Direct Primary Care Doctor
Dr. Joi Johnson-Weaver is a Board-Certified Family Medicine doctor who has been practicing for close to 15 years. After obtaining their bachelor's from Princeton University, Dr. Johnson-Weaver attended Temple School of Medicine and then completed their residency at Chestnut Hill Family Practice in Philadelphia, PA. Personally, Dr. Johnson-Weaver enjoys spending time with their blended family of seven, coaching youth sports and reading clubs and gardening.
They opened Resolve MD in 2018!
In their interview, Dr. Johnson-Weaver shares about Resolve MD - from it's logo design creation to how the practice faired during the pandemic. Dr. Johnson-Weaver also discusses the importance of pronouns and using the correct pronouns as they developed an inclusive, affirming practice and much more!
Resources Mentioned and Recommended By Dr. Johnson-Weaver:
Website: Resolve MD
COMING 06.27.21 - Dr. Joi Johnson-Weaver of Resolve MD*
[00:00:00] direct primary care is an innovative alternative path to insurance driven healthcare. Typically patients pay their doctor a low monthly membership and in return build a lasting relationship with their doctor and have their doctor available at their fingertips.
[00:00:34] Dr. Johnson Weaver is a board certified family medicine doctor who has been practicing for close to 15 years after obtaining their bachelor's from Princeton university. Dr. Johnson Weaver attended tumble school of medicine, and then completed their residency at Chestnut hill family practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
[00:00:54] Personally Dr. Johnson Weaver enjoy spending time with their blended family of seven coaching youth [00:01:00] sports and reading clubs and gardening. They opened resolve MD in 2018.
[00:01:08] Direct primary care means freedom. To me, it means the ability to be able to practice in a more personal manner, with my patients and, not have so many people between us in that relationship, meaning administrators and health insurances. So being a direct primary care physician has allowed me to practice the way that I always dreamed of as a child.
[00:01:36] And so that in essence just equals freedom. My name is Dr. Johnson Weaver, and this is my DPC story. Welcome to the podcast after Johnson Weaver. I thank you. Thank you for having me. It's definitely my pleasure. Now in your intro, you mentioned about how you envisioned medicine being a certain way when you were a [00:02:00] child.
[00:02:00] So I wanted to open with that. And have you explain a little bit more to the listeners? What did you envision when you were a child thinking about medicine? Well, you know, I envisioned having a very personal relationship with patients and, you know, as a child, I just imagined that I had time in my day to develop those relationships.
[00:02:27] And didn't envision sort of the amount of paperwork and other. Non medicine, things that I would be doing, you know, in, in the insurance space world. And so, so I, when I say that, that, that sort of practicing medicine in the way that I did as a, that, and the way that I envisioned as a child, it really was very patient centered and not much of anything else.
[00:02:51] And when you had that vision, had you been exposed to medicine in that your family was involved in medicine or your [00:03:00] experience, your vision came from your experience as a patient or both? I think it's, it's probably some of it, not necessarily family members in medicine, but I think images that I may have seen on TV and then just my imagination as well, books that I've may have read it sort of all sort of contributed to this vision of what I had, uh, of, of treating patients.
[00:03:25] And when you were in your medical training, in medical school and in residency, did you have any experiences that fed into that vision that you had as a child? There were parts. I mean, you know, when I rounded with, or had some rotations with primary care physicians, especially ones that own their own practices, I think you kind of see what you want to see.
[00:03:48] Right. And so I think I saw, you know, this is a solo doc practicing the way they want, you know, really developing this great, these great doctor, patient relationships [00:04:00] and practicing medicine in the way they, they want. So I think, I, I think I thought I saw that throughout med school and maybe parts of residency.
[00:04:09] And after residency, after you had graduated, what was your path before opening up resolving. No. So when I graduated from residency, I started at a federally qualified health center in Delaware. I trained in Philadelphia in the Philadelphia surrounding area of Pennsylvania. So it wasn't too far to, to move to Delaware and, and practice.
[00:04:33] And I really did enjoy it. I really enjoyed the patients. The pace was a big ruling. The paperwork was certainly a big ruling, a bit grueling as well, but, and then I practiced there for a few years and then transitioned to a, uh, a more of a private practice with, you know, six or seven docs in Maryland. And, you know, again, I enjoyed that.
[00:04:56] I enjoyed the patients, the pace I wasn't thrilled with. And so I [00:05:00] transitioned to a practice where I was at actually for nine years, a large organization still in Maryland. Uh, I was a lead physician at, uh, one of the sites for seven years and even stayed within the organization, went to another office that was kind of closer to home.
[00:05:14] And I found myself sort of starting to feel a bit like I was wandering. Like I wasn't, I wasn't quite practicing in the way that I, I, you know, I really wanted to, which started started me sort of questioning, you know, what, we're my next steps in medicine in general. And when you started questioning, what were some of those questions that you had that you were seeking out answers?
[00:05:40] Well, I think each, each location, you know, and I left obviously on my own accord and unite in the lead doc and at least three of the, of the positions that I've been in. There's always this underlying current of why don't we have more time, uh, with patients, there was always something new that administrators were trying to [00:06:00] sort of push on us.
[00:06:01] Somehow they felt that were more important than the patient, even though it was supposed to be patient centered, this is going to help the patient, but actually it took up more of our time. Um, so I didn't quite see it as being beneficial to the patient. And I re I, I didn't really like that control controlling feeling.
[00:06:17] I, you know, I thought, I, I guess I envisioned after going through so much training. That once you're out of training now, you're, you're, you're you're out and you don't have people breathing down your neck. And that was just the exact opposite. Um, with the different positions I was in. And even if I didn't necessarily have an administrator breathing down my neck, if I was a lead doctor, they wanted me to breed down another physician's neck or a nurse practitioner or physician assistants.
[00:06:43] And, um, and I feel quite comfortable with that either. Definitely. And I totally hear you on that. It's so interesting that you say that so succinctly though, because it is so true, like when you go into medicine, I, I, you know, maybe not, maybe not everybody feels like this, but I, I can completely relate.
[00:07:00] [00:07:00] Like you go into medicine being so proud of every, you know, procedure you've done in training of every diagnosis that you feel really confident in treating. And then all of a sudden you spend your time three o'clock in the morning charting, because that's what you've been told that you have to do to get your paycheck.
[00:07:21] Sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. Now, as you were feeling these feelings, as you were questioning, as you explained, um, you were questioning, at what point did you discover DPC? You know, I really was in the last position I was in. I, yeah, as I mentioned, I was in a large organization for about nine years. About in that organization, there was about 40 minutes from home and I think the commute was starting to wear on me a bit.
[00:07:52] And so I, I was transferred to an office that was closer to home, about a 15, 20 minute drive. Well [00:08:00] more like 15. And I thought at that time, that that was one of the reasons why I was feeling burnt out. I thought it was the commute, you know, because everyone was going through what I was going through.
[00:08:10] Every physician was seeing patients in 15 minutes. Every position had administrators with new rules every six months or every few years and new contracts that seem to take away more time. So I wasn't really questioning all of that. I felt uneasy about practicing. And once I moved to a practice where I was closer to home, it's like I I'm making a decent, a good salary as compared to my colleagues and family medicine for the amount of years I've been out of school and the commute was easy.
[00:08:39] And then I just wondered, I was, I'm still feeling uncomfortable. Like this is, you know, I think this was my own evolution as just saying, you know, Something's not right. And I really started to feel uncomfortable with the pace. And I really wanted to, I actually really started questioning whether I wanted to be a physician.
