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Episode 116: Dr. Sumul Modi (He/Him) of Celeste Brain Health - NC, TX and CA

Direct Care Doctor



Dr. Modi is a neurologist.
Dr. Sumul Modi of Celeste Brain Health

Dr. Sumul Modi is a board-certified neurologist who completed his neurology and vascular neurology training at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit. His areas of interest include migraine and stroke. ADHD, brain fog, memory disorders, and concussion/TBI. Dr. Modi is excited to be accessible with the new Celeste Brain Health initiative. He believes that timely access to a neurologist is extremely important and can provide earlier diagnosis and may change treatment outcomes.


He believes that every single patient is unique. They have different lifestyles, different sets of health problems, and different levels of understanding. Targeting all these together would need a more personalized approach can lead to a better prognosis. Therefore, he loves to spend time with his patients to target all these aspects. Furthermore, Dr. Modi is active in academic circles. He helps enroll eligible patients in ongoing clinical trials. He has published a number of research studies in prestigious peer-reviewed journals.


Visit his Google Scholar Page for more information.


He is affiliated with Novant Health in North Carolina and Synergex Med in California.



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Transcript*

 Direct Primary care is an innovative alternative path to insurance driven healthcare. Typically, a patient pays their doctor a low monthly membership and in return builds a lasting relationship with their doctor and has their doctor available at their fingertips. Welcome to the My DP C story podcast, where.


You will hear the ever so relatable stories shared by physicians who have chosen to practice medicine in their individual communities through the direct primary care model. I'm your host, Maryelle conception family physician, D P C, owner, and former fee for Service. Doctor, I hope you enjoy today's episode and come away feeling inspired about the future of patient care direct Primary care. 


Direct Primary Care is a way to connect with patients on their terms and care for them on yours. I am Dr. Jessica Furey of North Star Primary Care, and this is my DPC story.


 Dr. Jessica Fury is a board certified family medicine physician practicing in myON, Wisconsin. She is a native of the Chicago area and lived in five different Midwestern states. During her undergraduate medical and residency training, she attended medical school at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and moved to Wisconsin after completing her residency through Michigan State University, where she served as chief resident in her final.


Dr. Fury opened North Star Primary Care officially in the middle of 2022 and believes that direct primary care is the remedy for both patient and physician unhappiness in their traditional fee for service medical system. She lives with her wife Emily, two stepchildren, two cats and innumerable plants in an area just outside of Milwaukee, and is happy to encourage and offer support to any physician thinking of making the leap into D.


She feels life is too much to offer, to stay stuck in a system that doesn't support physicians or really care for patients.


 to the podcast, Dr.


Fury. Thank you so much, Marielle. I'm happy to be here.


I just love your name and I also love that you are on this podcast because we just, we just met, uh, this past summer at Dr.


Ryan and Dr. Gupta's mastermind in the Chicago area, and it was just so incredible to hear your story and your journey, so I'm so pleased that the audience gets to hear more about it and from someone who has a freaking awesome name. So . Well, thank you so. Yeah. Um, it's f u r e y cuz when I put her into my phone it was f u r y, like Nick Fury and that's not the correct spelling.


So just a side note there,


my favorite. Uh, people usually tell me I sound like a monster truck driver or, uh, I can't remember some of 'em, but my favorite was that I sound either like a comic book villain or a, um, the leader of, oh, what do you call it? The women who Roller. Like roller derby. Yeah, I sound like the captain of the roller derby team.


That's awesome. So as you listen to Dr. Fury's words of advice, think about helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, roller skates. Man, I'm suited up right now. Yeah. Love it. Love it. So, Again, you know, I got to hear a little bit of your story in person, but I really wanted to open with this amazing background that you have because I just love when people come into medicine with totally different backgrounds.


Like if you've seen one D P C, you've seen one D P C. If you've seen one D P C doctor, you've seen one D P C doctor. So can you tell us about your non-medical journey before you decided to choose medicine?


Sure. Yeah. I, when I was a kid, actually, I was just reading. Some old journals that I had from high school, and I think I had ones from junior high.


And it talked about how I wanted to be a doctor and I really planned on going pre-med when I went to undergrad. And that was my plan. And in the interim, I just fell in love with writing and communications and reading and that whole literary world. And I thought, you know what, if I worked in editing or publishing, and because I was doing that so much, I didn't have.


Doctors in my family or anyone that kind of showed me what the medical world was like. So I stayed with what I knew and I ended up majoring in English and working in book publishing and writing freelance. And while I really liked a lot of parts of that, eventually I just felt like I wasn't contributing anything to the world.


I wasn't helping people in a way I wanted to. , I decided the second publishing company that I worked for, paid for half of the classes you took, regardless of topic, up to a certain amount per year. And I thought, you know what, I'm just gonna, I had this nagging voice that always said, go back to medical school.


And I thought, I'm just gonna start taking classes and see how it goes. And the first night of the first class that I took, it was an anatomy class, and I. This is absolutely where I should be, and I was so glad that I went back and I just kind of chipped away at it for a while until, you know, you take enough pre-reqs to take the MCAT and then you do that and you wait, you apply to school.


