Dr. Jenna Silakoski, DO (who ETSd as a Major from the US Army in 2019) attended both undergraduate and medical school in Ohio where she went to Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Graduating in 2012 she dedicated herself to serving our nation as she immediately took an oath as an officer in the United States Army. Serving as a Soldier and a physician, she completed her residency at the Carl R Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, TX and became a Board Certified Family Physician in 2015. Since then she has attained the rank of Major and served in many roles including Medical Director of an outpatient clinic and Officer in Charge for the Family Medicine Residency Clinic at Fort Hood as well as providing care for Soldiers and their families across the spectrum “from cradle to grave.”
As early as medical school, Dr. Silakoski saw firsthand many of the challenges that existed with traditional healthcare both in the civilian world as well as the military. Difficulties with access to care and the lack of time able to be spent with patients left her searching for a better way. As Direct Primary Care surfaced as an answer to physician and patient’s alike calling for a way to bring quality-driven relationship-based care back into medicine without the complications of insurance, Dr. Silakoski seized the opportunity to bring care directly to her patients which she does at her DPC North Idaho DPC.
Dr. Silakoski raises her two young children, AJ and Everly, with her husband Ryan who works for a company that supports our military. She enjoys painting, exploring the world with her family and continues to pursue her dreams in the community of North Idaho.
In today's episode, Dr. Silakoski shares her experience practicing medicine in both the civilian and military worlds and how she makes her dream of providing relationship-based care and having time with her patients at her DPC North Idaho DPC. Hear her share her story as to how she ended up in Idaho and how she has grown her practice to the point she is adding on another physician in the fall!
Dr. Silakoski's FB post with her clinic data (reproduced with her permission)
"For anyone interested, I just ran a report of my interactions over the last 15mos. I averaged them over "21 working days in a month" and counted one week out of the office."
(It's total # / average per working day)
Total chart Interactions: 12956 / 41
Prescriptions: 2585 / 8.2
Appointments/video calls: 2767 / 8.8
Tasks : 4254 / 13.5
Attachments: 12853 / 40.8
Lab Results: 696 / 2.2
Calls (on my cell) : 1712 / 5.4
SMS Messages Emails: 16359 / 51.9
Emails: 3354 / 10.6
Dr. Silakoski's Introduction Video
Resources Recommended by Dr. Silakoski
- Atlas MD EMR
- Doxy.me video communication platform
Website: North Idaho DPC
Phone: (740) 339-9087 (call or text)
Message: FB Messenger
Welcome to the podcast, Dr. Silakoski.
Thanks. I'm so glad to be here.
It is so cool to talk with you because and I was saying this before the interview, but my dad also was at Fort hood. So thank you for your service to the country and thank you so much for being on the pod today.
Thank you. Thanks for your family service. And thanks for having.
So you grew up in Ohio and then you made your way to Fort hood, Texas, where you served as a soldier and a physician, and then you ended up in Idaho. So I wanted to go back to first that transition from Ohio to Fort hood. And I wanted to ask what led to your decision to serve and especially to serve as a physician in the U S army.
It's an interesting story. I will date myself when I say this. I was in high school when nine 11 happened and I felt I needed to serve. It was just something that I wanted to do. And, And I thought about going in right after high school and then decided I should get a degree first and go in as an officer.
So I started college and then forgot about it. As I decided I wanted to go to medical school. Then when I learned that there was a scholarship offered for med school through the military, I just applied for that and got it.
So when you got into the army and were an officer and a physician, what was life like at Fort hood for you?
It was a little different than I expected. I expected it to be more army and more military and less corporate medicine, which is what it ended up being the military at that time modeled their system after Kaiser Permanente and it was RVU tracks and.
Encounters per year generated or seen. And it was just see more patients in less time with less resources, always meeting the metrics. And I, I hated it. I decided I didn't want to be a doctor anymore very quickly.
It's so sad because just knowing the journey that is in front of you when you were a pre-med dreaming about medical school and it's, you know, the big, shiny pearly gates that, that you aspire to achieve.
And then to hear you get to the point that you are a physician and just saying, if this is. What I envisioned medicine to be that's really sad. And so I want to ask you on that point, when you talk about this corporate medicine model, that when you say Kaiser Permanente, I know exactly what that means living in California.