[00:08:56] And then that was scary because it's like, you know, if you're like [00:09:00] me, I have a lot of school loans and I'm thinking, what else am I actually supposed to do with my life? And then, you know, I'd actually do like medicine itself and patients. So, so anyway, I, I was on a physician group. There's so many on Facebook and probably grumbling with other physicians.
[00:09:17] And then someone mentioned DPC and I was like, what in the world is that? And it was it wasn't the first time I'd seen it. I think. I think I'd seen it a few other times and sort of ignored it. But this time I think I was open to knowing, Hey, Hey hearing, is there an alternative? And this person was sort of bubbly.
[00:09:32] And I don't remember who it was, which is kind of funny because now being a DPC Docker probably should know who it was. But then I joined the DPC, um, community, um, on Facebook. And when I joined, I was like, what is this group? Everyone's talking about their practice and how they're so excited. And they're taking medicine back into their own hands.
[00:09:51] I had no idea what I was reading for awhile. And then I think someone had posted in the group. Just if you new look through prior posts, get a sense of what's [00:10:00] going on. And that's when I sort of realized, Hey, this is a sort of an alternative way that that could potentially fit. Fantastic. And I just think about, we'll get into these amazing points later about your practice.
[00:10:11] Um, but you know, you are such a, an inclusive doctor when it comes to treating people where they're at. And I mean, like if anyone visits your website, which they should, you can clearly see that even if they don't know you yet. But it just kills me to think about that. That was even a thought in your mind that you might leave medicine because you just were not satisfied with the life that you were living in your career that you had prior to resolve MD.
[00:10:39] So, you know, for every patient that you've ever had for every doctor you've ever talked to that you've inspired or helped a little bit along the way. Like I am so thankful that you did not leave medicine as I'm sure everybody else you've inspired or helped is as well. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Um, I'm, I'm glad I didn't [00:11:00] either.
[00:11:00] And I'm thankful for the DPC group as well. I mean, you know, it's certainly life changing to be a part of that community and to open up your own own practice. I, you know, my only wish is that I had, known I wish I knew about it sooner. I really do. Awesome. I'll probably pull that quote and put it in the social media because that's fantastic.
[00:11:19] Now, when you open it. Can you share about your process to choose the name, resolve MD and about your lion logo? Yeah, well, so yeah, I already felt like I had a life that was extremely busy. You know, we're already bursting at the scenes, you know, you're up and I don't, everyone charts at a different timeline is a 5:00 AM charting.
[00:11:41] And you're, it's like, you've got to wake up at five because if you don't, you're not getting through your charts and then you start your day and you feel like you're behind. And, uh, they have this whole shaming process that goes on in these big organizations where they're posting, if your charts aren't done so everyone can see, you know, so anyway, [00:12:00] my routine was to get up at five and do my charts and then get ready for work, maybe exercise and head out to work.
[00:12:06] And I have three little ones at home. I just separated from my, um, I had to just had gone through a divorce in my marriage. So I did not feel like I had a lot of space and time. The kids are very active and. You know, and working 40 hours a week. So when I realized I wanted to start direct primary care practice, it automatically, it just took a lot of resolve.
[00:12:28] I mean, basically like you can do this, you are extremely bright. You've been through med school. If you can go through those grueling hours, not sleeping, if you've been through residency, you're almost there, this pep talk. But I just, you know, when I think about the steps it took in addition to working a full-time job and take being a, um, you know, at the time of single mom, that's all it really was resolved.
[00:12:50] And, and then I loved it because I love that resolved in D came out of it because then it started to that word, started to take shape with how I want to practice as well. [00:13:00] So my resolve as a physician to take care of my patient members and then the resolve that I hope my patients will feel from me and therefore.
[00:13:11] Towards working towards their own health. So it has those of those meanings for me. And so I was really happy to sort of name it and resolve M D and it's funny when we're thinking of a logo, it's like, well, what's the animal that can go along with the word resolve and, you know, just choosing this lion, I just thought that, you know, just sort of this serene, strong looking lion, um, kind of just fit, resolve MD.
[00:13:38] Um, and I Blue's my favorite color. So I had a designer kind of add blue to it. And there you go. That was it. It's really unique and the, the logo specifically. And I just think that it's, it's very powerful at the same time. It's a very, uh, what is the word? Um, the lion is [00:14:00] very proud looking, so I think you did a great job with it.
[00:14:03] Yeah. And I just love the backstory behind the name. I think it's so neat. How as positions, you know, it might not be a thing to think about opening your own practice, especially naming your own practice because the trend unfortunately, is to go into employed medicine. But I love that when I ask people that question, there's an, there's a, there's a reason behind each and every clinic name and you get the chance to name your own clinic versus.
[00:14:29] Go to a dignity, go to a Kaiser, go to a Sutter. Right, right. It's, it's actually really a, one of the very first things I think that makes you realize you're on your way, you know, like you name it and then it's like, this is your baby now, so you're gonna, you're gonna see it through. So it really starts to help everything else take, take shape.
[00:14:50] And so I agree with you. It's, it's, it's a very important step in the process. Awesome. And so now I wanted to [00:15:00] go back to this, this truth that you are so inclusive in, in, in your entire website and your entire, um, the entire field that it gives off. There's just so many aspects. And I loved reading into, you know, the different pages that you had on your website, but, um, I wanted to highlight your slogan.
[00:15:23] You're so good on your home page is membership-based family medical care where our only focus is your health. And I just found that that was really warm and welcoming, but also just pointing out to patients that you are our focus. But I just, I, when I read that, I felt that it was, it was immediately pointing to the fact that you are focusing your, your care on your patient's health.
[00:15:50] And so I wanted to ask about. When you were in the process of you, you've named your practice, you've gotten your lion. Did you [00:16:00] spitball this slogan with your family or other people? Or did this just come to you? I think that one came over time because I think most of us know why we're doing this. And we all have variations of that.
[00:16:13] When I say we, I mean, you know, direct primary care physicians, we all have variations of it. And so I think, you know, that one just sort of came over time. I don't think I've passed it by anyone. It just sort of made sense. Right. That that's what we're doing. And, and, you know, what's interesting is it came over time because you get so many calls and DPC in the beginning, new members are like, wait, I just reached you directly.
[00:16:36] Like, I'm there. They're almost surprised. Right. And, or they're just surprised at some of the nuances of the care. You almost start to forget, but you're, you're providing this level of care. Right. Just so much more direct, right. That when you know, the more I can thinking about it, it just sort of, it just made sense to say that that's exactly what it is.
[00:16:57] My focus is not coming into a room and clicking 10 [00:17:00] boxes and wondering how I'm going to get through my charts. My focus really is to just sit and listen to you and kind of go through things for as long as, we need to. So, you know, again, I just, I think it, it just, it just kind of made sense and it has come over over the few years that I've had a practice open.
[00:17:17] It certainly wasn't the first slogan on my, on my page. Gotcha. And it's cool that it changed with your, with your practice. Like as you, as we all, you know, hone in on our way that we do things or the way that we like to do things you had your web page changed with you. I chuckled though, when you mentioned that patients were like amazed that they were getting you as, as their doctor on the phone, because I remember Dr.
[00:17:45] Lauren Hetty, when we were communicating about when to schedule her interview, I only could message her and I didn't have her phone number, but then knowing that that's pretty much how everybody works, I just called her clinic number. I know I'm guessing it's you [00:18:00] on the other end of the line. So that's, that's awesome.
