CRYSTAL LAKE – A focus on patient-doctor relationships at Caring Family in Crystal Lake has the health care provider thriving after 25 years in business.
The medical office started with one primary care physician, a nurse and secretary at the corner of Randall and Algonquin roads in Lake in the Hills. It has grown to include four doctors and about 30 employees at 781 McHenry Ave. in Crystal Lake.
“We wouldn’t be having any fun if we weren’t building relationships,” said Dr. Todd Giese, who opened the practice in 1988. “I know several generations of people now and that is what makes the job work for me. I don’t know how I could ever stop doing this.”
Giese was born and raised in Wheaton and earned his biochemistry degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before obtaining his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
His residency focused on adult internal medicine and pediatrics, and when not practicing medicine, he teaches at UIC and is on staff at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
The father of five originally planned to practice medicine for 15 years and then become a psychiatrist. The practice has now had more than 350,000 patient visits and more than 20,000 hospital visits.
“Once you see and get to know people in this field, you learn you can help just as much from this seat than a psychiatrist’s chair,” said Giese, who has been married for 18 years. “Why would I leave the people I have known for so long? They are like my family.”
Having friends in the McHenry County area, Giese decided to open a small practice in Lake in the Hills in 1988. The business grew slowly, but eventually yielded enough patients that a second location was opened nearby on Route 31.
“It was important for us to be in one place, so we built the building in Crystal Lake,” Giese said. “When we started, there wasn’t even managed care. Now you need staff because we are helping with everything from insurance approvals to consultations and other tests.”
As the practice grew, Giese first added Dr. Racquel Ramirez-Dolleton, who earned her biology degree from UIC and medical degree at Perpetual Help College of Medicine in the Philippines.
The two ran the practice for more than seven years before Dr. George Gancayco was added to the staff. Soon thereafter his wife, Dr. Jamie Gancayco, an Arlington Heights native, joined him at the practice.
Dr. George Gancayco holds a biology degree from Boston College and a medical degree from the Chicago Medical School. His wife earned her bachelor of science in nursing at the University of Michigan and received her medical degree from the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.
“You grow slowly, then you start getting busy and yell, ‘Help,” Giese said. “We all came together with a little bit of fate and work great together. We are very like-minded in philosophy but differ in personality.”
With a recent health care movement toward digital, the doctors focus on combining the use of technology with one-on-one care rather than relying on computers alone.
“Everyone wants to put patients on a computer grid, poke a hole here and there and tell them how they will be healthy,” Giese said. “It’s not just about telling you what to do or what some computer tells you to do. Good medicine is about relationships that draw you in to better health.”
Other changes in health care, including the Affordable Care Act, have yet to affect the practice.
“It’s a lot, and we spend a fair amount of time conforming to those changes,” Giese said. “If someone tells you to spend a lot of extra money for something, and it is going to be a great benefit to everyone, we are happy. I am waiting to see the great benefits.”