built office of Advocate Medical Group Lake Villa, he has put the language skills developed in college to good use. From middle school to high school, passing through college, his Spanish studies prepared him to become a bilingual doctor.
“It puts patients at ease when they can talk to me in the language they understand best,” he said. “They tell me that they will send their family members to see me. It makes me feel good when they want to send someone who matters to them.
A family physician in primary medicine, Molitor is one of the physicians currently practicing in Advocate’s new 20,000 square foot office in Lake Villa, which opened Aug. for people who would have had to travel as much as 45 minutes for medical care.
When Molitor started learning a foreign language in middle school in his hometown of Libertyville, he had no idea it would be something he could use to help those concerned about their health.
“Like a lot of people, I started studying Spanish in college,” he said. “I continued my studies at university, and I’m delighted because it opens up a whole new aspect of life, both personally and professionally.”
Molitor said about 30% of the patients he sees are Spanish-speaking.
Karen Lambert, president of Advocate in northern Illinois for patient service areas, said the location on Route 83, just south of Grand Avenue, has lasted three years. Studies have shown a growing need for medical services in northwest Lake County.
“We realized there was a great need for primary care in this area,” she said. “We want to make sure people have access to health care close to home. We are considering extended hours. Doctor Molitor is already very busy.
Lambert said the lawyer recognizes the region’s growing diverse population and that a doctor with Molitor’s language skills is a bonus. There is a virtual interpreting service for people who need help in languages other than English and Spanish.
“In Lake County, there is an increasingly diverse community,” Lambert said. “We know it’s better for their health care to communicate effectively with our patients and their families. We know that Spanish is a main language in the region.
In addition to primary care family medicine, the new Advocate facility has orthopedic specialists. More are planned for the future as needs and personnel are balanced across the region. Lambert said the size of the building provides room for growth, adding specialists and new services in the future.
Other services are now available such as X-ray imaging, general laboratory tests such as blood and urine, vaccinations, wellness visits, treatment of illnesses and advice to help people with chronic diseases.
Soon there will be mammograms, physiotherapy, ultrasounds and other specialized care. Lambert said cardiology could also be a possibility, if needed, as longer-term needs are assessed.
Molitor said that as a primary care physician who treats people of all ages, he sees children with their parents and adults with their older relatives. One of his specialties is helping people with diabetes and managing their weight.
“I grew up with a family doctor,” Molitor said. “I can see everyone who walks through the door.”
The orthopedic practice offers patients who suffer from chronic pain or need joint replacement a place to seek treatment in Lake Villa rather than traveling a longer distance. Molitor said that while surgeons at that practice perform procedures at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, local patients can make follow-up visits at Lake Villa.