There are not enough health care companies out there that put children and families first as top business priorities. But Columbia's KinderMender is the thankful exception.
I found out about KinderMender when it first opened last summer.
A friend had posted a story on Facebook that related to the superior care of that friend's child following an accident:
"We drove straight to KinderMender where we were seen immediately. Dr. Rafei was so kind and gentle with her (and me!)...This morning she still has an ugly bruise on her head, but she is healthy, happy, and energetic just as Dr. Rafei predicted. Thank you KinderMender!"
The post elicited more than 30 responses.
Responses ranged from the simple “Glad she is OK” to praises of KinderMender.
A couple of weeks later my oldest daughter had a fever and stomachache on a Saturday evening. Instead of taking her to our pediatrician's office (which was closed), we went to KinderMender.
It lived up to the hype. Our daughter couldn’t have gotten better and faster care anywhere.
In addition, the office environment is a children’s wonderland. It’s like FAO Schwarz with a doctor on the side. In fact, the other day my daughter asked if she could go back. She wasn’t sick mind you – she just wanted to visit again.
Meanwhile, KinderMender has on-site X-ray and lab service, which can provide treatment for most non-life threatening childhood problems.
KinderMender’s literature notes that the company's leaders “believe that good health care means much more than good medications."
KinderMender also states that “we look at health care in a whole new way.”
In my opinion, it shows. I observed that the staff is trained to work specifically with children. In the meantime, the center's founder, Dr. Keyvan Rafei, is a father of two children and is extremely personable.
According to his online biography, Dr. Rafei is a Columbia resident with more than 11 years experience in pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine. In addition, he has been named as one of “Baltimore’s Top Docs” for his work in pediatric emergency medicine.
“It’s nice to have someone you can trust,” Ellicott City mom Jennifer Hurley said about the practice.
I recently had a chance to chat with Dr. Rafei about why he started the business, and about how things are going so far.
“I have always felt that there must be a better way to deliver good medical care," Dr. Rafei said. "Appointments and schedules in today's lifestyles make little sense. I was intrigued by the ‘open schedule’ some practices had created to allow patients to come in whenever they wanted [or] needed to.
As an extension to that, I wanted to create a one-stop shop environment that would also be 'fun' to go to -- a place that you think of as being 'easy' and 'hassle free' and not a burden."
KinderMender, 6100 Dobbin Road, Columbia. Sun.-Sun.,9:30 a.m.-10p.m. 443-492-4000. kindermender.com.