While I have been looking to 2016 and our business goals for next year, I have to reflect on the past three years. I started this business January 1, 2013, and we opened our doors March 1, 2013. We have impacted many lives since then, and it is hard to believe it has been three years already.
We have helped revolutionize family medicine. We have taken the concierge model and translated it to the middle class. We have offered true 24/7 coverage for our patients, managed everything from upper respiratory infections to congestive heart failure exacerbations over the phone, cared for patients as remote as the Dominican Republic, removed melanomas and squamous cell carcinomas and provided liver-saving phlebotomies for a patient with hemochromatosis.
We have email consultations, phone and Skype visits and regularly text our patients. We send flowers when our patients are in the hospital, and send a sympathy card when we hear of a loss in a family. When ice covers the streets or floodwaters cover our roads, making it impossible to make the drive to the office, we man the cell phone and send prescriptions electronically. We make house calls to our patients who are unable to get out of their homes, and we provide these services to our members because they believe enough in our practice, in our business, to pay a membership fee. We supported, testified for and helped pass House Bill 769—the Direct Primary Care bill, which was signed by the governor this summer. Our members realize and understand that they are the ones who keep the lights on, who maintain a nice office for them to come to and who pay the salaries of all of us who care for them. It seems the most natural way to provide medical care—folks paying a fair price for all we can possibly provide for them. Free market medicine works!
We have found that the constraints of having a single office are many; and to better care for our patients, we are looking to become more mobile. We think this would be particularly helpful for our small business owners who could use the presence of their physician at the work site, or for our patients who require a face-to-face visit but find transportation to the Lake difficult. This is why one of our goals for 2016 is to have a mobile unit, and we are considering having a scheduled circuit for physical visits. Most of our patients who have to travel an hour or more have been excited to learn that we want to provide this for them. We are not sure whether this is going to be a reality yet, but planning is ongoing.
If we become mobile, and if our membership numbers grow accordingly, we will need more help at the office in Osage Beach. If our membership continues to grow in 2016, we may possibly add a nurse practitioner to our ranks.
Our mission statement, which is displayed proudly over the reception window in our office, is as follows: to break down the barriers that currently exist in the patient-physician relationship, to restore mutual trust, and to provide excellent individualized primary health care.
My staff and I take that mission to heart, and use it as our measuring device in all that we do. The relationships we build need to be open but professional. The trust must be mutual, as I put my license, the entire business and the livelihoods of the staff on the line with every prescription I write and every bit of advice I provide. And, “excellent individualized” medical care is what I was trained to provide, which means that I do not treat statistics, or consider all patients to fall in the width of the bell curve, but embrace the uniqueness of each individual human being.
Our ultimate goals for the coming year are:
- To break down those barriers that still exist between the patient and the physician
- To restore mutual trust and provide excellent, individualized care for all our members
- To provide these services for more and more patients throughout Missouri
- To continue to think outside the box
Wishing you all that is good and helpful in 2016, and looking forward to serving you better!!
~Jenny Powell MD Direct Primary Care Clinics LLC, Osage Beach MO