And then I just kept going.


So,


So incredible. And I think that that's so, it's, it's so neat how you were reading back in your journals about, you know, young Jessica and her dreams and now Jessica of Modern Day is living through those dreams and, you know, it's, it's so cool too. Uh, I was, I gonna say, you said something there, um, uh, you were talking about, oh, and I think that that's a really, really awesome tip that I'm sure you didn't even mean to drop that.


If you are in medical school or if you're, you know, like Ben Kopecki, I think that was his name in my medical school class. It's like he didn't even need to try, he didn't even need to, he didn't even try. He like, just let's listen to, um, Lectures on recordings while he worked at the front desk at a hotel


And like, you could, you could totally make money like that to fund your D P C later. So I think that's a great way that nobody has mentioned yet on the podcast as to how to have a side gig while you are, you know, working towards building your dpc. So that's an awesome tip. Um, that it was just like extra special sauce right there that you did.


You dropped . Yeah. So when, when you realized. in this first class in anatomy, when you realized that medicine was absolutely the way to go, what was your transition like from publishing into medicine and what was your career like while you were in the fee for service arena?


So I transitioned into medicine.


Uh, do you mean out of, what was my career like in publishing while I was.


Let me, let me re-ask it. Um, let me put my lovely, like, I have a Edna Mode bandaid that I need to stop putting into the camera and a tea. Yeah. So it's like, okay, , check it, Mary, I'll check it. Um, , so as you discovered that medicine was your calling where you could help people out and you could love your job by, you know, helping other people understand their bodies and diagnoses and preventing diagnoses, what was.


Life, like while you were in your fee for service, uh, jobs before going into D P C?


Um, so I, my first position was with a hospital owned system and I loved being able to connect with patients. And I do think it's good that I did publishing and writing first. I think it gave me. An experience in the business world and in the corporate world, and I think it helped just hone my skills in talking to people and working on my own.


So I'm glad that I did that and then went into medicine because I think it helped with my communication with patients. And I do think it helped that I was a little bit older that I. Even if I had just gotten out of medical school or residency, people tended, I think, to give me a little bit more credit for having more experience because I was a little bit older.


But I think that that I felt good that I was contributing in the way that I had always intended to. So before I got into publishing and I felt like I was making the difference that I wanted to be making, .


And then after you started medical school, did you know that you, you were going to be a particular type of doctor, or did you explore, you know, like being a pediatrician, being a surgeon, did you explore different routes of medicine while you were in medical school?


Absolutely. So I was one of those people that liked pretty much every rotation. And I think initially I had liked working in the ER because as a student, as a med student, it's fun. You've got different things coming in and it's exciting and you, you've always got something changing and it's fast paced.


But then, and I actually applied for residencies. Emergency medicine before, at the very initial beginning of that. And then I woke up one morning and I was like, oh my gosh, I don't want to be in emergency medicine at all. But I did like the variety and so I started looking at IM and um, FM residencies and.


I loved that. Family medicine offered so many different possibilities for branching out, so I could work in geriatrics. I could see more kids if I wanted to see just kids, because for a while I considered pediatrics. I could do hospice like I ended up doing for a while. I could run a marijuana clinic. You know, I could do all sorts of different things, and I wanted to be able to give myself as many different choices as possible.


Definitely keeps it fun, so that's awesome. Yeah. Now, when you, when you got into residency, I, I wanna ask about that, that time between, you know, third year, possibly fourth year in some people's residencies where they're thinking about what am I gonna do after? So when you were thinking about what am I gonna do after residency, did you have your eyes set on a particular, uh, particular job?


And if so,


So I really had no idea. I'm one of those people that learns retroactively. I can, retrospectively, I can look back and say, oh yeah, I, I can see why things sort of unfolded the way they did and now I understand how it works. But at the time I didn't even understand. I thought really kind of the only option was a hospital long practice.


I feel like we all. Sort of funneled down this path where it's like, oh, private practice doesn't exist anymore. You have to work for a hospital system. And that's just the way it is. And that's what I knew from residency because that's what I trained in. And so I just thought, I'm gonna work for a hospital and system and that's the way it goes.


And I, even though I was prepared in residency, I don't think I fully underst. , what my life was gonna be like and how it was gonna continue to evolve once I took that job.


Those are words. , any person who's already chosen D P C, whether they're open or not, um, they, they can relate to that for sure.


Absolutely. Yeah. So when you went from this place of, you know, Hey, I'm, I'm a fully trained resident. I feel confident in what I'm doing, I'm realizing what real life is like. What was your transition like to, or let me ask, what was it that. Led you to even pursue a different way, you know, in this case, the DP C way.


I'll, I'll, I'll re-ask it cuz I, I hear the , the siren. It's awesome. Sorry. It's all good. Dude. That's California, man. It's like we're right by the highway so you can hear it in, in Arnold too. It's


uh, there's, I'm like right on a busy street, so it's, yeah, yeah. No worries.