[00:18:02] That's awesome. Another thing that you have on your website is a video of you where as you watch the video, one of the things that you say another inclusive statement, again, we allow patient care to exist between you and. And so I was wondering about that video in general. What was the thought process behind?
[00:18:25] I would love to have a video on my landing page, basically. And what was the process like developing what you were going to say in that video? I think that I wanted people to, to meet me before meeting me because I find that people don't quite still quite don't quite get this. Right. You know, I'm paying money for what, and you can say it, but it doesn't, they don't always quite understand it.
[00:18:51] I wanted to take maybe some of the mystery out of it, by hearing those words come out of my mouth. And I think so I do think in that respect video is more [00:19:00] powerful than just what you've written on your website. And so that was the thought process behind that, you know, there's gotta be somewhere in here where they can click in and see me speak.
[00:19:08] And I wanted to exude this sort of openness, and then I want it to have the clinic in the background. You know, I just want it to make it real. This, this is real, this is where you would be, and this is who you would meet and, and see. And so, um, and then, you know, again, stating this is care between you and I, because as we know, you know, every patient is different.
[00:19:28] You know, you may have a patient with the same diagnosis, maybe the same body weight, same ethnicity, all of that. But they're, they're still going to, you're going to meet them where they're at. This one might be squeamish about this. This one might be very gun-ho about treating this, you know? And, and so I, I just need people to know exactly what I said, but this is going to be a relationship we're going to develop.
[00:19:48] I'm going to get to know you, and then we know, um, how to move forward with treatment. I make accompanying blogs that go with your interview. So I've written down that I'd [00:20:00] like to put the link to your video there. Um, your website is going to be there also, but I love like when people can hear your podcast and then watch the video, that's like things that we're talking about in the podcast.
[00:20:12] Yeah. So especially after 2020 and everything that this country went through, one of the things that you have on your website is your oath against racism. And I'd like to ask about, like, if I'd like to ask, if you can share with the listeners, what exactly is that? And is it something that you're able to discuss.
[00:20:33] Patients now, the reason I ask that is because, um, prior to maternity leave, I got a lot of I'm so anxious about what's going on in this country. I can't sleep because of what's going on in this country. I got a lot of those patient concerns that we had to address in clinic where normally these patients are asking these questions did not have any concerns like that.
[00:20:55] They had brought up with me. So I'm wondering, has this both against racism [00:21:00] opened up a level of communication with your patients that you had not had before because you have it on your website. It's interesting. I'm actually going to say no, which is probably not what you thought. I was going to say. I, the oath is there.
[00:21:13] So people know that, I know that racism is a public health problem. Right. And we. Don't address that we do a really poor job of addressing that. As physicians, we do a really poor job of dresses, addressing racism in general. And we have to, because to not say it is really doing a disservice to everybody who's suffering from it.
[00:21:42] And the importance of meeting people where they are, is having an understanding of them. And so that oath is there for someone to see to one, say one, my doc gets it. Period. [00:22:00] Two it's for physicians. If anyone calls on my site, I want them to see, we should be addressing them. And if we're not, we're doing a disservice to our patients, it's not okay to say we love everybody.
[00:22:12] You have to address the problems that we see just as we may ask, go through screening questions for domestic abuse. If we think there's a high risk sexual abuse, if we think there's a risk. Racial trauma is real and it affects our patients. So it's there for patients, patients who haven't dealt with, racism, patients who are not people of color for them to see, this is where this is.
[00:22:37] This is what I stand for. And I love the fact that it's my practice and I can put it on there and no one can tell me you can't place it there. But again, in one part, it's for it's for patients. But the other part, it honestly, it's really for physicians too. I want physicians to see it should be on your page.
[00:22:53] And if it's not on your page, I mean, you can address it any way you want. It just needs to be addressed somewhere. And so it's [00:23:00] great that you had patients who were coming to you and actually saying to you that they were nervous because that means they were comfortable enough to tell you that, right?
[00:23:08] There are patients of color who aren't comfortable enough saying that, but yet it's still going to come out and their health it's going to come out and non-compliance, it's going to come out in anxiety and depression. It's going to come out in a myriad of ways. So again, if we don't address it, then we're really doing a disservice to the people that we, that we take care of.
[00:23:28] Yeah. I agree. 110%. It just, as, as a Filipino doctor seeing, you know, the recent, uh, incidences about, you know, violence against Asian-Americans I think about how, not just about Asian-Americans and the experience that has happened in terms of violent experiences, but just in general, when we look at COVID vaccination voting access, I mean, these are, when you talk about public health, [00:24:00] if we don't have a voice equally for everybody, then we absolutely have a public health issue.
[00:24:06] Absolutely. Absolutely. So when you, when, as we're talking about. The oath against racism. I want to go into a question that's more focused on LGBTQ care because I feel that in terms of public health and given that we're talking about DPC during pride month, I want to ask what are some of the issues that you have seen physical health, as well as mental health wise?
[00:24:38] When it comes to key people, when it comes to people who are, who identify as LGBTQ in your practice. So they're going to be similar issues to any group of people that have felt marginalized in this country. People who feel like they're not seeing. And so it's [00:25:00] similar to racial trauma, obviously not the same thing, but there's similarities where people come to me and because they know and see immediately that this is an inclusive space.
[00:25:10] There's a more, there's a comfort level. They're saying things that they may not have said before, or they're actually starting to come to the doctor, which honestly, I quite a few people who have come to me and said, we have not been to a doctor in years. And so we're excited to have found you. And, and honestly, they aren't like every other patient.
[00:25:29] It's just that they feel comfortable with me. So now they're going and sadly enough, it's because they probably had relationships with doctors where they've been insulted. And that's why it's really important for us to stocks. Again, we can't say we're welcoming. We love everyone. We treat everyone the same.
[00:25:43] We actually have to do the work to learn about other cultures, other, other people with different sexual orientation, gender identity, race. Groups, because you can offend people without knowing it. You can offend people with your unconscious bias. So you've got to [00:26:00] task yourself with learning those things.
[00:26:02] So, um, and I've offended people. I do not want to sit here and say that I have, I certainly have, but I like the fact that I'm pushing myself to continue to learn. So I mean, specifically with the LGBT community and, you know, I'm, I'm queer, I'm, I'm a gay physician. So I feel like I have more insight than, than, than others and not definitely not exhaustive incomplete for sure.
[00:26:23] But, um, you know, there's certain things that I kind of, I may know to say about, uh, certain things, you know, I mean, this is just one example, but for instance, if you have a. Who person who identifies as a woman who is a lesbian. So, uh, and they are masculine leaning, sometimes issues surrounding the breasts are uncomfortable to them.
[00:26:47] And so you have to sort of, kind of get that, right? I mean, if you have a good relationship with them, you know, they might express that to you, but others, you may kind of already know that this is going to be a bit sensitive and I'll try to be just kind [00:27:00] of straightforward, but also a little relaxed and say, Hey, you can't ignore them.
[00:27:05] You know, we, we know that it's not the most comfortable for you, but we still got to take care of them. I might say something simple like that, just to sort of acknowledge that I get that it might be a little uncomfortable for you, but we still have to address this. Right. I mean, that's just a very small thing, you know, more and more, I'm trying to understand and learn about trans care and gender identity, making sure I use proper pronouns with, with clients.
[00:27:27] I mean, something as simple as addressing a person by the pronouns that they. R makes them feel welcome. The care from there might be the exact same care you've given everybody else, but the fact that you've taken that moment to address them properly, it just makes a world of difference. And honestly, that's something I didn't know, maybe a year and a half ago.
