County getting first woman GP

    A new wave in family practice medicine in Adams County is on the horizon as it was learned that the first woman general practitioner in county history will locate her office in Decatur after the first of the year.
    Dr. Crystal Jencks has signed a contract with Adams Memorial Hospital to become the latest physician who is a hospital employee. She will start her practice in the middle of January in suite C of the Physician's Office Building at 815 High Street.
    Dr. Jencks finished her family practice residency in July of 2009 and most recently has been working with the Neighborhood Health Clinic in Fort Wayne.  Her practice initially will be  limited to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday since the Fort Wayne Cardiology practice has office hours in suite C on Tuesday and Thurday.
    Adams Health Network (AHN) Executive Director Marvin L. Baird said the arrival of Dr. Jencks marks the first of possibly three female physicians in Adams County. He said Dr. Jessamine Hippensteel, who is currently a third-year resident with the Fort Wayne Medical Education program, has verbally agreed to join Dr. Jencks and is expected to sign a contract with the hospital once a few minor changes are made in it.
    Baird said a third female family practitioner with ties to Adams County who is slated to complete her training in 2012 has indicated interest in joining Dr. Jencks and Dr. Hippensteel.
    Baird told the AHN board that with the new physicians becoming hospital employees, the hospital would probably need to soon adopt plans for yet another physician office building in Decatur. The hospital currently has three occupied offices in Decatur, one in Berne, one in Monroe, and one in Geneva.
    Such a new facility would include office space for the new family practitioners, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. David Coats,  cardiology services, and for a general surgeon. Hopefully, the new building, which has not yet been authorized by the AHN board of trustees, would be ready for occupancy by next July.
    Dr. Jencks will begin her work at the hospital in the near future, working in the Stat Care clinic and in other areas of the hospital as needed.  Baird said her family medicine practice will not start until January so the hospital has a chance to get Dr. Jencks signed up with various insurance programs and for hospital malpractice coverage.
    Baird said all of the three physicians have indicated an interest in doing obstetrics and pediatric care in addition to regular family practice medicine.