What Used to Keep Me Up at Night
Sat, Sep 17, 2022
Back in 2015 I was dreaming of opening a practice that would change the way I care for patients. That is, when I wasn’t waking up in a panic, terrified I had done something wrong at work.
I was in a conventional private practice providing full-spectrum family medicine (kids, adults, pregnancy care, hospital care, you name it) in a rural setting. I had great support staff and peers, and I got to have continuity - see the same patients over and over so we could get to know each other.
I thought that was my dream job.
But there was a problem that few practices can budge. Our traditional “system” of office-based medicine happens at a faster pace than it should, and that affects us all. Neither patients nor medical providers like the pace, but for most it’s a necessity.
I have always been able to keep up with the required pace of seeing patients (meaning I “only” ran 20-30 minutes late at times) and completed my notes on time (which for all physicians means working on notes between patients, during lunch “break,” after work and on weekends). The problem was, I would wake up anxious in the middle of the night in a panic - “Did I order that lab?” “Was that the right dose of medication?” “Did I remember to ask this important detail??” “Did I document that important detail so if something goes wrong I can know that I did all the right things?”
Sometimes the only way to quiet my mind was to kick off the covers, sneak out of bed, and by the light of my laptop double check that day’s charts to be sure I hadn’t missed something. Though I could now go back to bed reassured my patients were receiving quality care, it was just as disconcerting that I didn’t even remember doing some of it!
The final straw came when I had a patient who I knew would not get better in the standard 15 minute visit once every 3 months. Quality care for her meant meeting frequently, for much longer. I would have her come as the very last patient of the day so I could stay late to take extra time without the looming stress of having other patients waiting on us. And she was getting better! But how long could I keep this up? And I certainly couldn’t do this for all my patients.
Every patient can benefit from unpressured time with their medical provider. I needed to change the way I practice to meet my patients’ needs rather than satisfy a system dictated by insurance companies (many of you know I LOVE to chat about all the ways health insurance has changed how care is provided!).
The medical system is sick, and both patients and medical providers want and deserve better! I deserved better!
Fast forward to 9/17/2021 when I cut the ribbon on my beautiful, comfortable, welcoming office at 123 Horner St in Downtown Henderson. Some of you (and many others) were there, thank you!
Now at Sunflower Direct Primary Care I can provide high quality care that causes less anxiety for you and me:
- I can spend time with patients where we can go beyond the usual instructions to just “take your medicine or “start exercising” and focus on YOUR lifestyle needs.
- You never have to wait on me in the waiting room because I don’t run late.
- I can spend as much time with you as you want and need!
Since first opening our doors, I have seen over 600 community members for everything from newborn exams, COVID-19 vaccines (a LOT of them!), COVID-19 treatments (for a while we were the only show in town!), skin biopsies, wellness exams, sore throats, and lots of blood draws to sprained ankles, high blood pressure, weight loss, diabetes, post-COVID symptoms, and even brain cancer! And I still have the time (and brain space) to dedicate to improving the current system from the inside via my roles as Medical Director at Granville Vance Public Health and Chief Medical Officer at Maria Parham Health in addition to work on state level committees and boards. I am committed to making a difference in our local community by improving the quality and availability wherever people seek care as well as the work environment of family physicians and other medical providers across the state.
And now I can sleep through the night!
If you’ve actually read down this far - THANK YOU!
If this kind of service has given you hope for our medical system and helped remove fears and other barriers that kept you from getting the care you wanted and needed, please share this email by forwarding it to friends and family.
(Unfortunately at this time I cannot take Medicare patients as members, but I CAN put them on our wait list for when that time comes!)
🌻 Thank you for putting your faith and support in Sunflower DPC 🌻