[00:27:48] So I mean, we all have to keep learning. It's very important, but I do think there are some nuances. And so it's important to kind of try to open yourself up to reading and educating yourself, join a group, you know, anything there's, [00:28:00] there's plenty of resources. Awesome. And you know, going back to that statement, How you would address a situation like it might not be the most comfortable, but we gotta get through this.
[00:28:12] Cause it's obvious. And I'm still here with you, even after you give me an answer. I just think that that's so awesome. I mean, it just, for those people, it just breaks my heart that yes, the marginalized lack of well hesitancy to get healthcare, sometimes in those populations who are marginalized, it's so heartbreaking because of preventable diseases that have gone past.
[00:28:35] The prevention point. And when people end up in emergency rooms or urgent care centers, there could have been a lot of changes made prior to those visits. Um, where if a physician were able to be there for that patient at those early stages where prevention was still possible, um, it's just terrible that, that there are cases.
[00:28:57] Health bad health outcomes could have been avoided. [00:29:00] So absolutely we can. I think we can do better with that. We really shouldn't have a trans patient coming and saying, yeah, I haven't gotten to that for five years. Cause I was, you know, I was miss mis-gendered in the clinic and I was made to feel uncomfortable.
[00:29:16] I mean, it's just, that's, it's, it's a travesty, you know, we'd really have to do we have to do better so that our entire, you know, our entire nation is healthy. Right. We're, we're, we're only doing as well as, as, as, as, as our most marginalized folks, you know? So yeah, so true. And when you were talking about constantly educating yourself, you know, that's, that's one of the reasons why I wanted pride month.
[00:29:47] Focusing on inclusivity and the doctors doing inclusivity, including yourself, because I feel that that learning and just keeping your ears open and your heart and your mind open to, [00:30:00] oh, like this is not like the way I do medicine is not always the end all and be all like, for instance, I use, you know, in the questionnaire is I was very used to, do you have sex with men or women?
[00:30:12] And it wasn't until residency that I asked about or both like that. I mean, just the idea of that, having that as a simple change in how I asked a question, especially to teenagers, I've gotten a lot of more information out of teens when I ask that, especially when it comes to people who are exploring both types of relationships.
[00:30:32] So, I mean, I, I totally hear you. And I, I hope that that resonates with listeners because medicine is always changing. We are always changing every day. We are a day older. And so I feel that that is so important to keep in mind that like, You know, there might be a better way out. There might be a different way or might be a little bit of a way to adjust how you're asking something to be more inclusive and affirming.
[00:30:56] And on that note, I wanted [00:31:00] to, to highlight on your, on your Facebook page, you had posted this amazing post where it was about somebody who had seen like their teenage at the lunch table. And the comment was, I'm so proud of my team because they're sitting there at the table with their friends practicing correct pronouns.
[00:31:22] Oh, right, right, right, right. Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's so important. I think we only, we do better, you know, you can do it. I forget the quote that it's my Angelo, where she says like do better once you know, better. Right. So I messed up. I mean, I had a patient who was, who was trans. And I thought immediately because they were trans that they wouldn't buy the pronouns.
[00:31:49] He him and I'm sitting here proud of myself. This is, you know, trans patient. He, him, I mis-gendered this patient for a year and this is in [00:32:00] DPC. So this isn't even the excuse of I'm rushing. I was learning more about pronouns and it dawned on me. I never actually asked this person. It turns out they actually go by the pronouns data it's because I didn't ask.
[00:32:14] And that's what I'm saying about us.
[00:32:18] Okay. We don't ask we're in positions of power. We can not assume that the people we are treating are going to offer this information, but what they will consider, they may consistently allow themselves to either be mis-gendered or something may be said, that's insults them, or they're misunderstood. I think you're, you're doing the right thing.
[00:32:42] This is, I think we're constantly educating ourselves. As soon as I found out, I asked, I asked my patient, we switched the pronouns and I'm trying to be much better about it just in general. And what I'm starting to learn is I really should have crossed the board, just have everyone's pronouns. [00:33:00] That way we are normalizing it.
[00:33:02] And we have less of this chance of, of, of mis-gendering folks are, are the generation that, um, that's coming after us, they're doing it right. They already know this, they know these things and we can learn from them to stay where we are. We're going to be dinosaurs. We're going to miss fixed mindset and it, and it really doesn't help anyone.
[00:33:24] It's just best. That's the way I look at it. Um, absolutely love that. I absolutely love that. And on that note, I want to ask when a person is onboarded as a member patient in your clinic, how do you, how do you. Identify their gender or how do you have a patient identify their gender to you? Well, I have a, um, I developed a intake form for all new patients.
[00:33:49] So it's going to go through those, um, SOGI questions, the sexual orientation, gender identity questions, but I don't, I find that that's not enough. That was okay when I didn't have [00:34:00] staff, I have staff now. And so I feel like I'll remember when I see that. Um, and then my electronic medical record Alation has a place for pronouns, but it's not.
[00:34:10] Easily visible. And so you can really easily, you know, not use the correct ones. And if you don't ask, I mean, again, I, I there's, I mean, I have countless stories of how, if you don't ask, if you just assume you really are making a mistake, but even with, with sexual orientation, I mean, there are patients that I w I might even think if I ask this, I'm going to offend them, and it's such a wrong way to think you've got to ask, because you'll be surprised with the answers, you know?
[00:34:39] Um, so anyway, so yeah, it's really the intake form as the SOGI questions. And then, and now I'm going to I'm I have started actually this week putting the pronouns right by their names. So it's, it's nice and big and visible because I have staff I've, I've gotten staff over the last few weeks and I realized that we just have to do this as an organ.
[00:34:57] And with your staff [00:35:00] member is singular it's plural now. Okay. Yep. Um, with your staff members, do you have. Uh, discussion or, uh, uh, a module of training or how do you get them to also be inclusive and conscious about pronouns, proper usage of pronouns, and trying to everyday improve on usage of proper pronouns.
[00:35:29] So it's interesting with the first staff member, I just was very clear about it, mainly because my pronouns are they them and I just, I, you know, I want that to be, you know, used correctly and this staff member is so wonderful. She now uses they for everyone until. Until they tell her otherwise. And what she's found is it just helps her, you know, to not [00:36:00] sort of, you know, mis-gender folks.
[00:36:01] And I just thought it was wonderful. And so now, you know, with new to my practice, developing staff members, um, and bringing on the staff members, I realized we should all go through training, but we did talk to them. We've when we onboard them, we've talked, I've talked to them about it. And, um, I'm really, you know, I want, I would like to talk about other things and sort of go through some formal training for a few other things as well.
[00:36:22] So I think it's just necessary. And in addition to the oath against racism, you also have a page pronouns with the firstname.lastname@example.org. And I wanted to ask, have you found personally any particular resources in addition to pronouns.org, that function in terms of teaching or educating people about proper usage of pronouns that you love referring people to.
[00:36:52] No, I don't have any one, one thing, honestly say Google, it, it's just, there's so much information, uh, you know, and, uh, [00:37:00] you can read tons of information. It's very easy and at your fingertips. So I haven't really had to refer people to two things, but if I did, I would say Google it. And I was just checking out, turn on and start org in preparation for this interview.
[00:37:17] And it's pretty amazing. I love that. It gives also, I think like six different examples of empowering ways to address if you're mispronounced. So it's not only education about how to use correct pronouns for others, but it's also about speaking up for yourself when you are mispronounced. And I thought that that was so interesting because it sort of ties into you also had posts somewhere about the book.
