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Sheldra Thomas, Cheerleader for Collaborative Care at Phelps Health

Sheldra Thomas
Sheldra Thomas, of Steelville, sees Tim Martin, MD, FACC, and Steven Ballard, ANP-BC, at the Phelps Health Heart and Vascular Center.

Published on February 5, 2024

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Three Things to Know

  • After moving from Chicago, Sheldra Thomas carefully did her homework before landing on a healthcare provider.
  • Following an angina diagnosis, she receives collaborative cardiology care from Tim Martin, MD, FACC, and Steven Ballard, ANP-BC.
  • Sheldra praises the care coordination made possible, in part, through the Phelps Health MyChart app.

As a Chicago, Illinois, native, Sheldra Thomas is accustomed to a certain level of care. So, when she moved to Steelville, Missouri, she shopped around before selecting Phelps Health for her healthcare needs.

Sheldra first visited the healthcare organization for primary care in 2011, but quickly became familiar with the Phelps Health Heart and Vascular Center and Cardiologist Tim Martin, MD, FACC.

“I was hospitalized with chest pain,” said Sheldra, age 59. “This is when I met Dr. Martin.”

After running different tests on his patient, Dr. Martin determined that angina was causing Sheldra’s chest pain. (Angina is chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.) He also sent her to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to see if she needed a stent. Thankfully, she didn’t, and the cardiologist instead put her on medication to manage her condition. She now sees Dr. Martin on an annual basis.

Tim Martin, MD, FACC
Tim Martin, MD, FACC

“I do a yearly stress test, but it always comes back that my heart condition is mild,” Sheldra said. “I don’t really have anything wrong with my heart, besides the angina.”

In between her yearly checkups with Dr. Martin, she sees Steven Ballard, ANP-BC, an advanced nurse practitioner who specializes in cardiology and collaborates with Dr. Martin. In fact, Sheldra and Steven’s birthdays are 6 months apart, so at her 6-month checkups, they are often wishing each other happy birthday.

“I just love my doctors, because they’ll go into great detail to explain things to me,” she said. “If they have to draw a diagram, they will. And if they don’t know something, they’ll refer you to someone who does. I also love Annette [Wells, practice manager of the Heart and Vascular Center]. They all know I’m a goof, that I like to poke fun and they’ll joke with me.”

In addition to her heart condition, Sheldra also has type 2 diabetes. To help manage her diabetes, she sees Internal Medicine Physician Chad Vail, DO, FACOI, her primary care provider, and Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Candy Sadler, AGNP, WOCN for wound care.

“Everybody knows everybody,” she said. “They’ll say, ‘Let me check out Dr. Vail's notes, let me see what Steven Ballard put in, what was his recommendation?’ And when I see the dermatologist, even though he’s not at Phelps Health, he phones over to Candy in the Wound Ostomy Center to go over different suggestions. I like that everybody's on board with my healthcare, and that they all work together.”

Sheldra added that all of her providers are equally aware of her diabetes and make every effort to ensure that her medications don’t interfere with each other.

This care coordination is made possible through MyChart, Phelps Health’s secure and easy to use patient portal.

“I love the MyChart app,” Sheldra said. “I get the [test] results immediately. I can do my [prescription] refills on MyChart. And I can always ask questions, send a message and check my upcoming appointments. If I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment, I can do that, too.”

Along with keeping her connected, MyChart has been a great source of reliable information for Sheldra.

“MyChart explains what my medications are for,” she added. “I also get a summary from every doctor’s visit, and it’s very detailed. I can compare my labs from a year ago and see different trends. And if I don’t understand a medical term, I can click a button to go to another screen, where the information is in layman’s terms. The nurses are great about following up on MyChart, too, whether I have a small or big concern.”

After 13 years of coming to Phelps Health, Sheldra is in a good place, when it comes to her health.

Steven Ballard, ANP-BC
Steven Ballard, ANP-BC

“They [my providers] challenge and encourage you,” said Sheldra, who describes her health as stable. “It’s your health, and they want you to be an active participant. So, it’s important that you have input. They may say, ‘Sheldra, let's talk about your weight. You need to get out and do this more, etc.,’ but they also know my limitations.

“I’m not down in the dumps about my health. I feel good, comfortable. I’m confident in my healthcare. Overall, my health has improved, with the help of different medications. If I’m ever concerned about my meds, they’ll [my providers] listen to me and go over them with me, to see if there’s something I do – or don’t – need.”

Throughout her Phelps Health journey, Sheldra also has had positive experiences with Urologist Joel Leon Becerril, MD; Nephrologist Nurelign Abebe, MD; the Emergency Department; the Delbert Day Cancer Institute and the Pain Management Center. To describe her as one of Phelps Health’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders, wouldn’t be a stretch.

As an advocate for the healthcare organization, Sheldra has recruited her family as fellow patients, including her granddaughter and her son.

“I’m trying to bring the whole family in,” she said, laughing.

Comprehensive, Collaborative Care

Life doesn’t happen in isolated moments, and neither should your healthcare. To start your journey to better health at Phelps Health, view our list of doctors and providers who are accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call (573) 364-9000.

Found in: Cardiology Delbert Day Cancer Institute Diabetes Emergency Heart and Vascular Center Heart Care Internal Medicine Nephrology Pain Urology Wound Wound Center