It's always going by. It's all good, dude.


they have a, in Palm Springs, they have a really good German pancake, waffle House. So if you like waffles, there's one in Palm Springs. Ooh. It's right across from like the Tiki Hotel. I don't, what's it called? I don't remember, but it's like a single word. I remember that. It's like if you Google Palm Springs German waffles, I bet you will find it.


Okay. Yeah, yeah. Um, so as you, as you're sharing. how life was not necessarily the same as residency and not necessarily, um, uh, I'll, I'll restate that. So as you were getting into an employed position, did you stay at that one employed position until you opened your D P C or did you have multiple employed positions before you chose D P C?


I had one employed position. I had a contract for two. And when that two year contract was up, I changed jobs, so I ended up working for A D P C that was a large national corporate D P C, and that was way better. I loved working in that way and having patients that were part of the DPC, even though it wasn't my own personal D p c and.


It was after a while in that position that it wasn't so much the straw that broke the camel's back, but it was getting to a point where I knew that I could do it on my own. And it took some time for me to actually realize, oh, this is, this could be possible. I could run this myself. .


That's so cool cuz even just as you shared about residency and that it prepared you, you, you got the confidence to open while working in a D P C um, space.


So when you talk about that, you got the confidence, what were some of those things you got confidence about? Whether it be about running a business or the workflows? What were some of those things that you said, wow, I I actually could do this on my.


So, you know what helped me so, so much was watching the old D P C summit videos and I thought I sort of stumbled upon those cuz I was looking around and I was researching and I ended up reading Doug Fre ego's book, the Official Guide to Starting Your Own D P C and.


Reading his book made it seem so accessible and possible and he lays it out so nicely. And then Dr. Paul Thomas's book, the Startup d p c, that was a great book too, that really was so comprehensive and had so many different tips and tricks and covered, uh, all the topics that I could possibly think of.


And in watching those videos, reading the books, , the people who were presenting at the D P C summit that I was watching later seemed so accessible themselves and seemed like, hey, these seemed like colleagues of mine that I would potentially be working with. And it seems like if they could do it, cuz everyone talks about how they didn't have any business training, they were scared to do it, they didn't know how to draw blood cuz they haven't drawn blood in, you know, however many years.


If I thought, well, you know, they have all the same fears that I have, so if they were able to get over it and do it, maybe I could possibly do that too. And then I had a couple colleagues of mine who did open their own D P C, so I was asking them questions and I thought, there's no reason why. , I'm less equipped than anybody else.


That is awesome. Um, that you, I, I think that's so great for you to have shared, like, well, see, I told you I, it's edited, man. I told you That's okay. . It's all edited. I, I think that those words will not only help people listening today, but also in. in the future from this interview date, because I think that that is such, you know, when I talk about how we can relate to each other's stories, that's also something that I think that isn't really said.


You know, we, we talk about, oh, you go to a DP C conference and people are so happy and people are so enthusiastic and you, you wanna be like that, but how you shared. These are people like me who are doing these business things that I've also not done by myself, and yet they're doing it and I have steps to teach me how to do it.


And I have a community of people to back me up if I need, like you did, um, like we all do to ask questions about specific details going into the future. I could do this too. Like I think that that is so cool to hear. For those people who might be on the fence about D P C because of those concerns about not having a business degree or whatnot, um, I, I think that that can provide them a lot of, um, a lot of, uh, even more confidence than when they, than bef uh, I am so, like I am, I must be like, no, oxygen.


You're good on my brain. You're good, dude, you're good. Um, that I, I hope it provides some more confidence by the end of this interview. Then when they started listening to your episode, so thank you for that.


I think there's, now, looking back, I think of it as having no reason to have worried as much as I did because I'm like, oh, there's always somebody to help you.


So it seemed like I could literally call any DP C doctor in the country cold and just say, Hey, I'm opening a D P DPC in Wisconsin. Could you potentially help me? Or, you know, could you answer a question or two? Literally everyone that I've ever contacted, Said yes and reached out and given me more information than I even asked for.


And now that I'm in that DP C world, I see that people really are genuinely that way. It doesn't seem like it. It really is true.


awesome. And if you have not yet already, um, the Direct primary Care summits for the the year are gonna be the, um, DP C Summit co-sponsored by the DP C Alliance, the A C a Oh, damn it.


A A C o A O C. Oh fuck. Um, I'll just, I'll just forget, co-sponsored by, um, by groups including the DP C Alliance as well as a f p Hint Summit, as well as. . Oh my God, what was the other one? , why am I, why am I losing? Oh, as well as nuts and bolts. And then also for those of you who have not attended, I'm just gonna put this out there because I attended last year and it was quite incredible for people, especially those who are wanting and looking, um, for more information as to how to work with employers or build DP DPC into employer's plans.


The Health Rosetta Summit, which is gonna happen in August and Chicago, your backyard, um, is, is another. Place to, to go live in person to meet D p C doctors and peoples in the DP C ecosystem. So I just want to drop that note here. Um, so if you have not, you know, go to the my DP C story resources page, you can find all the links to the conferences and start, you know, making your plans with your family now so that potentially you guys can attend these conferences, um, because it's so cool to, to be in that space where, Like you go and then you leave, just like you said, like without any question unanswered as to could you do this?