[00:37:45] Your name is a song. And I think that, you know, just the idea that we're talking about. Being inclusive and being an addressing public health, through being aware and being actively, [00:38:00] actively educating ourselves about how to be inclusive on all different levels. I feel that people using the incorrect pronouns, people using the incorrect pronunciation of name, all of those can absolutely create barriers between you and your physician.
[00:38:16] Sure, absolutely. Yeah. And then sometimes, you know, it's done purposely and, and that's not great either. Um, I mean, people can feel that, so it, these are, these are all very important things for us. If we say that we respect our patients and, and they may seem very little to people, but they're not. I mean, I've, I had some of my, some really bad experiences with doctors myself on not on a personal level with family members.
[00:38:47] And to see that is heartbreaking because I, again, I have the knowledge, the wherewithal to combat that, you know, I can throw on a badge or say, Hey, I'm a doc. And immediately the demeanor changes, not [00:39:00] everyone can do that. And that again, like you said, it's going to make them either not come back or they come back, but they don't fully trust you.
[00:39:06] So how compliant are you if you don't really trust the person that you see? And so it becomes a really bad cycle. Absolutely. Now, in a scenario like DPC, where potentially you are opening a DPC in a community where you like a doctor might know nobody in that town, if they are moving to that town, quote, unquote cold Turkey and opening up a practice.
[00:39:29] And let's say a new doctor to a community is using a pronoun. Like they are them. Is also fearful of, I guess, a new physician who might not be so comfortable with using their own pronouns correctly. And who's also balancing, I need to appeal to patients to try to get them to join my practice. I just wonder as a person who is using [00:40:00] their them yourself, how would you advise a person to, you know, be in that space, be comfortable with that space and get through that space to be empowered, to use the correct pronoun for themselves as well as be able to, um, you know, not necessarily worry so much about pleasing others to get them to join their practice.
[00:40:21] Yeah. I, you know, I can't tell people what to do, but I will say this, my pronouns were not on my page when I first. This is an evolution of me personally. And the evolution is not just an evolution of my gender identity. It's an evolution of expressing who I am. And I've gotten to the point where I know how very important it is to express who I am.
[00:40:50] When we shine, we give permission to others to do the same. And the very first day I changed my [00:41:00] website. And I can't remember how long ago, how long it's been now, maybe a year before I hit publish, because I do it myself. I asked my partner, I said, oh my God, I'm, I can't believe I'm about to do this. What if I lose patients?
[00:41:15] You know, people are like, what is this? You know, how much criticism am I get? And which is kind of funny as if there's thousands of people checking my page out. And that's really not the case, but still it's just like, you feel like you're exposing yourself. And I said, maybe this is too personal. We're talking about a medical practice.
[00:41:31] Why do they need to know about me? And my partner said, you, you have to do it. And we know why, and we both know why we, again, we are talking to the kids in the back that might not want to say that they're queer. We're talking to other people for what, for whatever reason, I'm just using the example of being queer and not being out or being afraid to come out.
[00:41:52] But there's a ton of other reasons that that don't necessarily have to do with that. When I hit published the very next day, I got a [00:42:00] call from a person who said, I saw your website. So this is about as random as it gets. Right. I saw your website and I just wanted to call and say, thank you. I have never been on a website where I have seen this type of openness to being gay and.
[00:42:20] Using pronouns. And I mean, this woman was going on and on. She said, I have a daughter who is bisexual, and I can imagine, I just can't understand. I I'm so astonished it's to, to read and see a doctor actually being this open and welcoming. And I just wanted to call the applaud you, she wasn't even calling to be my patient.
[00:42:44] She just wanted to say that. And it was the very next day it achieved what I wanted it to achieve. So it'll always be there if you're another physician wondering whether you're going to get patient, none of my patients left me the ones who don't understand it just [00:43:00] don't understand it. That's fine. There are ones who do, and there are others that have joined me because of that.
[00:43:06] And that's what I want to be. I want to join. I want to develop a community of patients that feel like it's home. And I know displaying who I am allowing. Right, because if I'm inclusive about this, it's not a far stretch to say that I'm inclusive about a lot of things, right? And so this doesn't stop with gender identity, sexual orientation and race.
[00:43:28] It's it's with everything. I had a woman who is obese and she called me and said, your site's amazing. I don't like doctors. I haven't seen a doctor in years, but reading your site has made me think this doctor could be open to. To me, I've been treated really poorly because of my weight. So we started talking about that.
[00:43:49] So it starts the discussion and if that's what my practice is made up, then I'm a happy person, you know? So, and then I would say, you know, you have to make the choice if you're in a [00:44:00] community where it's dangerous. Okay. Well, you know, maybe that's, I'm not going to out and tell them when they have to be out.
[00:44:06] I would never do that. But I do say that we are in a position that's better than most, and it, it just could support someone else who really need it. And I think it goes back to first of all. That's, what's amazing. Thank you. Thank you so much for saying that. Um, I also think that it goes back to what you said about the younger generation and they know what's going, what's what, and what's going on.
[00:44:28] And I think that, especially at this time of just awareness that this country has gone through that. If there is something, you know, that anyone has a question about there's going to be somebody else's having that exact same question. I mean, just, just as you went through that example and explains like, you're not here to tell people, but you, you, you can give your experience and if they can learn anything from it.
[00:44:54] Great. And I think that, um, that this is where people like yourself, [00:45:00] people like Dr. Mohammad people like Dr. Eamonn, they, there are multiple even DPC clinics out there where inclusivity and how to be inclusive for, well, I mean, let me see recently received that. They're pretty much like, because DPC allows us the freedom to practice medicine, as we choose to practice it.
[00:45:24] I feel that just being inclusive is an easier thing to achieve with the time and with the, you know, The smaller number, number of patients the person could potentially have. So I would definitely say it would definitely encourage people to, if they have any question with regards to, how to, you know, how to address obese patients, how to address gender related questions, reach out to somebody if you're not sure.
[00:45:51] Sure, sure. Yeah, absolutely. Now I want to ask about your practice with the pandemic. Did you [00:46:00] experience any changes in your practice at all during the pandemic? I, I think it was very minor. I think the shift was people didn't want to come in, so we did Mo even more telemedicine than usual. Um, I had some.
[00:46:16] Yeah, I 10, 15% who were struggling a bit financially to the point where they asked, you know, could they stop paying for a little while or have a discount. But other than that, I know I lost some patients because of financial issues probably, but I gained some as well because of poor access to other, you know, other practices.
[00:46:37] So I pretty much stayed pretty steady. Um, I definitely wasn't a growth theory for me, which I think some people might've said, well, I agree, you know, I'm a new practice and you want growth. Um, but I didn't experience that huge boom. So, but you know, we're doing fine. We're, we're where, where we want to be.
[00:46:55] Um, right now. And we've taken on a lot with COVID testing as well, and [00:47:00] maybe trying to be a practice site that also gives the vaccine. That's been a bit tricky, but you know, hopefully that's kind of. Definitely. I know that that's a, that's a statement that many people can relate to, especially with more shelf, stable vaccines, um, being available to everybody.
[00:47:22] Now, another quote that you had posted was science is not the truth. Science is finding the truth and when science changes its opinion, it doesn't lie to you. It learned more. And I want to ask about misinformation because as a DPC doctor who is inclusive, who has more time, how have you combated misinformation since this pandemic started?
