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Episode 47: Dr. Anand Mehta (He/Him) of Stand Up Family Medicine - Marietta, GA

DPC Doctor

Dr. Mehta wears his DPC White Coat
Dr. Anand Mehta

Dr. Anand Mehta is a dedicated board certified family physician who has focused on patient care and improving the patient experience throughout his medical career.

He was born and raised in Buffalo, NY where he attended SUNY Buffalo. He later graduated Medical School from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India.

His residency was completed at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, NJ, where he continued to work for the hospital system there for 4 years.

After the move to GA, Dr. Mehta worked as a solo family physician for WellStar Health System for five years in Roswell, GA, where he later established himself as the medical director for Primary care for the local hospital.

He then took a position as the first medical director in the nation for Walmart Health during the summer of 2019. He helped grow the pilot location into a successful model that promoted the growth of future Walmart centers in GA and beyond.

However he left this position to pursue healthcare that meant more of a difference in patient lives, then his personal wallet.

Dr. Mehta takes the time to listen to the needs of his patients. He is an extrovert known to make people laugh, is empathetic, kind and welcoming. His character is spoken highly by patients, both in New Jersey and in Georgia. He has received remarkable patient satisfaction scores, coupled with providing exceptional care to his patients.

Dr. Mehta is a doting husband and busy father to three young children. When he is not busy with family life, he has been seen around Atlanta doing stand-up comedy, playing basketball, or watching the Buffalo Bills.

He is a better physician and person since starting Stand Up family Medicine, in October of 2020.

In today's episode, Dr. Mehta shares how he has literally "stood up" to the many challenges he's faced in his journey to opening his own DPC, Stand Up Family Medicine. After ten years of working for different practices and climbing the corporate ranks, it was reflecting on his life and what he had become that made him choose a better way of life. He opened in October of 2020 and now has over 220 patients under his care.

Dr. Mehta's Stand Up Act at the Gate City Brewery

Resources Mentioned By Dr. Mehta:

- DPC Docs on FB



Coming 07.18.21

[00:00:00] Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:00:00] Welcome to the podcast,

[00:00:01] Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:00:01] Dr. Metta.

[00:00:02] Thanks, Mary. All great to be here. Thanks so much

[00:00:05]Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:00:05] now pleasure to talk with you yet again, because I consider you a dear DPC world friend, but you and I were on a panel just yesterday at the DPC 2021 summit.

[00:00:16] So I wanted to start off with your background because. For those of you who may or may not know Dr. Metta was the first medical director for Walmart health and had also previously been approached by diamond physicians, as well as in his own private practice prior to opening standup family medicine.

[00:00:36] Dr. Mehta, I'm wondering if you can please share with us more about that amazing background that you came from?

[00:00:42]Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:00:42] So my background is interesting. I actually went to medical school in Moneyball India in it was an interesting journey getting there. I was in university of Buffalo and I was actually studying to be an actor. And I thought I had a gig being a standup comic.

[00:00:58] My father and mother [00:01:00] who were also physicians did not think I was too funny and thought it was a better idea for me to go to med school. So they actually filled out an application and I got into that school. And before you knew it, instead of going to junior year at university of Buffalo, I became a medical student in a cause group of medical college.

[00:01:18] So I graduated from there. I came back, I took my USM Louise and I got into a residency program in hundred and family medicine residency in Flemington, New Jersey. I did my residency graduated and took a job with the hospital at a place called hundred and family medicine. It was a two provider practice that had a 70 year old physician who was about to retire and a middle-aged physician who was also a former graduate of the same residency program who was aligned to be my mentor.

[00:01:46]However, the day I joined I realized that they would not have good terms. And that mentor who was the physician I was supposed to work with, gave us two week notice. And so basically in two weeks I inherited a [00:02:00] 4,500 patient practice and had to dive into it head first very scared, like a deer in the headlights.

[00:02:07]There was a nurse that I'm still very good friends with now named Julie. She looked at me, so we'd be down and said, Hey we can do this. I have a son who's getting into college and I need this job. We're just going to have to make it work. So at that point reality hit the hard way, but it was a good team.

[00:02:24] And she did help me along the way and told me how to handle certain patients differently. And told me whatever she knew about the patients. And we did it the seven year old physician was nice enough not to retire, but he came in a couple of days. He mentored me with a couple of questions I had. And I started running a solo practice basically right out of residency.

[00:02:44] And it was a big eye-opener, but what was really good in a way is that it really gave me the sense of how unique practices as an individual physician and the relationship that you have with your peers. I think it was one of a kind and it got me on my [00:03:00] feet and discovered not necessarily the hard way, but in a good way, how important a family is, not only with your coworkers, but the patients that you have and that trusted you with their care, despite knowing that you were just a kid out of residency.

[00:03:14] So we did that for about two years and then hospital mergers took place and they shifted two practices together and we became cornerstone family practice, which was a seven provider practice. That was a big shift for me because I realized being in a multiprovider practice was difficult and patient care was not as coordinated as being an individual practitioner.

[00:03:37] I saw, working with mid-levels as well as other MDs that patient charts were getting mixed up care was being broken. The simple things like med refill requests were being confused and it was just difficult to get things done, but we stayed with it. I also, was fortunate to be meet, my future wife and was engaged in later, got married.