And so, um, I think that that it, it really helps for people to go in person to events for sure. .


The first summit that I went to was this past phone in Kansas City and it was great. I felt like I was just walking around seeing famous people because it was people that I had seen from conference videos or heard about, you know, there's certain names you hear over and over and I thought like, oh my gosh, that's so and so, and, but everybody is super, we're all on the spectrum of.


Uh, you know, progress of how long, how far along we are in our D P C opening or planning or thinking about it. And everybody has something to teach somebody else, and everybody has something to learn from other people. And if you open today, you can learn from the person who's been open a month or open five years or whatever.


So there's the whole spectrum of people.


Amen. Amen. So when. Said, Hey, like there's no reason I couldn't do this. I'm gonna do it. And then you opened North Star Primary Care. What were some of the first things that you did towards getting your business and your D P C up and running? .


So I remember hearing that.


Basically you can just start with a stethoscope and your brain, and that's kind of what I did. So just like you in your mad search for your exam table, for your office, I looked all over Craigslist and Facebook marketplace and tried to find one that was used because I didn't wanna spend thousands of dollars.


I was looking for an electric table, and I actually found someone. , that's their office was probably a mile or two from my house and he was closing and he had an exam table and some lights and a couple different pieces of equipment and I at a great price. So I just went over one day and, you know, had movers move it to my space and I had opened.


slowly because there was somebody that I knew from town that was actually, I wanna say that over. There's somebody that I knew that needed a doctor and he was waiting for me to open. So I thought there's no reason why if I just have the basics that I can't start. I had my insurance, I had a location, and I had an exam table, so I, and I had some of my equipment from med school, so I opened.


Saw him and then I could start sort of branching out from there. But I still had my non-compete, so I was staying as under the radar as I could for a while. Gotcha.


And in terms of having that first patient, I, I know like the first week that I was open, . I had so much pivoting to do because as prepared as I was, I was like, oh my gosh, that workflow's not gonna work.


So can you think back to when you were opening, what were some of the things that you were like, oh, I didn't know I could do this this way? Or like, I did it a different way than I've always been taught because I can. And in terms of, uh, you know, pivoting examples, what, what, what did you experience in your DP C when it opened?


So, I mean everything. So from the beginning, I didn't know how to fax. I didn't know how do I get a phone number for the clinic, how do I send in prescriptions? And I, at that time, I didn't have e-prescribing, uh, capabilities, so I was calling in prescriptions and I thought, oh, should I get prescription pads like it's 1940 and write them out?


But I eventually did get electronic. Uh, prescribing. And so, I mean, it was everything I had to ask someone every step of the way. How do I fax if I wanna fax or eFax? And then if I fax something, how do I get a fax back? What number is it going to, what number do I tell people? Um, So it was literally every little thing.


And that patient did actually need specialist care and I knew that going in that he was gonna need some referrals and. . So even that, I was like, how do I start finding specialists that I can work with and how do I then send a referral for the specialist? So basically anything that you could have to try and figure out on your own.


I did, and I asked someone, I just thought, it's okay. I'm gonna be annoying for a while and just have to ask every single question.


And honestly, I think that's, it's a cool place to be. I, I would say it's very, very, it, it will only help you, I feel, because when you ask all the questions, I mean, heck, I ask questions every week of people because I'm so nosy and I'm like, Ooh, I wanna know more.


But when you ask questions like that, that oftentimes makes you ask or think differently about different things and or ask questions that you wouldn't have necessarily asked on other things or other topics. Um, and so I think that. When you are actively asking questions, you're actively thinking and living in your business, which I think is invaluable because I mean, yeah, we think about algorithms and we think about you.


Overall, how is this person, I know this person's history. This is not normal. We think about those things when it comes to the business mind and the person who's not coming in with a business degree. When you are asking those business questions, you are a business owner. So I think that's awesome that you are, you were asking those questions.


That's, that's exactly where we all need to be, I think, in my opinion. Um, especially in those first few weeks, so, awesome. Now, when you, um, when. opened you, you mentioned that like you had your license and whatnot, but how about in your state? Are you, what's your legal status? Are you an S corp? Uh, l l c? What, what are you, and um, do you have any advice for people who are, um, going to be opening in your state as well?


Yes, I am an L L C and I was one of those people that. Wanted a, an attorney to do the paperwork for my clinic and to make sure that I was submitting my application and, and that it didn't have to be a P L L C or all of those things. And I tried to understand the difference tax wise and, you know, profit and loss wise with the, with an LLC versus an S corp.


and I ended up just putting it on my accountant slash tax attorney's desk and said, can you please do this for me because this is something that I don't wanna mess around with and not fully understand, and then catch it down the line with a problem. So Dr. Phil Escu. It has all of these different resources and everything on DPC Frontier for how to, you know, do your paperwork correctly and the legal things to check, and I just didn't have enough confidence in my ability to not need extra help.


