Health & Education

Loberg hired to lead Tribal clinic

08.14.2014 Dean Rhodes Health & Wellness, Tribal employees

If the Tribe wanted a doctor with compassion, dedication and a willingness to devote an entire career to underserved populations in Oregon, the Grand Ronde Health and Wellness Clinic found one in Lance Loberg.
At Salem Hospital and community branches of the facility, now part of an umbrella organization called Salem Health, Loberg, 61, was for five years an obstetrics specialist. The program he worked in - Family Birth Center - served those without health insurance.
He saw patients with diabetes and provided family services for those who were pregnant. Two-thirds were Spanish speaking and the majority included higher risk patients. One quarter of patients were diabetic.
Before that for 20 years, he worked with migrant and family health centers. Four of those years were with the free clinic of the Salud Medical Center in Woodburn, and for 17 years he was at Northwest Human Services in Salem, also a facility serving patients without insurance.
Two years ago, Salem Health's Birth Center operations changed. The clinic closed and referred underserved patients to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Loberg stayed in Salem, working in urgent care with about a third of his time devoted to occupational medicine.
Recently, he started looking for other options, he said. His reputation led to an inquiry through the professional website LinkedIn, and that led him to Grand Ronde.
"When I first visited Grand Ronde, I liked everything here," he said. "All parts. It was more of what I was doing through most of my career. I thought it would let me get back into things I'd done for most of my life."
Loberg's charge in Grand Ronde, since arriving at the end of July, is about a third administrative and two-thirds clinical, taking care of patients.
"Dr. Loberg comes to Grand Ronde with a tremendous amount of experience in family medicine," said Jeffrey Lorenz, executive director of Health Services for the Tribe. "He will be a welcome addition to our team."
As the department looks at scheduling and coverage and coordination of care across all health center departments, Loberg is "very willing to evaluate our systems and processes and work to improve them to help us meet the needs of our members and provide excellent patient care."
Loberg said that the department is "doing a good job; doing good work already," but he is holding regular provider meetings to focus on best practices. He also is making sure that clinic providers keep track of all problems of all patients with a "personal care" approach.
With his background in women's health care, Loberg intends to expand those services in Grand Ronde. The expanded services will give women birth control options and possibly pre-natal care.
To start, he says, "I'll provide these services. New providers may have this experience," Loberg said, "and as they perform this work, there won't be as much demand that I do it."
With two sons through college, and another along with two daughters still in high school, he said, with a little bit of humor, "I keep working to support them."
He is a gardener and a cyclist, and for music, he said, "It's mostly things my daughters listen to."