[00:03:59] And when it was [00:04:00] time to look for a house, New Jersey taxes became evident and I thought it was a good time to ask my hospital. I got a raise request of $5,000, which at that time wasn't going to cut it, but also was a slap in the face to realize that no matter what you did for the hospital and how many years you served for them, which was seven in total, including residency it didn't matter because your patient satisfaction scores you're recognized by your colleagues and your specialists the familiarity and the good things that your patients said about you.

[00:04:32] At the end of the day, you're just a number. And they gave me a number back. It just wasn't going to make me feel right. So at that time I uh, Looked at my wife. I said, we're going to have to look for something different. I chose Atlanta, Georgia as the next place to move particularly because my sister was in Greenville, South Carolina, she's an oncologist.

[00:04:50] She kept enforcing and reiterating that the south is a better place to live. The cost of living is better. And Atlanta seems a good hub that was [00:05:00] diverse. And that seemed to have a lot of good opportunity at the time. And so I took a job with north Fulton, primary care. They built a solo practice around me.

[00:05:09]And the CEO at that time had just a good feeling about me and I had a good feeling about her. It gave me the opportunity to start a practice brand new. So they came to Atlanta, not knowing anything, not knowing anybody in the area any of the patients. And I just started becoming hungry to make this practice successful and doing things that most physicians wouldn't do.

[00:05:33] I would go to the neighborhood pools and dress in a swimsuit and bring some cards with me and tell them that I was looking for a house in the area. And I was wondering if they had primary care that they were using and got into conversations about what I did and started spreading cards around.

[00:05:47] And before you knew it, the practice started growing. I had a medical assistant. Her name is Andrea who is also actually the medical assistance I have at my current DPC practice. And I'll get into that for a second, a little later, but [00:06:00] it was a good it was a good story coming to Atlanta in the way that you saw the practice grow around you.

[00:06:06] I had a good relationship with the hospital CEO at that time, as well as a lot of the supporting staff. I felt a very good community around me, but like most hospitals things get bought out and different mergers happen. And when the hospital later got bought by WellStar the pieces at the round table change the management team changed and then the office would change, and also the staffing and, bringing on other providers that also eventually happen.

[00:06:34] And unfortunately, when things change around you, you don't really dictate those changes. You have to just incorporate them as part of your new lifestyle. And that was difficult for me to do. It just so happens that I attended a DPC summit back in 2018 right when, so all these changes were taking place.

[00:06:54] And I was really interested in the DPC concept. At that time. I actually was approached by [00:07:00] diamond physicians as they were attempting to franchise out into the Atlanta area, they went really far with their negotiations there and really was about to make the leap. Unfortunately, financials didn't fall through exactly as planned.

[00:07:13] And I stayed at the existing WellStar clinic that I was at. Then fast forward to a year later, which would be 2019, early 2019. I was approached with an opportunity to become the director of a Walmart health first location in the country, out in Dallas. So two executives who talked to me and they wanted to have a healthcare venture that would incorporate a price transparent cost effective and open clinic that would incorporate not only medical, but dental hearing optical, pharmacy, mental health, all in one, I thought it was a great concept.

[00:07:49] As I knew that primary care was lacking almost everywhere, but a lot in that Dallas, Georgia area, I also thought that the price transparency model was [00:08:00] in a way similar to direct primary care. But I thought on a bigger scope that maybe I could hope molded into something that could be scalable and that it could be successful.

[00:08:10]And so I took the opportunity fully stated the truth behind it. There was a lot of things on that table that they gave me the opportunity to grow. But unfortunately when I did join and that the job took place, there's a lot of other people making decisions. And I think an easy way to say they were more interested in the growth of something versus the the actual running of it and how it would function and how we could make a good model that could be, a success in primary care moving forward.

[00:08:41]their aspirations and their their vision was not aligned with mine. And we decided to part ways in August of 2020, however, that was the step I needed to make in order to have the courage and the commitment to do direct primary care We all go into certain [00:09:00] situations where we get pushed and we get pushed and we get pushed.

[00:09:04] And, you have your fist clench and your heart is pumping and the adrenaline is going, but we just find a way to calm down and continue putting our heads down and getting back on that hamster wheel. That was enough for me. I just got tired of being pushed around. I got tired of people telling me how to do medicine, the way I knew it was supposed to do.

[00:09:23] And I felt like there's only one way to do it. And it actually came into a phone call with that leadership with Walmart health and said, Dr. Mehta, your shirt complained a lot about how we do things. If you think you can do it better, why don't you do it yourself? And that was it. I said, you know what, that's exactly what I'm going to do.

[00:09:43] And it was at that time, I hung up the phone and I told them. I'm going to, I'm going to do this direct primary care and I'm going to do a clinic my way. And I'm going to do it the way I was monitored. And that's when I created standup family medicine. And [00:10:00] uh, currently it's doing great. We opened in October, 2020, and we're at 225 patients as of mid July.

[00:10:08] And so we're up and running and the story continues and it continues to be.


[00:10:14] Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:10:14] just incredible know I hear your story and the way I visualize it, as I'm listening to you is literally you have fought your way to where you are today and you are standing up for yourself, your medicine and your patients with every step that you've taken along your journey.