[00:47:52] Yeah, I, you know, that's, it's interesting. Cause I think in DPC, um, people who may be drawn to us also may think that we're, [00:48:00] um, docs that sort of don't practice sort of the traditional in, uh, ma uh, you know, the traditional pace sort of medicine. Um, I, I constantly make people aware that I'm not really, you know, while there are certain, certain things I've learned in my career about alternative medicine.
[00:48:16] That is not my, my, my, uh, strong point. So people may come with a lot of, um, different therapies that they're interested in and thinking that I would be very open to. And while I'm open to learning, I still kind of have to. Combat some of the things that I hear, I think that quote, I probably pulled from Dr.
[00:48:36] Borgia at Radiant's medical group. I think she had posted it as well, but I, I posted it specifically because I had people, um, talking about their concerns with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and how I have been pulled for a little, I think it wasn't a very long time that, um, everything was halted with giving it because of the issue with, uh, class and [00:49:00] people were saying, see, this is what we expected.
[00:49:03] We said, so we knew there was something going to happen with this vaccine and they hadn't tried it long enough. And here we are. And you know, I just, I love the quote because it said, listen, we're, we're, we're evolving, but we're not trying to, to, to dupe you here. This is w we're we're evolving and we're holding the vaccine to make sure that the, what we're seeing with classes and an enormous number.
[00:49:28] And, you know, obviously, you know, it turned out that. This is happening at even a lower rate than in what it would in the general population. And so giving the Johnson and Jackson vaccine, um, continued, you know, my quotes are out there on my personal Facebook page because I, you know, a lot of my Facebook friends are people of color and I really hope to reach them.
[00:49:50] You know? I mean, I want people to get the vaccine. I think people of color are, are, are probably not, not I'm sorry. Not probably. I [00:50:00] know for a fact that percentage, we're not getting it as high as, uh, even sort of our white counterparts. And that's a Travis DC seeing us, we are at higher rates of dying from COVID and higher rates of being hospitalized and, um, there's financial insecurity being sick.
[00:50:16] And even if you're sort of sick at home, that's still a problem. You know, I just try to throw things up once in awhile to, to maybe reassure people and hopefully give them some confidence around the vaccines. You bring up another point in terms of, you know, marginalization, looking at patients who are black patients, who are brown patients, who because of socioeconomic status don't have access to care or access to quality care for a multitude of reasons.
[00:50:49] So when we look at even the statistics in medicine, when it comes to black physicians, the percentage is [00:51:00] lower than 5% of practicing physicians, which to me is disgusting as a person of color. I just feel that, you know that for me it's oh, are you a nurse? Because you're Filipino and Filipinos are always nurses.
[00:51:13] Right? So I just, I wonder in your experiences, um, in your career, Were there any outlets or resources or conferences, or are ways that you found exposure to other black physicians that helped you feel empowered and helped you get to the place where you are today? Oh, absolutely. I mean, you start one with a strong family base, which I had very, very fortunate to have an extremely strong family base.
[00:51:48] And, and then you seek people out that look like you, uh, not because you're trying to be exclusive, but because you, you need comfort. You need people who are going to be going through the same thing you are. [00:52:00] And, and we did, we pulled each other along that started in college. I went to a majority white college and sure.
[00:52:07] I had friends that weren't of color, but they also were not going through the things that I was going through. Sometimes just the fact that you would be, you know, first-generation in an Ivy league school, or, you know, some of the racist things that your teacher, your professors would say. I mean, some of the, some of the things the professors would say, I, you know, just shock you.
[00:52:28] Um, and then of course the students and things they would say, or the things you had to go through, you needed to find people who understood that without having to explain it. And so that is an immediate thing that I've done. And I would say many people of color done throughout all of their schooling. So through going through university med school, I always had a strong network of friends.
[00:52:52] And then there were always a group of people, one or two grades above you that were there to teach you, um, as [00:53:00] well. Now it's not large, certainly not large in any respect, but it's there. And we all knew the importance of reaching back as we became upperclassmen. And it's just the way it's been done for many years.
[00:53:13] Years, because it has to be that way. So that's where you get your strength and your power. Um, you get it from your community. My community was my family. Um, and then my community was my very small group of friends and each level of getting through what I had to. And I, and I'm an, I'm an athlete too. I'm a former athlete.
[00:53:31] And so I have this internal coach that is like never, never really quiet ever, um, sort of pushing me as well. But so that allows me to sort of go in the room where there's no one that looks like me, that allows me to, to face the racism that I feel all the time. You know, as you mentioned this as being a Filipino physician and you know, you meet that on a regular basis and, uh, it's not that it doesn't hurt.
[00:53:54] And, you know, I think we all probably at some point need to, to, to really recognize that it's [00:54:00] racial trauma, but it's there and we can deal with it because we've had, we have for so long. Absolutely. And I'm glad that you said that because. For any listener who might not be a color, you know, it's, it's just, this is where I feel like, I think back to 2020, like just educating ourselves about each other's experiences is so invaluable because everybody experiences life differently in general.
[00:54:27] But especially when you throw a marginalized, uh, component to the mix, it's like, oh, okay. This is a whole different ball game, right? Yeah, absolutely. No. What about the fact that you are a part of a family of seven, which is a very big family? Um, how do you balance your life now? Uh, with everybody, everybody running around all the time.
[00:54:55] I don't know if I can say it's balanced. It's like, uh, I come from a [00:55:00] family of five children already, so. And I talked to my dad. Um, so my mom passed away. So I talked to him often about things and I said, how did you all do it? And you know, we talk about just sort of juggling. Balls in the air. So it's not as if it's balanced, it's like throwing a few balls up and you're like taking care of the most important ones that at the time in that moment, but knowing those are up and slowly coming down and that, you know, you've got to make a plan for those and maybe be able to throw a few up.
[00:55:33] So that's not so much balance, but a juggling act. Um, I, you know, I think I'm also very fortunate. I have a wonderful partner. We've blended our family and, um, I think we do very well. We play off of each other's strengths and we have really great. Um, at, at the core, you know, they're in their teen years now, and that's a challenge for anybody who's raising chickens, but, but really they're really good kids at the core.
[00:55:57] And, and really, you know, they do well [00:56:00] in school. And, and I think that helps. We're fortunate in that. So there's periods of time, I think in DPC that they're going to be busier than others. I mean, maybe all of a sudden you've got a group of new patients or you've got some business aspects of DPC that really need to be focused on.
[00:56:14] Um, and those are times that you just, you really, aren't doing great at home with all of the things that are happening and then, you know, maybe things shift and you're needing more at home. I love with DPC that I have a little bit more freedom to at least handle. Uh, things the way I want to in, in the insurance space world, larger practice and organizations do there's this, there's this huge guilt for calling out or needing time.
[00:56:39] Whereas with DPC, you can just sort of rearrange your schedule if you need to. Um, you're the boss and your patients are extremely open and flexible, mainly because you're taking care of them very well. So they don't think that you're dodging them. If you say, Hey, I, I, you know, can I shift your appointment or I have to close the clinic for half day or something like that.
[00:56:59] And so that's been a [00:57:00] wonderful aspect of, of, of owning my own, um, my own practice. Now I want to ask on that note a little bit. I want to delve into some details about result MD. And one of the things I wanted to ask about first is pricing because your pricing structure, kids start at 79 and then adults are more than that.
[00:57:22] How did you develop your pricing story? Well, so the pricing structure actually recently shifted, um, and it was much, it was lower, but I think now that I've been open a few years, There's a shift inside of me. And I don't know if everyone's goes through this at some point, it really, the pricing structure has to match your area.
