Welcome to Advocare Cornerstone Pediatrics!
We are privileged that you have sought our help with the medical care of those who are in your care. This information is designed to let you know a bit about our practice.
People are complicated and the medical care of people is complicated, as well. In this information age where things seem to be constantly changing, parents want to know that they have a place to which they can turn (other than the internet!) to seek answers to their questions and to obtain the quality well and sick care for their child for which they are looking. We think that you have come to the right place.
Think of Advocare Cornerstone Pediatrics as your medical home
. This is the place to come first — whether it is a phone call to ask a question or the need for sick care or the desire to set up a well check visit. We are here to help you to take care of your child's needs. In fact, in 2015 this office was designated officially as a Level 3 PCMH, short for "patient-centered medical home." We are honored because this was not an easy feat to accomplish, as there are many requirements that must be met by our physicians, by our staff, and in the specific way that we care for our patients.
In fact, we think we have taken it a step further. We are a small pediatric group with a terrific office staff who will truly care for you much like family. Our nurses are highly qualified, experienced and trained. Our physicians are experts in the care of infants, children, teens and young adults-up to 22 years of age. They each have top-shelf training and many years of experience. We don't have physician extenders (PA's, nurse practitioners, etc.) providing care at Comerstone because our philosophy is to provide the most experienced care possible. We feel strongly that, for this practice, the best person for such a job is a board-certified pediatrician.
We don't cut corners, but instead we strive to provide optimal care to our patients. We like to say that "we give up-to-date medical care the old-fashioned way."
From where have we come?
This practice was established in 1961 by Dr. John Marchesani, a well-loved pediatrician who, for over 40 years, devoted himself to the care of children and their families. In 1995, Dr. Weidner joined him in practice. Gradually, Dr. Marchesani mentored and handed over ownership of the office to Dr. Weidner until retirement in 2003, at which time the practice name was changed to Comerstone, and we moved to our current location. Dr. Marchesani's influence will always be felt at Comerstone.
What is this Advocare thing?
By the 1990's, a changing medical practice environment was making it increasingly difficult for solo practices to survive; so, in 1997, we joined with many other pediatric practices and began to build the medical practice model that uniquely became "Advocare." Advocare is now a multi-state, multispecialty, physician-owned and physician-run medical entity comprised of multiple "care centers." One thing that makes this business model different is that each "care center" can continue to be individually managed. That means we hire all the people that we wish to hire — staff and physicians — at this particular site. Thus, each care center maintains its own distinct identity and personality. We like that, and we think you will too.
What about Urgent Care Centers?
Urgent Care Centers go against most everything that a "patient-centered medical home" is about. Our desire is that all of your care would be coordinated here, but when you go to a clinic, that continuum of care is disrupted. The clinic does not have access to your child's medical records or medical history.
Often, they do not send us a report of your care, and if they do, it can take days for us to get it, and it can be very limited. More often than you would like to think, we are called upon to correct mistakes that are made there.
Furthermore, when you go to such a clinic, you do not know what quality of care you will receive. You may not see a physician, and you certainly will not see a pediatrician. Urgent Care Clinics were designed to care for adults, not kids. The providers there do not have very extensive training in caring for children, and it shows in the suboptimal care that our patients often receive at Urgent Care Centers.
(It should go without saying, but we surely do not recommend Urgent Care Centers for routine well checks or school sports physicals.)
We could go on and on, but the take-away is this:
Call Us First!
We are here to provide advice to you via our main phone number (856-428-3746) 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Just because our physical office may be "closed", your medical team at Cornerstone is still available. We utilize a team of after-hours services that will direct your call appropriately and then answer your questions. Pediatric triage nurses as well as our own on-call physicians are here to help you after hours. We have access to your electronic medical record at all times. If you are considering going to an Urgent Care Center or an Emergency Room, call us first. Let us guide you first in caring for your child's issue at hand.
What other help can be given by phone?
We place a high value on effective communication. When you have routine or non-urgent questions about the care of your child, call us during our office hours. Advice concerning many minor problems can be dispensed by one of our nurses, and our doctors return phone calls all day long when the office is open. We really are very good at getting back to you the same day that you call. If you do not hear from us, call us back.
We firmly believe that prescribing antibiotics by phone without ever examining the child is not the optimal care that we strive to provide to our patients. Our general policy is to not call in antibiotics in such circumstances.
Family members always seem to get sick when you are away, don't they? Don't hesitate to call us as a resource even if you out of town. We will do our best to give you guidance by phone.
And here is another warning: In our opinion, "Tele-medicine" (or a "Tel-a-Doc") for kids is fraught with peril. In essence, medical care is being dispensed after a brief video consult via computer or smartphone without anyone even seeing your child in person. If you want to call a doctor about something, call us!
Are there different types of office visits?
Yes, in general there are well checks (often called check-ups or physicals), sick visits, and follow-ups/consults.
Well Check Visits
— This is a comprehensive evaluation of the physical, developmental, and emotional well-being of your child. The frequency of these visits are as follows: Within the first week; 1 month old; 2, 4, and 6 months old; 9, 12, 15 and 18 months old; and then yearly starting at 2 years of age.
— These are usually same-day visits scheduled for illness, injury, or other more acute issues. There are always slots available for sick patients, because that is the nature of pediatrics. Kids get sick, they often can't communicate what is wrong with them, and they may need to be seen that same day. We can help you determine if indeed your child needs a sick appointment, so don't hesitate to call and ask if you are unsure.
Follow-ups and Consults
— A follow-up visit may be scheduled in advance if the doctor directs that one is needed. Consults are longer visits, also scheduled in advance, designed to address more complicated issues like behavioral/mental health concerns, management of chronic illness, or school problems, for instance.