[00:10:32] I mean, Even, going to medical school, when you thought you were going to be a junior in college, in the states to being thrown into a clinic that you did not expect you with over 4,000 patients and then going to. Different models of merging clinics with corporations and then to, one of the biggest corporations out there.

[00:10:55] Yeah. You literally have fought your way to where you are and now you're [00:11:00] taking care of over 220 patients in that is incredible. I just, what an incredible

[00:11:05] Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:11:05] story.

[00:11:06] Yeah. Not exactly how I would write it if I had to do it again, but it's the way it had to be written in my book of life, in order to talk about it today and to make it even more of a dream come true.

[00:11:17] And I think back in the day when I was first starting out of residency, I wanted to be successful. I felt that I had a good opportunity, a good way of talking to people. I like communication. I like being social. I like being the voice in the room. I like making people laugh.

[00:11:33]I don't mind being the center of attention. I don't mind having the table around me and cracking jokes. But I also felt I had something special to offer people. And, you, you get in the system and you start chugging away and you start thinking that the more patients I see, the more successful I'm going to be.

[00:11:50] But the problem with that is the more patients we see, the less time we have for them and the less successful we actually are as individual physicians as, as well as individual [00:12:00] people, because we're just doing whatever we can to rush through the schedule. We're always thinking about the next two patients after that person that you're talking to.

[00:12:09] And we always think about the next step in our career. What can I get to, you know, and I climbed that ladder, I, 10 years out of residency, I climbed to a director position at a fortune one company. And you would look around you and you would say, this is it. Dr. Muddy, you got it. You made it on, but what you don't see on the other side of that is someone who was depressed, who was miserable in his job, who was fighting with people who didn't understand healthcare with seeing patients and not feeling good about what you did at the end of the day.

[00:12:43] Not because of your care necessarily that you're providing them just because of the culture you were in and the surrounding you were in and the inability to make change. And when you get trapped in those walls, sure a title is great. And it means a lot on a piece of paper, [00:13:00] but as a person. You go home and you're not the same person.

[00:13:03] You're not the same person that you want people around that you made people that could become very sad and lonely. And you get mad and angry and irritable and changed as a father. You changed as a husband and it just changes as person. What makes you, who you are? And I only see this now because I'm back to the person it was before.

[00:13:28] And I realized how much I've changed over these years, especially the last year that I was with Walmart health and had to go through that. But you also realize how free and independent you are and how happy you are. Yes. I know. I'm not making the same check I had with Walmart health, but I'm okay. Yeah.

[00:13:46]Some days are hard and some patients take a little longer, but that's what you do at four. And I used to dread having to work and do a 45 hour commute to Dallas, Georgia to work at Walmart health. I hated even, [00:14:00] the fee for service world with the hospital. Looking at my schedule and dreading trying to get to three 30 or four o'clock.

[00:14:05]And how many notes I had to finish at the end of the day and when I would have time or not being able to do a lot of the things that I wanted to do for my kids, with my kids or with my wife, because of the time constraints with my schedule that changes, you change and you don't know how you change because it's like it's a process that happens slowly over time and just changes you and beats into you year after year.

[00:14:29]And then you break free of it. You break free of the shackles that fee for service and that corporate world does for you. You realize that you're not crazy for feeling that way. And you start, you start finding your smile again, you start laughing, you start enjoying your patients and the patients enjoy you back.

[00:14:45] You get slaps on the back and you give them hugs back because you have a great experience, a great time with them and you enjoy seeing them. And that is bigger than any paycheck that is bigger than any name on a resume. That is your happiness. That is your growth. And [00:15:00] that is why I did what I did and I don't regret it.

[00:15:02]I, and I feel more confident each month that goes into it. And in each patient that joints, I, it makes me more happy that I made the choice that I did. And I just believe in myself more and I bet on myself more because that's it you literally are the brand and Walmart and WellStar, or, whatever hospital system you work at.

[00:15:21] It's just a name behind you. You're who they're going to see, not the name behind it. And sometimes it took a long time to understand that, but that's what I'm trying to tell the other people young in their career residents, med students you name it. You don't have to be a name on a piece of paper, on a resume to make yourself feel good.

[00:15:38] You have to feel good about what you do and when you do, you'll never look back.

[00:15:43] Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:15:43] when you decided to go into DPC, when you decided to open up your own clinic, I want to ask first about the name because Stanhope family medicine. Clearly you have stood up for yourself. You again, like I said, you fought your way to where you are today and you just explained you're a better person [00:16:00] for it.

[00:16:00] But I want to ask, how did you come to that name specifically? And when you talk about these other brands that they're behind you now, you are your own brand. You are your own clinic. And how did you choose a name that represented you as a doctor and as a person and as a person who cares about other people for a living.

[00:16:20] Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:16:20] So it took a lot. I took the, a good eight names before my wife didn't roll her eyes at me. I thought of everything from Metta and Metta primary care to Matt as number one to finally just ending up at standup and, stand up has named one, obviously stand up is because I do stand up comedy.