But when you described that, what was your day to day clinic experience like? And what were your duties like on an everyday basis?
It was, it varied vastly every couple of years, the military changes your location or your job. I was fortunate enough to be at Fort hood for the majority of that time.
And after residency, my four years of continued active duty included being a medical director for a community-based medical home that served about 8,000 enrollees who were retirees or family members living. And I had a couple of physicians that would come and go and a bunch of mid-levels that I was in, in charge of.
And it was a lot of chart review and administrative type work, but not enough time to do it. We saw 20 patients a day, which is on the low end, actually. You know, if If I think if I were other places, it would be more, but I still had to take time off to do PT tests and take time off to do, go to the range and take time off to go to TD wise temporary duty stations to do trainings, I had to go multiple times for between two days and two weeks to DC or San Antonio, or just multiple different places to get extra credentials and more things like that.
I had to help with getting our medical home PCMH certified. And that was not easy. But on a day-to-day basis, it was seeing 20 patients and then reviewing charts and just a lot of administrative stuff. I eventually became the medical director for the residency clinic. And that was even worse because the expectations and requirements were so unrealistic that it just drove me down.
It was. It's just
crazy just to hear the similarities between the fee for service job, that is not in the military and to hear your experience
for me, it's unexpected. So yeah I
didn't expect it to be like that. I guess I wouldn't have known until I got there and did it, I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I got the experience. I don't think that I would have the guts to do something like this if I hadn't gone through that, probably.
It gives you a lot of self confidence, I'm sure. In the ability to do or take on anything, if you can handle all of that on your plate. in terms of direct primary care between when you were at Fort hood and going to north Idaho DPC, how did you come to learn about
Oh my gosh. Interesting story. So I decided I hated medicine and I was going to quit and my husband said, Jenna, you can't quit. We have too many student loans. So I said, what else can I do? I can work for the insurance companies, which are what got us into this mess in the first place. So that's out. I could try pharmaceutical.
Don't really want to do that. I didn't want something big. I know that because I. When things get too big, you lose the value. And so I said, what else could I do? I could do a different residency. I could do academics. I've already done that. I don't like it anymore. I used to love it. Then I learned about DPC.
I heard someone talking about it on an elevator. So I went and started looking about it. Yeah. I found the DTC group on Facebook, which I think everybody knows about at this point. And I just started reading and reviewing and saying, okay when I get out of the army, when my commitments done, this is what I'm going to do.
If I stay in medicine, this is what I'll do. So I started building a business plan and I was going to just start my own practice when I got out slowly and work, urgent care on the side. But then in 2018, as luck would have it, I had this amazing opportunity and I bought a medical practice.
So tell us more because finding a medical practice on Facebook that definitely, if people weren't really tuning in at that point, I just want to emphasize, you just said you bought a medical practice on Facebook, so please tell us
I love it. Okay. So it really wasn't quite like that. I mean, It was, I met this gentleman Dr.
Richard Samuels, his name, amazing family physician. I now have come to know who was. Interested in selling his practice because he was going to be retiring in the near future and was looking for someone to come in and take it over like this. So my husband and I, right after interviewing at two rural jobs that were offering $250,000 a year, we drive, we flew here and we met him and his family and we saw the practice, met the employees, saw the area, fell in love and said, this is it.
I had never even heard of quarterly in Idaho before. And we don't have any family here. We had two very young kids, two dogs, two cats, all of us picked up and moved to north Idaho. I mean, We had a business valuation, hired attorneys, got a CPA, things like that. So we did it, I think we did it right. And I'll say six months into that.
Transitioning period. He had to retire earlier than expected due to some health concerns. It ended up being me alone with all of these patients. I was terrified, the attrition rate I was already worried about because you can't buy contracts. I couldn't buy patients. So I was paying for the name of the building of the practice and I was paying for the minimal amount of equipment that we would have as a DPC practice anyway.
And so I was terrified and worried and it turns out my attrition was, I think about 3%. It was so low. Patients number one, didn't want to go back into the system at all. And number two, they knew the staff and the employees and that all stayed the same. So I think that they felt really comfortable.