[00:57:43] There are areas where you can have a low pricing structure, and that means you're going to get a good number of people. Maybe there's not great access to healthcare. Um, my area there's great access to there's a lot of doctors, we're not in an, in an area with a lack of physicians. There are a lot of people who have government jobs cause [00:58:00] we're near DC and major cities.
[00:58:02] And so that's also great insurance doesn't mean great healthcare is in both know. And so people don't quite get why they would pay additional a, an additional fee. And I also think that I am in an area that, um, has a higher income than that. In some areas in the country. And so I, I, I've learned a few things that one with the lower pricing structure that I had, um, which is probably one that many people sort of start out with DPC $25 for a child.
[00:58:31] If they signed up with family $50, if they sign up alone, I capped at $75 for adults. One, I wanted to make sure people at this point, I want to make sure people understand that and legitimate. And I feel like sometimes the lower pricing people are kind of like, well, why, why is it so low? And one, why am I paying for it?
[00:58:52] But two, if I am, why is it so low? How is this doctor having, you know, how is this doctor surviving on low prices? And I felt [00:59:00] like it sort of under devalued me in general. So I increased the pricing structure, um, to there, it gets to a point where, when you're doing so much for a patient, I would want to, to feel that I want to know that I am.
[00:59:16] Making the money that's worth it. And while I enjoy this way of practicing, there is a very real part that I want to be a viable practice down the line where I'm not working so hard, that it now becomes another piece that I resent and, um, really do value my time more. Um, I know if I sit in a room with you for an hour, you know, my price should probably be higher.
[00:59:40] And, um, if I have to give a discount to some people who can't afford it, certainly I'm going to do that down the line. But in general, I do think DPC, we should probably be charging a little more than, than what I'm seeing. And I'm probably not at a high tier, but I, I do like my structure now. Of the $79 a child, um, 99 flat fee for everyone [01:00:00] else.
[01:00:00] And then over 65, I believe I'm at 1 49 right now. I think that that is fine. And as I said, I'm happy to give discounts, but I do value my time. I don't think it's concierge pricing. I still think concierge is much higher. And I, frankly, I think we do a lot. We do, we do quite a bit, and there are plenty of people who will pay that price.
[01:00:21] Even as a retainer. They might use me a few times through the year, but they know when they use me, I'm there. They're not calling out to wait hours for their doctor. They have me and can and have great access to me. So I'm really happy with the structure. I feel really good about it actually. Um, now that I've put it up over the last month, I believe.
[01:00:41] Awesome. When you talk about. Pricing and changing your pricing. I want to ask, how did you handle the change? Did you have any second guesses about, you know, what exactly am I changing it to? What am I going to do about the patients who are paying at the lower rates? How are they going to take it? [01:01:00] What was, what was going on between when you thought about changing prices and you actually changed?
[01:01:05] Yeah, I think again, it was just the idea that I'm just balancing my time more. Um, the prices of like my EMR went up, I brought on staff and, you know, you kind of think about it that there's other things now you have to pay for, with them. We've got inflation. So I was thinking, boy, I've been open for three years at these prices.
[01:01:23] It's time for them to shift. So what I'd done is I actually said, well, I'm nervous about shifting these prices. Let's keep all of my old members at the older price. And I was having a few, an influx of patients because of the close of a practice. I said now, and we'll just, we'll have a higher price as the new ones come on.
[01:01:42] It was just a mess. I, you know, for a few months I had two pricing structures and, and I said, you know what? This is, this is silly. Um, and, and I, I still, the newer pricing structure was still a little bit too low for what I was projecting to take care of the changes in the practice. [01:02:00] So I wrote a letter saying, you know, For three years, the price has been the same.
[01:02:06] It's, you know, with inflation and the changes in the practice and to remain a viable, strong practice that provides the quality care that I provide you. This is a new pricing structure. And in my mind, I said, you know what? If people have to leave, they have to leave because I, I think there's a point when you just, you value your time and I didn't want to get into a situation where now.
[01:02:28] Either solo or just one staff member doing just as much work as I would in the employed world and feeling resentful. And so you have to really look at that and see, is that going to happen? If it is then why then, you know, you can own your own practice. It doesn't, it doesn't matter. You're you're still.
[01:02:45] I'm not making what you should. So that's what the thought process behind it prices says. Ray had raised some of the technology costs more, so it was necessary to raise the prices. And, and, and, and what's really funny is all of a sudden I [01:03:00] got pink, pink pings to my phone from the spruce text messaging that patients use when in Alation, tons of messages.
[01:03:06] And I'm thinking here, it goes, let me read through, through this. It was overwhelmingly positive, which was a shock to me, which made me think maybe I should've done it sooner, but you know, everyone, most of the patients were like, you know, me understand and okay, no problem here. Or a lot of it was just reminding them, oh, wait, I had a medical questions.
[01:03:26] They didn't even, they didn't even address the fact that there was a price increase, but, but you know, a good number of them did say, yep, I'm still on board. You're wonderful doc. Or this is this, this is understandable. Or what's that pricing, you know, what does this mean for me? And we just kind of went back and forth, but I didn't get any nuggets.
[01:03:45] Incredible. And I just love that though, because it's fulfilling your desire to, you know, to honor your time and to honor your training and your capabilities as a physician. And I feel it's, [01:04:00] I laugh because you know, when Netflix raised their prices, oh, heck no, I discontinued my Netflix membership, but if there's somebody like my legal fees this year went up and I'm like, I am not going to lose my lawyer because it's so valuable.
[01:04:13] And that person knows me. And so, you know, it's, it's interesting that like, it's not necessarily the price that I think about when I think of those two services, but I think about the value. And so it goes back to that you're building and you're nourishing community of people who would naturally support you when you do something like that.
[01:04:33] Right. I kept Netflix, by the way
[01:04:41] I recently joined. Cause I couldn't have, I kind of like watching the crown, right? Yeah. They know they've got us.
[01:04:51] I want to ask about staff. You're talking about, uh, you know, the resentment that you don't want to ever get into. And I wanted to ask at [01:05:00] what point did your practice go through? You know, these are the things that are being overwhelming that I think I can push on this another, that I can bring on another person to handle.
[01:05:11] What, what was, what was that? What did that look like for you? It looks like things not getting done because what happens is you don't do the things you don't like to do. And, uh, and as you see those pile up, when there's less patients, you eventually you get to wipe it out. You feel good. And then as you get more patients in that pile gets to higher and higher, and you starting to feel a little anxious about that pile.
[01:05:35] You start, you start wondering, you know, should you have someone else to help you do it? It's really a battle though. Cause you're really balancing how much you're bringing in versus. Sort of that comfort of being able to push some of the minutiae of the, of the business on and the practice off on someone else.
[01:05:55] I would have to say, I'm not so sure I would have added staff just yet, but we've, we've [01:06:00] started doing a lot of COVID-19 testing and that's brought in, you know, some, some revenue to the practice, which has allowed me to bring a staff member on. And now, honestly, even if COVID testing stopped, I probably would find a way to keep them.
[01:06:13] I just, it's so refreshing to take some of that off my plate. And in the beginning, I was just so like, so eager, like I can do all of this. This is no big deal. This is great. I, you know, but I think to people maybe starting that that's been aware off at some point in your, you're still excited about your own practice, but you're not thrilled about, you know, taking care of every fax and uploading every medical record that starts to get, get to you, especially when you're still also dealing with others.
[01:06:41] Um, aspects that you might not be able to pass off to anyone, even if you bring on staff. So I, you know, if I could do it again, I might find a way to start off with the staff. I didn't, but I might find a way I wouldn't, you know, I'd have to really balance that and be careful. But I think if I did [01:07:00] it over, I probably would try to start.