[00:16:39] I did it ever since. you know, My father never thought it was funny. I wanted to prove him wrong. So once I got into residency, he had nothing holding me back and he wasn't going to send me to India again. So I thought this is the time to fly with it. So I started doing standup in residency and I ended up having a lot more fun than I thought I would do in it.

[00:16:57] And so there's an element of where a standup comes [00:17:00] from. The other thing is when I joined Walmart health, I did have videos and I still do have videos on YouTube, but when I started, they wanted me to delete them. They said, this is not the image we want as a director. Who's going to be the head of our pilot facility.

[00:17:13] And at the time I didn't know any better. I I said, this is what the change and the culture demands of going to change along with it. So I took them all down and after I gave my notice of resignation, I put it back up So there's a reason I said stand up because I wanted to stand up for what I believed in and wanted to stand up for primary care, wanting to stand up for better physician wellness.

[00:17:36] And I wanted to stand up to that culture. I wanted to stand up and say, you know what, we'll do exactly what I want to do on my terms, the way I want to do it. And be myself. And so stand up has not only a meeting a mini because of the personality behind it, things stand up has a meaning because of what we're all trying to do.

[00:17:54] And it's stand up for what we believe in and stand up for what we want our patients to believe in [00:18:00] and for what we think primary care should be about. So that's why I like stand up. That's why standup's here to stay. And that's why up is growing as we speak.

[00:18:08]Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:18:08] Awesome.

[00:18:09] In your clinic right now, it's you and Andrea, can you share about how she decided to come on board with you as you opened up, stand up?

[00:18:18] Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:18:18] Yeah I know every DPC clinic does things differently, and everything is about keeping overhead low and bringing on members to your team when the need desires.

[00:18:29]But Andrea was a medical assistant who started with me. Way back in 2014, when I first moved to Atlanta, Georgia and took that position and start that solo clinic, she was working with the provider at that time, who she was unhappy with. And she came up to me and said, Hey, I'm Andrea, I'm a medical assistant.

[00:18:47] And I would like to work with you. And I said I don't know anything about the area and I don't know any patients or anything, and I don't know why you're leaving your existing provider. And she said, I just want somebody I can [00:19:00] communicate with and be open and honest with. And that that, that treats me like a person.

[00:19:05] And I said, yeah, sign right here. And so she was my medical assistant for five years all along the whole journey with north Fulton primary care, and then moving into WellStar. My patients loved her. I love her. And I I think the world of her, and I know she does the same backup. And she was a great teammate and a great coworker.

[00:19:24] And so when I did give my notice with Walmart I had a year outside of WellStar at that point. And so there was nothing holding me back from approaching her and asking her to join my team and my dream, which was Stanford, family medicine, And so I I took her and her husband out to dinner with me and my wife.

[00:19:40] And I said, okay. I said, this is what I want to do. I want to start a direct primary care clinic. This is how it works. This is the model and how it's going to function. And I can offer you a crazy salary right away. I can't offer you any of the benefits. The hospitals give you. I can't give you a full one.

[00:19:59][00:20:00] I can't even give you a life insurance policy, but I will offer you all the success I have moving forward. If we do become successful. And she looked at me and she said, Tell me where I signed and I'd have a contract made. I didn't have an office location. I didn't have office furniture. I had a dream and I had a name behind a dream, and I knew I needed somebody that I could trust and build it with because I just felt more confident as a team versus an individual.

[00:20:34] And so we started day one and she's been with me ever since. And a lot of the patients who were older patients in mind love hearing her voice when she answers the phone. And I'm happy that we're a team again, working together and taking care of things. And we work well together, you know, good work is hard to find.

[00:20:54] And I think a lot of and a lot of people looking for MAs or, assistance of any sort can agree with [00:21:00] me. If you have someone who, who really commits to. What your personality is and what your patient care experience should be. Then that speaks for you and that speaks for your practice.

[00:21:11] And when they walk in and see her they love it, and I love them being able to see her, if I'm away from the office, let's say on vacation or out of town I can trust her to be at the office and still run smoothly. And for messages that need to get to me to get to me it's just having a good relationship and a good teammate that makes you even more successful and helps you grow faster.

[00:21:32] And I bet on myself, I knew that I was going to be in the hole initially, but I felt that with her on board, I could build a practice quicker. And I felt that it was two people answering the phone versus one. And I felt like we could have two voices to speak out to other businesses or other clients or the neighbors, or the list goes on.

[00:21:51] And two is always better than one sometimes when you're trying to expand. And so I'm glad that paid off. I'm in the black and she's being [00:22:00] paid off of patient collections that we're getting from memberships. And so it was, it was a bet that I I'd never regret. And I, I feel great as a business uh, entrepreneur that I did and we continue to grow and, and make, this team work together.

[00:22:16]And I, it's just, it's a great story when it comes together, but, and initially at the time, yeah she was willing and that speaks a lot. She was willing to drop everything from a stable job with the hospital system that had her covered in so many ways, two work with the physician that she believed in and she trusted that it was going to make it work.

[00:22:36] And so I didn't want to let her go. And I didn't want to let my family down yeah, it was a great story. And she's she's a voice that you'll always hear. And Deborah smile at you when you come into clinic.

[00:22:44] Yeah.

[00:22:45] Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:22:45] For those of you who haven't seen it Dr. Mehta standing in front of his standup family medicine sign.

