The Pediatric Care Center recently celebrated its 30th anniversary! Over the past three decades the PCC pediatricians have treated Bethesda families and watched the community grow.
“I decided to start the practice with the goal of offering really comprehensive pediatric care to a community that would really appreciate it,” PCC founder Dr. Paul Peebles says. “Parents in Bethesda are educated, and their primary goals are the health and education of their children.”
Dr. Peebles found the Old Georgetown Road Manor house and thought it would be a great space for the practice. “The idea was to have it in an old house to be a comfortable, friendly setting, not like an office building. We decorated it like a home inside, so it felt really family-oriented.”
“From the very first moment you step in the door and are greeted at the front desk, you feel like family,” long-time patient Beth Eisman says.
“Our parents are very committed to obtaining the very best care for their children,”says Dr. James Mattey, who joined the practice in 1988. “They are deeply involved in making sure their children are nurtured in the best possible way. This is true of the schools they choose, their parenting practices and the medical care they receive. I feel honored every day to be their choice as a physician.”
The PCC pediatricians have followed many Bethesda families as they grow up over the years. “I enjoy being a part of the family as I follow kids from infancy to young adulthood,” says Dr. Paul Weiner, who joined the practice in 1989.
The PCC has expanded over the years, now with seven physicians, but the goals have remained the same. “We’re not just looking in ears, but also the psychology, of our patients,” Dr. Peebles says. “We have always remained devoted to the service of kids and their parents.”
Over time the PCC saw considerable growth in the teen and young adult population as the practice and the Bethesda community matured. In 2009 the practice opened up the Teen and Young Adult Care Center, serving patients ages 13-26. The health needs of this group in the community were not being fully met, Dr. Peebles says. The CDC defined American adolescence as ages 14-26, so the PCC physicians decided to expand the practice to serve this age group. “We have continued to constantly evaluate how to better serve the needs of kids, young adults, and their parents,” he says. “Our patients know and trust us, and feel a connection with us.”
Dr. Dana Kornfeld, a board-certified adolescent and young adult medicine specialist, joined the practice in 1996 and sees many patients at the Teen and Young Adult Care Center. “It’s so wonderful to have this space to be able to deliver comprehensive care to this age group,” she says.
“By opening the Teen and Young Adult Care Center on the third floor it has enabled us to keep these patients and provide the continuity that is so important to good health care, and has provided incredible patient satisfaction,” Dr. Weiner says.
The PCC physicians now offer a range of specialties to better serve the needs of patients, including our developmental pediatrician Dr. Karin Belsito. “We have carefully gathered great doctors trained in different areas so we can provide very high quality medical care,” Dr. Mattey says.
Beth Eisman says she first went to the PCC when she and her husband were expecting their first child, who is now 27. “We went to an open house for expectant mothers to get to know the pediatricians. Over the years the PCC became a safe haven to bring my children to: a comfortable environment where everybody understood our needs. It’s not your average doctor’s office.”
Some families now have second generation patients coming in. Chris Woodside went to the PCC himself when he was a child, and now brings his baby son to the practice. “I had an exceptional experience when I came there myself as a young person. When my wife and I were blessed to have our first child, we considered it the most significant decision we would make: where to bring our son,” he says. “Ultimately it was that important to go back to the place where we would receive that high level of care.”
The Eismans have a special needs child, and found the pediatrician’s range of specialties to be particularly helpful. “There are so many kids out there that need that specialized doctor,” Beth says. “Most of all, it’s a truly kind and compassionate group of doctors, and staff.”
“Our patients have become a part of our family and we have become a part of their family,” Dr. Peebles says.
“Dr. Peebles met me in the hospital after I was born, and now decades later Dr. Mattey met my son when he was born,” Chris says. “Having gone to the PCC myself growing up, I think I was reassured in a certain way that the care is excellent. They are all such warm, friendly, caring people – now that I’m the parent that feeling is escalated times ten.”
It’s that connection with patient families that has been the most rewarding experience, Dr. Weiner says. “One little guy dressed up for Halloween as Dr. Weiner, complete with a lab coat, stethoscope and a beard.”
The office itself has barely changed over 30 years, Chris says. “It’s unbelievable how little has changed – the rocking horses in the waiting room, the wall art, everything – it’s as if it’s been frozen in time, in a really good way. It’s a reassuring feeling, like you’re coming home to a warm and protected, safe place for your family.”
The PCC's patients today, however, have changed: they tend to be more well-informed than they were in the past, Dr. Peebles says. They are able to search health issues on the Internet, which he says can be a great information tool. “We encourage our patients to know more, and we as physicians just work to decrease their anxiety, talk through concerns and give them perspective. If you want to help kids, you need to help their parents as well.”
"With more specialists in different areas now, the PCC has only changed for the better," Beth says.
“I really think it’s the finest pediatric care in the entire city,” Chris says. “I would not have gone anywhere else.”