WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. ---- Joe Schultz is not the typical patient one imagines sitting in Dr. James Hocks’ waiting room, at the Children’s Minnesota clinic in West St. Paul.
While morning cartoons play in the background, Schultz, wearing a suit, sits patiently until he is motioned to step inside.
A nurse asks him to lift his shirt. She is about to administer a shot. No need to supply Schultz with candy and stickers.
After all, he is a 20-year-old college student, and yes, he still visits his pediatrician.
“I’ve been seeing Dr. Hocks, since I was born,” said Schultz. “I was born with a heart defect, so I was in here for a lot for the first six months of my life and that’s kind of where the relationship started.”
“I trust Dr. Hocks, I know what he’s doing, I’ve known him for a long time. I know my parents trust him,” said Shultz.
“I’ve had the privilege to be here in this clinic setting for 35 years and it’s getting me a chance to know families quite well and watch kids grow up into young adulthood,” said Dr. Hocks.
Around 10 to 15 percent of Dr. Hocks’ patients are 18 years old or older.
“I probably have a few hundred young adults that we see on a pretty regular basis,” said Dr. Hocks.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more and more Millennials are sticking with their pediatricians into young adulthood.
The reason? Under the ACA, young adults can stay on their parents plan until they are 26.
“My parent’s insurance is accepted here. And that’s the key component with keeping us here,” said Schultz.
But above all, Schultz admits, the deep relationship between patient and doctor is unparalleled.
“I feel comfortable with Dr. Hocks. It’s almost as if he is an extension of our family,” said Schultz.