Weekend and Evening Appointments
— We offer sick and well visit appointments on some evenings and every Saturday morning. Not surprisingly, these well visit slots fill up quickly, so please call ahead enough in advance to secure the appointment that you desire. While we do not have office hours on Sundays, often our physician may arrange, at his or her discretion, to evaluate a patient in the office on a Sunday. In order to facilitate this, you will need to call on Sunday morning with any concerns that you may have.
Advice for Scheduling Appointments
The well child visit will be most productive for you if he or she is the only one with you that day. Feel free to bring along a list of questions that you may have. A lot of information is exchanged at a well check, so we strongly suggest that you schedule only one child's well check at a time. We understand that this is not always practical; but, with few exceptions, our office policy is to schedule no more than two sibling's well checks on a single day. It is best to call to schedule these visits 4-6 weeks in advance, especially in the summer months when many people desire check-ups for their school-age children and teens.
If there is an ill sibling whom you find also needs a same-day sick appointment, please have the courtesy to call us to also schedule this visit, instead of simply bringing them along and then asking for them to be seen too. This aids in our efforts to see patients in a timely fashion.
We schedule our sessions in such a way as to minimize the sharing of the waiting area with well and sick patients at the same time.
We discourage walk-in visits. Appointments ensure that we will have enough time to address the concerns of every single patient who comes in that day. If you need to cancel a visit, please give us a call to let us know so that we may open up that slot to another family in need of it.
For your first visit with us, please arrive 15 minutes ahead of your appointment time so that all patient forms may be completed in a timely fashion.
Notes for School Absences
Such notes will only be given if your child has been seen by us or if you have contacted our office at the time of the illness. We are not willing to give sick notes retroactively.
Health Forms and Shot Records
We will fill out any daycare, school, sports, college, work, or camp health forms if-and only if-the child has been seen here by one of our doctors for a well visit within the past 12 months. We will not fill out forms based on a physical done at an Urgent Care Center. Completion of forms will require a fee- unless the form is working papers, forms for an ongoing medical issue, or for Kindergarten entry. We are happy to provide you with your child's immunization (shot) record at no cost.
We're Proud of Advocare Cornerstone Pediatrics
...and we are honored that you have chosen this practice as your medical home.
So, always call us first! Our doctors, nurses, managers and office staff stand ready and willing to serve your family. We realize that conflicts and disagreements sometimes arise, and our desire is to handle any such issues honestly, courteously, and professionally. If you encounter a problem or have a complaint, do not hesitate to let us know. Only in this way can we constantly improve upon our exceptional service to all of our patients and their families. Above all, we strive to treat our patients and their families with respect, patience, and honesty.
And now, Introducing Our Physicians...
James Richard Weidner, MD
, grew up locally, having been born at Cooper Hospital and raised in Pennsauken, attending high school there. He accomplished his pre-med studies at Franklin and Marshall College, in Lancaster, PA, graduating magna cum laude, majoring in biology
(but he does not
believe in evolutionary theories of origin!) with a minor in music. He attended Temple University School of Medicine, receiving election to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed residency training at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in summer 1995. He is board-certified and has been chosen more than once as a Top Doc by South Jersey Magazine.
Dr. Weidner has special interest in the care of adopted children and those with Down Syndrome.
He is a founding leader of the SJ chapter of the Christian Medical and Dental Association and is a member of the American College of Pediatricians.
Dr. Weidner lives in Washington Township with his wife and their 3 children, the youngest of whom was adopted from Guatemala. His home church is Joy Community Fellowship in Pitman, and he loves playing guitar, singing, golfing, rooting for Philly sports teams, bird-watching, and being with his family. He considers his mission trips to Guatemala a particular blessing.
Laurie R. Bruner, MD
, grew up in northern New Jersey. She attended James Madison
University where she graduated with honors in chemistry. She returned to New Jersey to attend Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick. She completed her pediatric residency training at A.I. duPont Children's Hospital (now Nemours).
After training, Dr. Bruner moved to South Jersey and worked for almost two years as a hospital-based pediatrician at Virtua Voorhees. She then worked for 3 years in private practice at Woodbury
Pediatrics, where she had the pleasure of working with Dr. Lopes, before joining Cornerstone in 2006.
Dr. Bruner is a board-certified fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP) and has special interests in breastfeeding promotion, physical fitness, care of foster children, and premature infants.
She lives in Voorhees with her husband Dave (also a pediatrician) and their two children. Since 2010, the Bruner’s have been licensed foster parents through the state of NJ and have enjoyed caring for foster children in their home. They also enjoy spending time in Ocean City, NJ in the summer.
Her hobbies include running, biking, yoga, golf and quilting. She completed the Chicago marathon, the Disney triathlon, and several Philadelphia Distance Runs. She is an active member of Hope United Methodist Church.
Joanne E. Lopes, MD
, is a native of Gloucester County, NJ. She graduated Villanova
University with a B.S. in Biology. She then received her medical degree from MCP-Hahnemann University School of Medicine (currently Drexel University). Dr. Lopes (rhymes with "envelopes") completed her pediatric residency at A. I. duPont Children's Hospital and Jefferson Medical College.
Dr. Lopes is a board certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP) with special interests in allergies, asthma, and gastrointestinal disorders. She was recently named a New Jersey Top Doc and is also a member of the American College of Physicians.
Dr. Lopes resides in Mullica Hill with her husband, three children, and dog, Percy. She enjoys reading, gardening, and outdoor activities -- especially mud runs! She spends most of her free time with her large Italian-American family.