So I had an attorney do that, and I had an attorney. There's so many differences with an L L C versus an S corp. If you are just starting and you don't have a lot of money coming in, And you are or aren't married and you are, are your own, your own employee. Like if you, if you are your only employee, then there's a whole, there's so many different nuances of that that I think having a lawyer to sort that for you is worth the money.


And then I had a different lawyer who actually helped me start up with my practice and my forms and everything else. Who was. . Gotcha.


And in terms of your, your journey to opening your clinic is called North Star Primary Care. So did you, at, at what point in your journey did you decide that that was gonna be your name?


So my wife and I went back and forth talking about different names and different possibilities, and I wanted it to have an element of my own personal interest. So I am interested in astronomy and the stars and the planets in the sky and all of that. And I also loved the idea that the North Star was your guiding light and your reference.


So I wanted to be that for my patients and to. a place where they felt like they could go to for help and guidance.


That's awesome. And I, I think that also, you know, just, and, and I wanna ask you a little bit more about your journey in hospice, um, as you were opening your, your D P C, but n not being a physician, I think is, is being a guiding light for a lot of people.


A lot of patients and families that, of families of patients we treat. Um, but also, I can imagine, just especially in the, the last days of a person's life, how a family, a person, um, a whole community can clinging to a physician for guidance in such a, um, a, a a, a finite amount of time left in a person's life.


So, I, I, segueing there, can you tell us about how you worked in, how, how did your job in hospice work, uh, when it came to. Having hospice. Can I, is that okay to say, like, having hospice and DPC open at the same time?


Uh, having a hospice position and a DP c I don't know. Yeah, that's, yeah.


Yeah. Okay. Okay, cool.


Um, how was that having your d p C up and running, uh, accepting patients and having hospice, um, having your hospice job at the same? .


I actually started working in hospice when I was still employed by that corporate D P C. So I had four days a week that I was working full-time for the the D P C and then I had my day off and I sometimes like to experiment and try different things and use my time cuz otherwise I'm like, all right, well I've got all this time I could be doing something.


So I. decided to work and I, the position that I took, it was inpatient hospice and they needed someone and that one day a week was fine with them. So I started out slowly and did that part-time. So then when I transitioned and left that D P C, I still had the one day a week job in hospice, but they were expanding and wanted me to.


More days, and it happened to be that that coincided with when I was leaving. So then I started working more days with that and then started the D P C and the hospice job. The hospice job continued to evolve, but I could, because it was inpatient, round on my patients early in the morning, see everybody at both inpatient units do my chart.


and still schedule patients that day or on other days. So because both jobs had flexible scheduling, I was able to do them both. And the hospice job eventually became full-time. Full-time, and that started being too much. So I love hospice. I miss that job all the time because I loved my patients. And if anybody's interested in hospice, if you get a chance to do that and you really want to, that was another thing that I thought, I don't know anything about this.


I did one rotation I think in residency and thought I would like it and then started and was like, oh, I absolutely love it. So that's why those positions were able to work cuz of the flexibility.


That's awesome. And in terms of um, uh oh and in terms of hospice, , had you opted out of Medicare at that point, or did you need to stay opted in because of working in hospice?


So I did need to stay opted in, and I know that people work it differently in. Different ways, depending on all different circumstances. But I stayed opted into Medicare because otherwise I wouldn't be able to do that job. And I currently still have two telehealth positions that I do as well. So because those are super flexible and I'm able to work those in times where I'm, you know, I'm not scheduling patients at my, my clinic, so I still.


You know, I think about opting out of Medicare all the time, but I wouldn't do that until I was absolutely sure that I had at least a handful of people that were gonna be wanting, wanting to sign up. Gotcha.


And then in terms of, as, as part of your D P c, had you thought about a hospice offering, um, as a separate package or something that any community member, whether they're a member pre pre hospice admission or not, uh, could.


I would love that. And I have thought about running a hospice and having my own hospice. There are so many different rules with hospice and Medicare, and it's so tricky that right now, even the thought of that is like too much because of everything. You have to make sure that you're complying with. . It is something that I still do think about.


I think that that is such a special time in life and we put a lot of emphasis on making sure that we have a good birth experience and making sure the mother's okay and the baby's okay, and your entrance into this life is solid. And on the other end of that, it's really great to feel like you're helping close that chapter and that person's life in a way that's successful and peaceful


for them.


and I just wanna add personable because that's the last thing you wanna feel or you want a family to feel. That's just like from my, from my experience with my dad passing in hospice and just being in a room with terminal ill patients or mm-hmm. families of people who were terminally ill in the I C U.


is that if you are still a number, if you're treated as like, I, I have 16 patients to go on the wards, I can't talk more than five minutes with you. It really does not help a situation when somebody or a family is in crisis because they're about to lose a loved one. So I think that that, um, you know, in, in the future, if you pursue that, you're, you're gonna by default bring your.


The, your ability to treat those people, um, to, to treat all of your patient well, I'm not gonna say it like that cuz you already do that, but it's like, I, I just, I just love that that possibility that, you know, you, you're thinking about potentially in the future to bring your D p c spirit and mix that with hospice.