[01:07:01] Do you have an SOP for your practice or what standard operating procedure I probably should have. I think there's probably a lot of things that I probably should have in place. I'm always a little behind and do things probably backwards. I'm pretty sure you haven't closed your doors. So I'm going to take that as a win now.
[01:07:25] And I mean, you're, you're talking about educating ourselves. It's like you you've changed your practice and you can continue to change your practice, which is, you know, there's nothing wrong with that. So that's awesome. I want to ask you have an in-house pharmacy, correct? Yes. Yep. And. What was the decision, like when you made that decision to have an in-house pharmacy, what were the thoughts behind having one versus not?
[01:07:50] Oh, I just knew automatically that one-on-one I felt like that was something that could set me apart and bring value. I'll be honest. I don't use it as often as I thought. [01:08:00] Um, it may be because I'm so low, um, that I could probably push it a little more. Um, I basically tell patients if they, if we can get a cheaper price for them, then we'll use the in-house pharmacy.
[01:08:10] But, uh, I was lucky because in Maryland, there's a application that's supposed to be a bit tricky to complete and get approval for, but I was had a side gig at an urgent care required. To have that application filled out and they did it for me and paid for it. So that allowed me to get my pharmacy and was so happy.
[01:08:33] Um, I think now with staff will probably push it a bit more, you know, display more prices so that people can easily see if they would save money on it. But I, yeah, I definitely think if you can have one, you should have it. It's, it's just so easy and it really is a convenience and it is really, uh, for some, especially my uninsured patients, you know, they really say I use it.
[01:08:55] And how do you handle, um, medicines that are about to expire? [01:09:00] I just throw them away, you know? Yeah. It's that, that was a frustrating point for me, as I realized that meds I had bought, I hadn't even used. So now I'm much more cautious when that first round happened to me, I was like, oh man, I didn't even use these.
[01:09:18] So now I'm much more cautious about what I'm buying in stock. Gotcha. In terms of growth for your practice as you continue to grow. At what point I know you, you talked about like the things weren't getting done, but at what point do you feel that you would have a full panel or bring another physician on?
[01:09:39] So I, um, for the talk of, with, with all the talk about love of medicine, um, I actually realized that I enjoy, um, creating, um, business and I've delved into a few other things right now as well. And because of that, and because I see that that's an interest that I [01:10:00] have, um, I'm actually considering capping well before I thought I would and potentially bringing someone else on.
[01:10:08] And so that's going to be a little bit different than someone who's sort of getting to a full panel because I don't think I would consider myself there. Yeah. So, so, so I think my situation might be a little bit different. I think that's awesome though. I mean, like, I love that you're an entrepreneur and you're doing whatever the heck you want to do as an entrepreneur.
[01:10:26] Yeah, I think it, and that, I think that's why freedom, you know, it's just, when I say that DPC means freedom to me because really, I would've never done some of this. Had I been an employed world, there's just no time, you know, and this is just kind of thrilling to understand that that life can take you in different directions and you can actually go in those directions and not be held down.
[01:10:47] Awesome. Absolutely. Awesome. Now you said that you designed your own website, and so I want to ask about that process. Um, did you, what were some of the experiences that [01:11:00] you recall from when you were initially designing your website? You know, it was fun to me. Um, I really enjoy that. Um, it was the second thing, right?
[01:11:09] Naming the business, giving it a name and a logo was the first and then designing the website and getting that up to me was the second. And I remember coming home and doing it after the kids went to bed and doing it on the weekends and I can whisper this, but, you know, pulling it up in between patients.
[01:11:25] Sometimes I kept playing around with it when I was in my employee job and hadn't let that go yet. It's not hard. And it was just new to learn how to do. And then the reason why I liked that I have my own and it might not be the most polished website. And I get that is that I can change it whenever I want versus reaching out to someone, waiting for them to make changes.
[01:11:46] I mean, you know, I, I shifted all the time and I think that's probably why, you know, I like the process that I went through. I can totally relate. I feel the same exact way. Like if I need to change something or if I don't like the [01:12:00] font I've literally can hop on. Yeah. And changing myself and then Paula today.
[01:12:05] I absolutely loved that. Yeah. So now I want to ask what is the biggest struggle you've had in your DPC since you opened and how did you get through it? I think the, one of the biggest struggles is that viability, you know, you're at this point where that eagerness wears off just a tad in terms of opening up your own practice.
[01:12:30] And you are not at a place where you're fully paying yourself. So you may be juggling a few psychics, which I was just before the pandemic to make things go and you start to feel that. I could probably burn out from this, right. I'm too DPC. I've got my side digs and my family. And so that's, it can be a little bit of a scary point if you're not sure where you're going or when the side gates will end.
[01:12:56] And are you going to grow? It's [01:13:00] interesting, but the pandemic gave me a chance to step back a little bit and reassess that and, um, shift into some additional things that I think have made me more viable. And so I think the slowing down for a little bit is not a bad thing to kind of reassess and understand that everybody's path is going to be different on this.
[01:13:21] Some people are going to start, blow up and have a great panel right away. Other people are going to sort of be, you know, going to be slow. The churn is a big one too, where you gain patients and you lose them. And I didn't, I don't think I lost anyone because they didn't like the services. It needs. Some people just.
[01:13:36] Didn't value, you know, value the services, right. And understand the importance of it, or some are just not confined in the general and really didn't feel they needed to pay for a doctor. So the biggest again, yeah. The biggest challenge is just that viability and making sure that you can pay your, and what's the biggest win you've had in DPC.
[01:14:01] [01:14:00] Oh, there's yeah. That's a hard one because there's been so many, um, they really are patient related, um, when I've helped someone. So when a patient, you know, after a visit and they said, I, you know, where they, where I've really felt where they've really felt like they've connected with me and felt like now they found a, I don't want to use the word medical home.
[01:14:23] Cause they used to use that in, in the employed world. And it didn't mean the same thing, but they found a home. Where they were going to get their, their primary care needs met in a way that was respected and comprehensive. And, uh, that is probably the best thing to know that you're going to provide that for someone.
[01:14:43] And they're going to feel that I, you know, that it's going to affect their life, like literally the trajectory of their, of their life. Um, and that's, that's a nice, that's a, that's a win. Awesome. And for those of the listeners who want to reach out to you after this podcast, [01:15:00] what's the best way to reach out to you?
[01:15:02] Yeah, sure. You can call me, um, uh, (443) 574-4439. Um, or the way to reach me, the, the most direct actually is my email. Cause now that I have staff, you actually might reach someone else, but info at resolve in D that for, that goes to me, I'm the one that monitors it. And that is probably the easiest way to reach you.
[01:15:26] Thank you so much, Dr. Johnson-Weaver for joining us.
Thank you. Thanks for having me
[01:15:37] next week. Look forward to hearing from Dr. Rosana Lastra of head-to-toe pediatrics in St. Petersburg, Florida. Also the AFP DPC summit is coming soon. It will be held virtually from July 16th to 18th. Learn the ins and outs of DPC practice with hundreds of peers and experts, sharing knowledge and resources to help improve health care and lower costs.
[01:16:00] [01:15:59] register at dpcsummit.org today. If you liked what you heard today, please leave a review and subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts. Tell your friends to for more information on this episode and much more, please visit my DPC story.com also for the latest in DPC news. Check out DPC news.com until next week.
[01:16:19] This is conception.
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