[00:22:51] And I remember the day that he posted that on Facebook and the day that he said, look, this is me, this is my logo. He's even got a [00:23:00] a ventriloquist puppet. He's got it all going on. And I want to ask you those first days when you were opening, when you started off with zero patients, what was that experience like for you?

[00:23:12]Being in your space and. Coming up with what do you have to say to a patient who's actually interested in your practice? Did you have any deer in headlights sort of reaction or what did you have an oil down?

[00:23:24]Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:23:24] I was I was scared is just an easy way to say it. I was I was lost.

[00:23:31] I remember getting the phone lines set up and having the office number and starting to spread the word about it. And the first phone call came in and I had Andrea the medical assistant, I said, okay. Nope, just watch my lead. And can you just going to follow up? If you said, okay. And so she had her notebook out and she's like, okay, go.

[00:23:50] And so I picked up the phone and I said, Hey, this is Dr. Anan Dr. Mehta here. And I this is a direct primary care. This is this is a [00:24:00] clinic that we don't take insurance. We have membership, but 80. How old are you? Eight it's 89. Okay. It's I use do you have insurance? Are you, who do you see currently?

[00:24:10] And I didn't even let that person talk. My medical system was trying to keep it together. She didn't last very long. And the patient hung up and I would've hung up a long time ago too, but it was it was a disorganized mass. It was a disgrace, but it was it was not the elevator pitch I had in mind and I hung up the phone and I felt frustrated, embarrassed you name it.

[00:24:31] And she looked at me and she's like, I'll get the next one. I said, yeah. I said, that sounds pretty good. So she did a lot better than I did. And we just got better with each phone call that came in and I think we've pretty much mastered it now. And w once you do it, and once you practice it and the wheels get moving and, and, the office environment takes place and the office day goes on and you get the, you get that initial adrenaline rush out.

[00:24:57] You just become better at what you do and all that. [00:25:00] I've been wanting to do is be good physicians and be social and be there for our patients. And when you practice in that environment and you get better at doing it and it just become more natural at doing it, those things like the elevator pitch and how you talk about your practice, you just have more confidence behind your voice.

[00:25:16] You feel good about it. You have a product that sells and you believe in what you're selling and it's your niche. I always think that your niche is what makes you unique and special. And I tell people, our niche is that we love serving our patients and we love doing it well, and we take pride in it and we have a good time here.

[00:25:34]We will have good laughs. And if it's really good laugh, it goes up in the standup show. If it's not, don't worry, we'll still laugh about it. We still have a good time. Nothing's rushed and word of mouth gets out. And so the elevator pitch doesn't really need to take that much effect there.

[00:25:48] They're just they're happy to talk to the doctors. Sometimes when you pick up the phone, they're happy to hear a voice that they're familiar with when Andrea picks up the phone, sometimes if it was an existing patient, and if it's happy about what other [00:26:00] people told us or told them, I'm sorry about our practice.

[00:26:03] And they're just excited to be part of it. And so we used to have meet and greets, and we used to set up a half an hour to talk about a practice and give them a tour and explain how it works. We don't even need to do those anymore. A lot of the people who are coming to us are just friends of friends who heard about us and said, now I know everything I need to know. So-and-so Told me, and they love you. And they love Andrea and they love the experience that they got. My wife, Maria, she's also helping out in the practice. So they also bring her name up. And the good thing about growing is that you can grow and since it's a family business, you can bring your family.

[00:26:38] And I think there's more of a traditional experience that way, you know, when someone can come in and be familiar with a, with who they talk to and, and the personalities that incorporate your team they become more of a family and more community. And w we just feel better about what we do because of it.

[00:26:55]Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:26:55] With this idea that you're selling the brand and you're selling this amazing [00:27:00] way to practice healthcare, and yes, I am very biased when I say that, but it is the best way.

[00:27:04]I just think about when people talk about DPC, I feel like I'm talking to people about their child, like that their child achieved some amazing, achievement in their life.

[00:27:17] And they're so proud to talk about it. And it just, it's so different. I've never. I've never talked with a physician who is a fee for service position or a corporate physician who is giddy when they talk about, guess what I did today, guess what I can do, because I say I can do it and I don't have to have any administrator approve it.

[00:27:42] I don't have to go through a committee of people who don't even practice medicine. Tell me yes or no. It's just amazing. And that Kool-Aid, that DPC Kool-Aid is a legit thing. And it's so interesting that everybody has their own way of finding the movement, [00:28:00] but clearly, you know, you are, getting the word out because of what you guys do.

[00:28:07] Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:28:07] Yeah. Yeah. I have patients I have patient experiences that have surpassed what I've done in 10 years. In just a little amount of time. We've been open. I have patients who own the reptile store that will bring in a bearded dragon. And so I can see it. Just because I asked questions about it last visit.

[00:28:25]I have hogs that really mean hugs, where they'll cry on my shoulder, because the good experience that they had or not good experience that they had because they mean it. And they believe in you and they want to talk to you about it and they feel confident when you talk to them about it.

[00:28:40]I have laughs that go on for days. I have I have patients sending me standup clips of people that I've never heard of. I get, these are things. No fee for service world can replicate. They can't, these are two patient encounters and I know that other direct primary care doctors [00:29:00] who have done your show or haven't done, your show will agree with me.