So that, that's, that would be really cool. So keep us posted on that for sure. I will.


And I'm just gonna change my heat here really quick. I have to turn this down because it's going to roast me and then my face is going to get, Crack me up.


I, dude, you'll love this. So I went to school in Omaha, right? Yes.


And, um, the, uh, the studio I paid for, it was like 2 84 a month and they paid for your electricity. Okay? So instead of like turning the heat down, my lazy California ask. Would open the window in a snowstorm to let some of the heat out cuz it's too hot. . And my, my heater is always 84 because I'm like perpetually cold, so That's awesome.


It


is cold, but yeah, I couldn't take it. My face was, my face is literally gonna get red. No worries. I,


I don't see it. I don't see it. Okay. Um, awesome. So, so now I wanna ask a few more questions about your clinic because one, just going back to, and this, this might be, um, this is a, oh, So I wanna, now I wanna ask a couple more questions about your clinic specifically because, not you, you mentioned how you got the namesake of, or how you came up with a name for your clinic.


But in terms of your logo, I absolutely love it. It's clean, it's simple. It's to the point. It's memorable. So can you tell us how you got your logo?


Sure, yeah. I worked with my friend Kylie Ruggiero, who has her own branding and design company called Famous Victory, and she is awesome at her job. And we kind of brainstormed some different ideas, different possibilities, and came up with that.


I wanted something that was sort of minimalistic and not too elaborate and. There along the way, she learned about D P C cuz initially she was like, what is this? How does this work? And she loved the idea and the process so much that she signed up with A D P C and her, she signed up her whole family for a DP C and the logo, ugh, that's stupid.


Um,


she now is really expert in D P C and how it works. So if anybody else has any needs for branding, logos, website, that kind of thing, you can reach out to me and I can absolutely talk to you about how to get in contact with her. You can Google her at Famous Victory, but she's how I got there. .


I love it.


And when it comes to the copy on your website, I don't know if she had a hand in this, but I, the dog is barking. Oh, . Like, she's like rabid barking. Um, so, and I, I don't know if she also had a hand of this, but I have to ask about your copy because on your, your website it says, welcome to Healthier Healthcare.


And I think that that was also something I was really impressed by cuz it's very clean and simple, but it makes. Because this is a way healthier way of people accessing care than waiting weeks and weeks or months and months to see their doctor and have to go to the urgent care to see a stranger in the meantime.


So how did you come up with Welcome to Healthier Healthcare? .


So that actually was Kylie and her company as well. And what the, immediately when they said it, I thought that's perfect because that is exactly what I'm saying. And I think that we have taken a lot of the health and a lot of the care, not to sound cheesy, but we have taken both of those things out of healthcare.


And so I loved that she could very simply state that this is the healthier way to kind of approach your own healthcare. . It was simple and straightforward and I loved


it. Awesome. Now I wanna ask about your patients, because you, you mentioned you had one patient, um, and then you grew from there. In terms of when you were opening, did you set your membership prices because of other DPCs in the area?


Um, or, and have you changed them since?


So I have not changed my prices since opening and figuring out how much to charge really is a big task because you have different advice from everybody. And you know, one way to do it is to find out, you hear, sort out how much you wanna make and, uh, no, I don't like this.


Um, one approach is to figure out. How many patients you need to make a certain salary to keep your business going, to support your family to be able to live off of just working with your practice alone. And I did sort of figure out those numbers, but those numbers don't really translate into what exactly you are making for X number of patients because you don't have that patient mix.


You can do a proforma and figure out exactly how many families and how many individual patients and how many business. Members, you can have to come up with a certain amount of money. But what I did was a little bit of that math, and then I looked to figure out what other people in my type of area were charging.


Because Wisconsin has two major cities with Madison and Milwaukee, and then there are some smaller cities, and then there's a lot of rural, and you're gonna charge differently based on where you're at, the services you're offer. and a bunch of different factors. So I tried to look at the prices plus what they were getting for that, what patients were getting for that price, and then I tried to find something that was within that margin.


And you also have registration fees. How did you determine whether or not you were going to have a registration fee and what that charge was?


So I got a whole bunch of different advice on that as well, and I ended up, I did charge an enrollment fee and I didn't want it to be exorbitant, but I also wanted to, there, there is a certain amount of work that goes into signing a patient up, getting them in your emr, getting the records.


There is that little bit of startup cost, so that's why I ended up charging the enrollment fee. But I, I know a lot of people don't, and I know that there are certain reasons everybody has for why they go with what they do, and I think whatever feels right for you and whatever seems appropriate is fine.


Just like your prices, there's no reason why you have to stay within the prices around you. If. Offering different services or you wanna charge X amount, it's not wrong to do that.


I, I absolutely agree. And for, for your, your, for, um, and on the, onboarding a patient? Absolutely. I mean, just the, the faxes that have to go out to get records, the importing of records, then the translation of records into usable information, that definitely takes time.


