Published On: Thu, Apr 13th, 2017

Dr. Collazo marks 25 years here

WAUSA  — Dr. Gilberto Collazo made a big transition a quarter of a century ago.
He moved to Wausa from San Juan, Puerto Rico, 25 years ago to fill a need here after long-time physician Dr. R. L. “Tollie” Tollefson passed away.
Collazo took over the duties as the town doctor, and has served the Wausa community for 25 consecutive years, now.
Hosting patients from all over northeast Nebraska, the doctor prides himself in personalized patient care that minimizes wait time and maximizes a patient’s one-on-one time with their doctor.
“Some doctors like to have a full waiting room, but not me,” said Collazo. “ I don’t like to wait myself, so I don’t like for my patients to wait.”
Collazo’s office in Wausa has a partnership with the Osmond Hospital and that helps him still be able to provide care as a small town physician.
“It is too hard to make it as a small town doctor,” said Collazo. “If I had bought the office myself I don’t think we would still be open. Instead, I work with the hospital, so myself and all of the employees work for the hospital.”
Collazo grew up in the mountains of Puerto Rico, and he says Nebraska was quite the change, but that he loves it here and never wants to move away.
“I can see myself going down to Puerto Rico for some of the winter, but I’ll come back,” Collazo said.
The doctor also has an office in Coleridge that he goes to once a week to help out some of his patients that can’t travel all of the way to Wausa.
Dr. Collazo has six employees, including a physician’s assistant, Cassie Arens. Collazo says she has been immensely helpful, and that the patients love her.
“We have patients from Wayne, Norfolk, Hartington, Yankton and more,” Collazo said. “It is nice to see that when you care about the people you are helping, they want to keep coming back to see us because of how we care for our patients.”
Dr. Collazo has loved the past 25 years that he has worked in Wausa,  but admits that he will probably not be working for much longer.
“A few more years and I am done, I would say,” Collazo said. “I did not think that I would be working this long but I love the community so much. I know many doctors that have retired because everything is now on computers and it is much different, but the people have kept me going.”Since Collazo does not like having people wait in the waiting room, he often has a schedule set for a steady flow of patients with breaks for him to do paperwork in his office, but it doesn’t seem to be the busy days that get to him.
“There are times when I can get very busy and it feels like too much,” said Collazo. “But I mainly don’t like those slow days that have me at my desk all day. Those days give me anxiety.”
Since moving to Nebraska, Collazo has become a grandfather, and has also become an avid golfer.
He received his medical certification in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and now has 25 years of experience in Nebraska, where he has become a bonafide community member — almost as if he has lived in Wausa all his life.