[00:29:03] I think that these genuine relationships that you formed with your patients are just freaking awesome. They're just amazing. And you don't need to be a director to experience it. You don't need to climb to the top of the corporate ladder in order to find success. Your success is your brand heavy DPC clinic is individual for that brand and that personality that brings with it.

[00:29:27] And you, you said. Just by the person you are just by being a genuine person, because we are all genuine people. We all have our own personalities and we just could never express ourselves because we'd be too rushed or out of time, or thinking about the next three patients or having a chart into the middle of the night.

[00:29:48] And we'd just be living these miserable hamster wheel lives that we wouldn't enjoy the relationships and the friendships that we have with our patients as much as we do now. Yeah, I [00:30:00] have, it is unique direct primary care. You hear as many podcasts like you'd have, and you'll keep telling yourself, this is it.

[00:30:07] This is gotta be it. This is it. It is. I was listening just like all of you to summit SIM to panels. And it was just great being able to speak on one. I thought it was the coolest thing that I would be in this audience two years ago and looking at that panel and thinking how awesome these doctors sound and look and what their stories are and admiring just the background behind them.

[00:30:34] And it was just great being able to talk on one recently and express it on my terms, the way I would do it. And I I sometimes I pinch myself because I feel like it's not real. And it is, it feels great, and I've changed as a person. Not only on the physician side of things. I have been a better father to my kids.

[00:30:56] I. But a better husband to my wife. I [00:31:00] surprise my son at the bus stop because I can, I have a note that my son wrote to me and he said, I wish you didn't have to work all the time because I was dragging in a 12 to 14 hour shifts out at Walmart trying to make it successful. And not even seen him before it's bedtime.

[00:31:14] And I know we can all relate. I've been there. I think we all know the struggle is real. I think that we all hate the situation that we're put in, but we do it because we just feel like that's the only way it's not the only way I'm telling you my story along with stories that you broadcasted and stories that the summit has talked about.

[00:31:34]And Lewis goes on, there are physicians in DPC that I admire still, and what they're able to do vasectomies in the office. People who are in the row family med clinics. And even like they have eight hands at the same time being able to do what they do. I truly applaud and I truly acknowledge and respect all of your capabilities.

[00:31:53]But now I want to be like that. I want to admire, and I want him to grow as a physician personally and professionally so that I can [00:32:00] be better at what I do. Uh, And I don't think we would have those opportunities in our prior roles. I don't think we were given the time or even considering the time to do it because it just wasn't in the equation.

[00:32:11]Now it is, and if a patient says, can you do it? I said, sure, we can try it. And you don't have to be afraid, and they're not afraid of trying because they trust you. And they love you and they believe in you. And so all of those things, you mold it together and that's my DPC story at least.

[00:32:30] But that's what hundreds of other DPC docs can say in their own words and agree with.

[00:32:37]Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:32:37] I love that one. One of the things that I hope that people who are attending this summit, especially those who are family medicine, physicians. I hope that they glean that the family medicine physician is still as valued as the family medicine physician today is as valued as the family physician was valued back in the fifties, back before we [00:33:00] had HMO's.

[00:33:01] But in some ways the family physician who chooses to do DPC is valued even more because we build that relationship with patients. And, I feel that every day in in my last 11 clinics at my D at my fee for service job I think about if this patient were to come over to my practice, I literally could know them even more than I know that I've known them for the past five years.

[00:33:27] And that is amazing. And it makes me think about they, the idea of the F the scope of practice that we have you're talking about these procedures that doctors do. What I think about is at another dear friend of mine in the DPC space is Dr. Amber Beckon, Hower out in Blair and an Ashland Nebraska.

[00:33:45] And she said, if you need something, ask me first and then we'll figure out if I can do it. And most in most cases, the answer is yes. And she's a bad-ass doctor. She still does her own delivery. She does her own C-sections and she's got [00:34:00] four kids at the same time. And a husband who, is her cheerleader.

[00:34:04] But man, When you think about this is what I wanted to do in medical school. This is what I wanted to do in residency. And this is how I can do it in terms of being a full scope family physician, as much as that means to you, as well as being in this ridiculous community of, and when I say ridiculous, I mean that in the best way possible this ridiculous community of people who are, how are you doing?

[00:34:31] I got your back, I feel that in general, there is support where wherever you are in your DPC journey and for you, this journey has led you to, again, having over 220 patients since October of 2020 in the middle of opinion

[00:34:47] Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:34:47] yeah, not bad, right?

[00:34:49] Just like this, just like we planned. I know that fear was, and I think fear is the biggest the biggest factor that drives away from DPC. I know it was for me. [00:35:00] I think all of us are scared. I'm even scared at this point, even doing as well as I never imagined doing this close into opening, you always fear the fact that are you doing the job well enough that patients would support continuing to membership?

[00:35:15]Are you reaching out to to patients when they need you before they need you, are you doing the best job you can? And every time I would tell myself, I'm not, I just get more and more reminded by the patients who want to enroll that are new, that you are doing your job that patients are talking about you in the same grade.