And so, mm-hmm. , I think that that's where the registration fee in my practice, I, I absolutely envisioned it to pay for, you know, my va, who I have now, um, for that work that has to be done and done. In our practice, we have a two, two week turnaround between when you start registering in your first visit, because that's how long it takes sometimes to get records from some places and multiple phone calls, all of that.


So I definitely would say though, that one, I agree with you in terms of how you approached registration and what was it paying for, but also absolutely, um, in terms of however you do it, you do you, and then if, if it doesn't work you, you can change it. So that's awesome. Um, so when. Uh, so when it comes to patients, you also take care of employers and their employees.


So in terms of, um, trying to read more question, um, so when you started working with your first employer, just like you did your first patient, what were some of the things that you've learned and pivoted on when you, uh, got that first employer on board?


So, So this is a little bit tricky. Um, I have, and this is just for your information, I have kind of a deal with the Chamber of Commerce that I landed where they're offering me as a service to all of the Chamber members, but I'm not, there's no contract with me through the Chamber.


The Chamber didn't wanna be the employer, so, that is something new that's kind of worked out. And then if those individual companies sign on, then that's a different, like employer contract. But right now, who do I have? I don't have any employer contracts. I have, um, a lot of employees from certain businesses, but I don't have a contract with that business that.


So I don't know how to say that.


Um, so let's think about this. Um, I think that's super awesome. I was like, that's so unique about the Chamber of Commerce. Um, so one way would be to, like, I'm in talks with a, a group and that group is looking to like, have my services for the, the employers like, or. The subgroups or something like that.


Like that's sort of, that's sort of, that's sort of not, the groups part is good, but not the subgroups. Um, so


this is, dunno this, this is what I can say. Yes, I can, I can just talk as if I have employer contracts because I, it's kind of. , what I'm gonna say is that it's individual that you have to Yeah, kind of.


That's perfect. See what the


employer, yeah. Okay. That's perfect. Yeah. So, um, I'll just ask the question just to re jog one. Um, so just like you did with your first patient and you learned your D P C as you went, what was it like adding your first employer group and what lessons have you learned from that experience?


So just like with individual patients where you find. What their pain points are with their previous medical care. So they say, oh, I don't like that. I can't get ahold of my doctor, or I can never get in if I'm sick, or It's too much money for this or that. The employers have different needs based on their own businesses as well.


So some employers have, you know, depending on the number of employees they have, you're gonna customize your package based on. . If you're, if you have 10 employees, you're probably not gonna give them much of a discount and a per member cost. But if you have a hundred employees or 50 employees, there's gonna be probably,


uh, I'm trying to think of, so. , you're going to customize what you do for each employer based on what their needs are, number of employees, what they're looking for. Do they have an insurance plan that that the employees are using? Is it a high deductible plan? Is it a catastrophic plan, or is it something where they just wanna cut cost by?


Not providing insurance anymore and using you as primary care. It's so different with everybody that it's really hard to say, here's what you do with employers. But I think it helps to sit down with the owner of the company or whoever's contracting with you and say, what are your costs now? What are you getting for those costs?


And then how can we work together that you can be happy with having my services? I can help you out and. , you have a bunch of employees signing up at once.


That's really great for people to hear, especially if they are intimidated by, um, working with employers. Just like you, were intimidated about opening your own clinic and many of us are. You, you, you can do this. You definitely can do this. So now when, um, so, uh, we talked about players talk about pricing.


I'm trying to think how to segue this.


Uh, you know what I can say is one more thing too about like, I think we always hear about joining the Chamber of Commerce and using that as a way to market to patients, and I really had honestly no idea how to do that either. And I thought, oh gosh, you know, I sign up with these business groups and then how am I gonna go in there and talk about myself in a way that sounds like.


Know what I'm doing, . Um, and then I started going to like the coffee chats in the morning once a month. And you end up honestly getting the most benefit from just meeting other employers locally and other people who work with the chamber. And it's a great way to network and say, oh, you have a business that does this.


I could use that. And even if you're not directly selling your services, you start to meet more people and then, , you expand your network of connections. .


That is, that is definitely a way to get that word of mouth going. So I think that's, that's great advice. And when we talk about word of mouth, um, one of the things in your website is your patient quotes.


And so I loved how, you know, I, I really love and I appreciate whenever, whenever, when anybody puts patient quotes on, but something that I thought was unique about yours was the dates on your patient quotes. So some of them, I think one was from 2013. I I love that cuz it was like, it gave you street cred way before you opened your D p C.


So I wanted to ask you though, was that, was that um, specifically why you included those dates or did you have another reason in mind?


So the dates were just how long that person had been my patient. So I wanted to have something. That did give prospective patients an idea that there are other people who were happy seeing me as their doctor, and I did have a history with patients who had followed with me for a certain period of time so that they were a little bit reassured.


Not that you couldn't just put whatever you wanted on there, but that they knew that there were people who were happy and who stuck with me. And I did have patients find me who I used to see. Other places and after my non-compete was up, people started being able to contact me and come after and find me.


So that's been good too.


