Sarah Bush Lincoln welcomes Certified Physician Assistant Keith Ballinger, PA-C, to the Toledo Clinic.
Ballinger has provided medical care to area residents for 10 years, gaining vast experience treating people with urologic medical concerns for seven years at Urology Associates in Mattoon. Ballinger also has experience caring for people of all ages with a wide variety of medical concerns at Family Practice Rural Health in Shelbyville, Coles County Community Health Center and Bella Vein Laser Center Medical Spa.
Beginning his medical career in family practice, Ballinger is excited about returning to this role at the Toledo clinic. “I like the broad variety that family practice offers,” he said. “It’s very rewarding because you get to know people over a long period of time. Getting to know a person as an individual, not just as a patient, is key to the successful practice of medicine.”
Ballinger took a non-traditional path to becoming a physician’s assistant, working in accounting for more than 15 years before deciding to pursue medicine. Inspired to change career paths after being asked to be a volunteer EMT for the village of Stewardson, he went back to school part-time while raising a family and began working various jobs at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Effingham.
Serving as a phlebotomist, respiratory therapist and pharmacy technician in Effingham, Ballinger earned degrees from Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University. While he considered going to medical school, Ballinger decided to enter the Physician Assistant program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
Commuting from Stewardson and working at St. Anthony’s Hospital on the weekends to help support his family, “it was one of the most difficult things I’ve done, but it was very rewarding.” He was thankful to complete his clinical rotations at hospitals and clinics in Shelbyville, Effingham, Olney and Mattoon.
Graduating in 2002, Ballinger immediately began caring for people at Family Practice Rural Health in Shelbyville. However, he later accepted a position at Urology Associates in Mattoon where he gained experience in the diagnosis and treatment of urologic disorders and conditions. “It was a great experience and it expanded my knowledge base,” Ballinger said, crediting his mentors Urologists Roger Rives, MD, and David DiDomenico, MD. “It was a privilege to spend time with patients and help them understand their medical condition.”
In Toledo, Ballinger will confer with supervising Family Practitioner Robert Wochner, MD. “My goal is to provide the highest level of healthcare and if something is beyond my scope, it will be nice to have the luxury of seeking Dr. Wochner’s advice and to pull from his knowledge base,” he said.
Ballinger resides in Stewardson with his wife, Lisa, and three children, Ashton, 24, Chelsea, 22, and Chandler, 14.
To make an appointment with Ballinger, call the SBL Toledo Clinic at (217) 849-3151. It is located at 168 Courthouse Square, Toledo.