[00:35:34]And you start building more confidence. I look at other DPC websites and I listen to other DP stories that you've broadcasted. And I said, wow, I don't do that. Or I don't do this. And I think some of us in this DPC never can agree to that, but what they don't necessarily do that you do is they don't bring the best version of yourself.

[00:35:55] You do, I'm a standup comic that does, primary care and I make people laugh and [00:36:00] we laugh together. And that ventriloquists that you see when you come in my, the puppet that you see when you come into the office is a replication of that. It is exactly what you said with our presentation, this summit, if you've seen one, the VC two seen one DPC, and the reason why it is we are all unique to who we are and what we bring to the table. And. That special sauce, which is being a primary care that likes to have fun. And I think we all agree with that. I think most of us DPC ducks have fun and we definitely have fun when we see each other.

[00:36:32]But I think that's what fear you should get grounded more by knowing that the patients that come to see you and your existing people service clinic come to see you, that's it. They want to see you. And if you can spend another half an hour or 45 minutes with them, how they would want to even see you hearken sit and see more than the first time they saw you, just because they would get to know you as a person and you get to know them as a person and that relationship and a friendship becomes stronger and. [00:37:00]

[00:37:00] you can do this. You have a community that has helped me at least with Josh and John Sanders and Brian Sanders. And the list just goes on. I mean, there's so many docs that I reached out with questions and concerns and doubts, and this community is so freaking awesome in that they really want you to succeed.

[00:37:22] They really want you to be a successful DPC. They really want you to continue to grow the VPC network, the community, the name and continue to build networks. And. I feel good. I, now I have people asking me for advice and I tucked this is awesome. Yeah, sure. I'll tell you what I do and I'll tell you how I grew up and I'll always do that because I want everybody to succeed and I want everybody to be another standup family medicine, but call it whatever the hell you want and make it grow based on what you feel is your call.

[00:37:51] Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:37:52] So when you mentioned that other people are even coming up to you now and asking you for advice and guidance, thinking in that [00:38:00] space of the most common questions you get and the, the biggest things that helped you in terms of your daily organization, your ways to be personable with your patients when you're not seeing them in the clinic, what are your best tips that you would suggest others consider when they think about your practice and to see if that would be a good fit for them or if they can think in the space of an iteration of what you're doing that can work for other people.

[00:38:27] Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:38:27] Yeah. Yeah. Initially I knew nothing. I started off with a DPC checklist that I downloaded from Atlas. And then also another provider, Beth who Z Lee, I'm sorry if I messed it up. Beth gave me a checklist of her own that she had put together and it was

[00:38:44] sort of

[00:38:44] my guidebook to what I needed to have, or at least arranged to have prior to opening.

[00:38:50]Things fell in my, my my lab. I read dump for Argos book. I, and sorta got a guide book to start in DPC. And I remember [00:39:00] reading it and looking into it's never too early to start looking for office equipment kind of stuff or something related to that. And so I put the book down and I went on to create a system and I typed in medical exam chairs and I was fortunate to find two medical exam chairs on sale.

[00:39:17] So like 500 or $600 and nice, rider ones that are brand new. And so I replied to the ad immediately and the guy calls me and says are you interested in the chairs? And he said, are you interested in anything else? And that's it actually, yeah I'm planning on starting a direct primary care clinic.

[00:39:34] And it's a family medicine clinic and getting yada and he said this is your lucky day. My wife is an internal medicine doctor for 10 years. And with COVID and everything, we've been forced to shut down because of her health, not being the best and not wanting to risk anything further with it.

[00:39:50] And so I was fortunate to be able to buy a whole medical clinic minus the suite itself for 6,000 $6,000. And that included everything from the [00:40:00] AED machine to the EKG to three exam chairs, to lab supplies, to. Computers too. name it? It literally was everything that fills in my office today.

[00:40:10]I had no clinic to put it in. I didn't even have a location set. I, at that point I didn't even have the damn name, so I, but I had, a dream and I had, I knew I needed this stuff. So I bought a storage unit. I took a U haul truck and put everything in the storage unit. Location-wise, I knew I wanted to buy a location because I didn't want to hassle with leases.

[00:40:31] I didn't feel good about the business leases. In the COVID error and the longterm repercussions of what could happen later. And I just think there's something better about owning something versus leasing it. And my mother was fortunate enough to find something online and usually she shows me these old decrepit homes with no roots.

[00:40:49] And so I wasn't really eager when she had something to show me, but she actually found a location that was 10 minutes from my house. It was a Sunday afternoon. I was playing with my kids outside. I, we applied to the ad to [00:41:00] the real estate agent, call me back right away. She said, there's two offers on the table, but if you want it come today and I'll show it to you.

[00:41:06]And uh, I can have her offer on the table. The next day. And so I was lucky to come in and be able to snag the best offer and get that property. So literally one day I came from no clinic to having an office location that was 10 minutes away, as far as building the practice. I believe it or not, Walmart health was a model that brought in a lot of patients that did not have insurance and did not have good healthcare options.

[00:41:32]I did see patients obviously while I started there and those patients have great experiences with me and they were already paying a cash price to see me there. They were more than happy to pay a little more for a monthly membership and have on limited use of me. And it, it really signed this sold itself.