I think that's so cool. And I think it's. . It's really humbling sometimes when you made such a difference in their, in that person's life that they specifically are looking for you. So I think that's so cool. Um, I, I had a doctor, excuse me, I had a pa, a potential patient reach out to me on the podcast to find her old doctor, so that, that's, uh, those patients, man, they, they love you when they, when they love you, they love you.


So that's, that's awesome. Um, yeah. That's great. Yeah. Now in terms of you mentioning locations in Wisconsin, you have had experience working in your D P C in. Okay. Can you say them for me? Is it mek? Uh, mek. Mek, and then cedarburg? Yep. Okay. You've had experience in both MEK as well as cedarburg, so can you tell us about having two locations and what does your practice look like today?


I started off. With one room in a building that also had massage therapists and a physical therapist and a gym, and that building continued to evolve into more of a gym and. I, when my lease was up, I moved to my location in MEK and joined a collective in an office that was also a wellness collective called Navigate Wellness.


And it has mental health therapist, a functional medicine doctor, and actually another DPC doctor now. And we have a bunch of different office spaces that we use. , and it's been great to work with other people who are like-minded. Everyone owns their own practice. So the collective was great to work with your own company, but side by side with other people who also had their own companies.


And it's great for my patients to be able to say, Hey, we have mental health therapists here. If you wanna see everyone in this building, you can. Or if you wanna see someone else, you can also do that. And. Than to have a functional medicine doctor. There are sometimes patients who want extensive hormone panels or other things drawn that I'm not as familiar with.


So it's great to be able to say, oh, there's also this person here, and. . It's also nice to have the support because I think we're used to a lot of times working alone and you go into work and you're like, oh, there's other people here, . So you have that comradery. But it's also great for networking and referrals and even just asking, Hey, what do you do about these things?


How do you handle this? Do you have a company that does this or that? And it's great. That's so cool. And


sorry.


Doing so good there. So good. Oh my god. Um, so, uh, no, I love that. That is so cool. So now I wanna ask in a full scope way, looking back at your career in publishing and you longing to make a difference and returning to that, you know, that dream that you had written down in your notebooks, in your diaries, , would you ever, it's like, I didn't, I don't know why I wrote that.


Would you ever go back? It's like, why? Um, okay. I'm gonna have to think about this in a second. Um hmm. Okay, so, . Now, when we talk about, um, having an awesome referral source and we talk about networking and whatnot, I wanna just draw attention again to the fact that where you and I met at Dr. Ryan and Dr.


Gupta's Mastermind in Chicago land. Um, that was, that was an awesome experience. But, uh, you, you touched on the, the videos that you watched and the books that you read and the conferences that you attended in terms of a smaller group, like a smaller network, uh, a networking. Specifically direct to primary care doctors.


When you sign up for something like that and when you've experienced it, what are some highlights that you can share with, not highlights, but like, um, if there's somebody who has, has seen, you know, oh, there's, there's a pediatric DPC mastermind, or whatever it is, and they're thinking about going, what are some things that you would suggest they would, they should think about in terms of attending a smaller event versus a larger.


So I think all of them are beneficial based on where you're at. So the mastermind groups I think are great and I love that they are tiered so that you can say, okay, I'm thinking about it. I haven't really started, I've started, I wanna practice my skills. So. . I would say anytime that you come into contact with more D P C doctors, you're going to learn something.


You're gonna meet people who have information and you are going to be able to help other people too, in using your knowledge to answer questions they have. So the summit is great for C M E, for meeting other doctors, for having a really broad. Exposure to vendors who are there to different ways of doing things, and it's worth every penny.


The mastermind groups are also invaluable because you get to talk more one-on-one with people, and you get to have a little bit more in depth. Exposure and experience with that person in their own way of running their practice. Plus, you do get more educational material and you're constantly learning, and I think that's so helpful for the D P C doctors cuz we're no longer part of a large group where there's grand rounds and you're getting exposure to C M E in lectures and everything regularly.


So this is a way to do it with other people who are doing exactly what you are doing. So it's directly beneficial in a way that really matters. .


I love that. And I love just thinking about how you were reading your, you know, your, your, uh, your diaries from back when you were a, a little girl dreaming and hearing your story as to how you got to opening your D P C and how you are contributing to helping others open theirs.


This has been an incredible talk. Thank you so much Dr. Fury, for joining us.


Absolutely. Thank you and I wanna tell anyone who's got questions or wants to reach out, please do cuz. I'm so glad to help anybody have a little bit more confidence. That's all you need.


 Next week look forward to hearing from Dr. Esther Kabi of New Life Direct Primary Care in Corpus Christi, Texas. If you've enjoyed the podcast and you haven't yet done so, subscribe today and share the episode with a physician you may know who needs to hear about DP C. Leave a five star view on Apple Podcast and on Spotify now as well as it helps.


Find all these DPC stories. Lastly, be sure to follow us on social media. If you're wanting to continue learning more about dpc in the meantime, check out DPC news.com. Until next week, this is Marielle conception.

*Transcript generated by AI so please forgive errors.

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