Last night I delivered a baby for what might be the last time in my career.
Birth has been a passion since I witnessed it the first time as a medical student at Rose Hospital in Denver where I set up an elective rotation with midwives. I have participated in birth now for 10 years and loved the experience. The possibility of this being the last weighs heavily on me, even as I know the chapter is closing.
It was a baby girl, a healthy 9 pounds, 2 ounces. After the intensity of the birth had passed the baby was laid on the belly of the exhausted, euphoric mother. Seeing her joy and seeing the father—engaged, enraptured and in love—made my eyes well up just as they had at my very first delivery, and each one since. It is in these tender moments when a family is born where the joy lies for me.
As I lay down in bed after the birth I though how funny it is that even as my professional focus is moving away from childbirth I am having my third child, exactly two years apart from the last. I will now have my four year old, my two year old and my new work baby, Direct Osteopathic Primary Care.
Having a work baby is very different than a real baby, but nuances are the same. There was the gestation full of countless hours ruminating over what it would be like and look like. And now the birth, seeing it come to life, watching as my own children fold in this new part of our lives, and paint a mural on the wall to welcome it.
I hope you can join me in watching the clinic as it grows and matures to take care of you and your family in the best possible way for us all.
For many that have been connected to me through Whole Family Health at Belmar, you have likely heard that the clinic is closing Aug 31, 2016.
I started Whole Family Health at Belmar in collaboration a hospital corporation and my best friend and practice partner Lisa Nguyen M.D.
We had been chief residents together, an elected role with increased responsibility and administrative team work. If we could keep 18 residents in line, we had what it took to start a clinic, right?
I remember clearly when we set out on the creative side. We named the clinic and wrote the content of the website. We set out to include nuances specific to our interests. We wanted health action plans, goal setting, nutrition workshops, group visits, and expanded hours.
In the early days we hired Chris, our manager; Rhonda, our favorite MA from our prior office; and Brenda, an experienced MA from another clinic. We ordered supplies, chose colors, hung up pictures and got ready.
In our first suite we had three rooms, paper charts and brand new white coats. We had few people on the schedule October 1, 2012, but we were ready for the new adventure. Our clinic grew exponentially. In the nearly four years of its existence we moved to a larger suite twice, hired a new doctor and got up to eight staff and over 4800 patients.
The recent decision to close the clinic was administrative, beyond our control and in no way a reflection of the clinic we established, maintained and loved.
In the face of change, how do you respond? Do you bury your head, keep plugging away? Or do you take it on, ready to fight it?
Can you meet change with grace? It the face of change, acceptance starts with a focus not on what you are leaving, but what you are moving towards.
It is summer and I am at it again: planning, building and creating anew.
Direct Osteopathic Primary Care will soon have a finished space, colors chosen, supplies stocked and readiness that comes with anything new. Its roots will touch the lessons of working in a corporately owned clinic but the tree that blossoms will be fresh, vibrant and transformed.
After a dreamer became a medical student and then a physician, a new path is waiting to be paved. Where health is present, healing is invited and your family is welcome at the door.
Schedule a Free Introductory Visit at Direct Osteopathic Primary Care today.
“The idea is deceptively simple: Pay front line doctors a fixed monthly fee directly instead of through the byzantine insurance bureaucracy. Make the patient, rather than the paperwork, the focus of the doctor’s day. The result will be happier doctors, healthier patients and a striking reduction in wasted expense.”
--David Von Drehle, “Medicine Is About to Get Personal,” Time, Dec 2014
Read More About Direct Primary Care:
When I was a medical student I learned about the body under the direction of skilled teachers —how it functioned when it was well and what to do when it wasn’t. Over time, the art and science of medicine mingled and the relationships with patients and families directed me to family medicine.
As I began to practice, I sought to integrate my knowledge into the business of medicine. Unfortunately, over the years the system seeped between the relationship of doctor and patient. My decisions became limited by the interests of the business of medicine competing with the interests of the patient. Time spent navigating these conflicts replaced time building relationships and doctoring.
After studying the DPC model for the past year and a half and collaborating with other clinics locally and nationally, I have found a way to provide care that honors our time and our relationship. We can stop navigating the high cost system of medicine and start spending our energy on ways to improve your health. Disentangling your primary care from the traditional model means you will have a physician that knows you through health, job and insurance changes. You can age onto Medicare or lose your insurance all together without disruption in your care.
I am opening my new clinic, Direct Osteopathic Primary Care, with the model of direct primary care because I think it’s the best choice to continue to serve the families I love and thrive in primary care. I hope you can check out my website and see if the model works for you.
Here is how it works:
You pay a flat, predictable monthly fee as a membership to a primary care clinic. Your doctor now works for you, with no middle man. This means that when you need—or want—to come in for a visit, we are available because we limit our membership to a fraction of the patient load typical to most primary care physicians. When it’s not convenient to come in, we can talk over the phone, via secure messaging, or at a virtual visit without worrying about expensive copays. In fact, not only are there are no copays, there are no deductibles and no co-insurance. DPC clinics can do this because they lower their overhead, have a stable membership base, and aren’t waiting for you to get sick to utilize services.
What’s the catch?
You still need insurance to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act and to cover catastrophic illness. The membership model pairs well with most health plans, but even people without insurance can be members.
In direct primary care, clinics do use your insurance when it is important—when you have an emergency, need surgery or referral to a specialist. For imaging, labs and medications, we can pass along cost effective solutions that can save you money. As a physician, I know people pay a lot for insurance. What I haven’t seen in traditional practice is people getting what they deserve for what they pay. I have seen long waits for appointments, not having slots available for acute concerns, and patients not getting return phone calls or results in a timely manner because primary care physicians are overloaded.
I know there may be questions, so I offer free meet-and-greet sessions over the phone or in person after Aug 1 to go over your insurance details.
If you have more questions, call or email me at drbrie@mydenverDO.com. As mentioned, I value relationships and open communication and will do my best to give you an account of how this model might pertain to your particular situation.
Ready to sign up now?
I will be accepting new patients starting on August 1st. Email me at drbrie@mydenverDO.com to get on the pre-enrollment list. Alternatively, you can attend an informational session on August 16 or September 12, email me for details or sign up for my newsletter. If you think this is the best new idea in medicine, like I do, please encourage friends or family to join the email list and make an appointment after Aug 1 as membership space will be limited.
Cheers to forging new paths together.
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— Dr Brie