[00:41:47] Walmart health was a business model that was similar to DPC. Yeah. Price transparent. Cost-effective and it, it was it was definitely reasonable as far as an expense goes for a [00:42:00] patient, especially one with medical needs. So the word of mouth and the sort of broadcasting of what our clinic was about was easy being in that Walnut health world and doing something that was like it, but just not as good and not as cultured as Stanhope family medicine was.

[00:42:15]Those patients found me that helped generate some of the patient volume that I had. I always believe. And I definitely agree that if you have a name in the community, you will grow faster because patients know you and your name doesn't develop overnight. You have to, you build your success from your name and the way you practice in, and that's a word of mouth gets along.

[00:42:36]Patients did start to find me when the word was back that I was in the neighborhood again things like next door was a great way of letting the local community in the neighborhoods know about it. Every patient that I knew that believed in me and knew who I was, and I knew what we already had a great relationship together.

[00:42:52] I asked them for a favor back and I said, tell five people that you know about my practice. It could be a landscape, or it could be your [00:43:00] housekeeper. It could be your best friend. It could be your babysitter, your daycare adviser. I don't care who it was. Tell five people

[00:43:07]about me.

[00:43:07] And, and the fact is, and about what your experience was here. And even if one of them connect then that one person is going to tell five of their friends because that's how they found out. And believe it or not use your patients to your benefit, they are your best advocate. They know you they've experienced, you, they've experienced what direct primary care is and what it's done for them in their lives, and they're your best advertisement.

[00:43:29]And so that, that believe it or not quickly got the word out. And I think we always ask patients how they found out about us and the most common answer is so-and-so told me, we, we do obviously Instagram and Facebook pages. Andrea is very good about putting posts out there all the time about things from a blueberry smoothie or a recipe to a snake that visit us in the office today to, when the next standup act you'll be to too unique, you know? and so we, we get the community engaged that way. And I think, more people [00:44:00] start to follow us, which is awesome. We have a local business Burke Andre was smart enough to put some flyers on everybody's door. Just to say, Hey, we're in this community now. And this is what we're about.

[00:44:10]I I joined the office per board early on when I started at, I was able to just know who the other people in the office burglar. And I think that also gets my name out there too. And I just did that based on thinking why not? This is a free resource I can use for my advantage business networking, international BNI groups.

[00:44:29]I didn't join a BNI group per se. I was very tempted to initially in the early stages. But I joined as a visitor to about five different networks that surrounded my office and I was able to give it 30 to 45 seconds feel about the fact that. And what we were about, and I had gained some interest from a couple employers based on that.

[00:44:48]And even if it was just for one or two sign ins, it was for free and I didn't break the bank doing it. We continued to think of other marketing resources. But I will definitely agree with the majority of DPC [00:45:00] docs before me, word of mouth is the key to becoming successful and I'm letting it grow as it happens.

[00:45:06] I, I do pay about $300 a month for web marketers develop. He's the one who basically fixes the website here and there. It does the search engine optimization for me, ad-words for Google, et cetera. And that's really, I don't know essentially how much it truly brings to the practice.

[00:45:25] But it's not breaking the bank and it's something that seems to be working and when it's broken, don't fix it. So I'm just let that ride until maybe something better or something more strategic comes along. But yeah, that's, in a nutshell, that's essentially how it started and what I needed to do to get more patients in the door and please understand being yourself is what sells, don't try too hard.

[00:45:49] Don't, don't do something that you would not do or you'll regret, just do what you feel is the right thing to do and do it because you love to do it. I've had situations where patients have tough [00:46:00] financial situations and I look at them in the eye and I said, look, this month's on me. Because it's the right thing to do.

[00:46:04]And you can be empathetic. You can be human, you can care. And it shows that. It might not come back from that patient, in my culture, I believe that karma and good things that you do will come back to you. And it has, I know patients that have just been so thankful for what we are able to provide them and have sent other patients our way because of it.

[00:46:24]My Andrea quick story, Andrea had wrote out to radio station about a patient that was in need. She was a single mom of two kids. She was able to win a $300 gift card for the patient and we will love just calling her up and saying, Hey, we got something for you and surprised her with it as well as a membership that month for free these kinds of things.

[00:46:45]They hit home. They make you drive home with a smile. They make you hug your kids a little harder. They make you choose with your colleagues, even harder to, you know, you just feel great about what you do. And it's not that necessary that we expect something in return.

[00:46:58] We don't, we just [00:47:00] love being ourselves and we love doing it the way we want to do it and not have any borders around how we do it. And that's why we continue to have great stories every day.

[00:47:09] Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:47:09] So inspiring. And on that note, Dr. Metta, for those who are listening what is the best way for others to reach out to you after this podcast?

[00:47:18]Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:47:18] My email, which is Dr. Metta, Emmy So doctor dot Mehta at standup DPC doc. And the website is stand up.

[00:47:31] Maryal Concepcion, MD: [00:47:31] Thank you so much, Dr. Mehta for joining us today.

[00:47:34]Dr. Anand Mehta: [00:47:34] Thank you, Mariella. It's awesome. As always you are the bomb and we love you.

[00:47:38] So keep you a story and keep giving us entertainment for months and years ahead.

*Transcript generated by AI so there may be errors.

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