Dr. Donald Wells grew Associates in Family Medicine to multiple clinics 2019 Bravo! Entrepreneur

FORT COLLINS — Associates in Family Medicine started out in 1962 as one office in Fort Collins.

Today, there are nine clinics, seven in Fort Collins, one in Loveland and one in Windsor, with more than 70 providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and a staff of more than 360. Three of the clinics, two in Fort Collins and one in Windsor, also have urgent care facilities on site, so the number of clinics in actuality is 12 but in the nine locations.

What’s the reason for AFM’s success? 

“It was through good planning, community relationships, hardworking physicians and working within the various payer relationships through the years,” said Craig Luzinski, AFM’s chief executive officer for the past five months and a registered nurse with 34 years experience.

Dr. Donald Wells founded the practice near the UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital and has since retired. He does not accept requests for interviews. Dr. Jim Sprowell recently retired as the CEO after serving in the role for more than 15 years.

Today, Wells’ individual mark is seen in how AFM remains an independent, physician-owned practice.

“It’s becoming more and more rare to be independent and physician-owned,” Luzinski said.

AFM provides comprehensive primary care services, as well as obstetrics, pediatrics, sports medicine and geriatric care, plus phlebotomy, so patients can get their blood drawn on site without having to go to a separate facility. Four of AFM sites offer radiology services, plus there are mammograms and bone density scans as additional services.

“What sets us apart as a family practice, part of it is the diversity of our services. … We offer a variety of other specialties within family medicine,” Luzinski said.

AFM’s geographic distribution also sets it apart, as does its community presence at community events, concert series and farmers markets, Luzinski said.

“We’re diverse, high quality and dedicated to the community as a whole as well as providing care,” Luzinski said.

To provide that care, Wells and the other providers at AFM were and are dedicated to the health and well-being of their patients, Luzinski said.

“I get to work with a lot of dedicated, passionate individuals,” Luzinski said. “We want to continue to be seen as the high quality provider of primary care in the region. That’s our strategy right now to continue working on that.”

AFM takes a comprehensive team-based approach to care with medical staff, quality improvement nurses, medical social workers and clinical pharmacists, Luzinski said.

“A lot of offices center care around the provider,” Luzinski said. “We include the expertise of a coordinated team … really helping support the services that really are needed for our patients. Most primary care practices don’t do that.”

Luzinski likes that he could join a “highly respected, high-quality organization,” he said.

“I’m just feeling really blessed and honored to be part of this organization, to be charged with continuing the legacy started with Dr. Wells,” Luzinski said.

The award for Dr. Wells demonstrates the high quality he started and he and his staff have since continued, Luzinski said.

“We’re honored to receive the recognition. It’s due to the dedication of the physicians that started this and to the many individuals who dedicated their lives and times to AFM and their focus on a community approach to primary care,” he said.