Updated: Mar 6
Dr. Delicia Haynes is the CEO and Founder of Family First Health Center, an integrative membership-based family medicine clinic with a worldwide reach based in Daytona Beach, Florida. Through the Direct Primary Care model, she empowers her patients to look and feel their best from the inside out with a lifestyle medicine approach.
Her commitment to helping people understand that “true medicine comes in more than pill form” has enabled several of her patients to shed excess weight, safely stop medications including insulin, become clinically non-diabetic, and live an energetic life they love.
She enjoys serving a diverse patient base, including Olympic athletes, CEOs, best-selling authors, weekend warriors, top employees, teens and domestic engineers. She compassionately helps them improve their physical and mental health so they can show up fully in their personal and professional lives.
She is a diplomat of the American Board of Family Medicine, the American Board of Obesity Medicine, is highly trained in medical aesthetics, laser therapy, and lifestyle medicine. She completed her specialty training at the Halifax Center for Family and Sports Medicine Residency Program.
Dr. Haynes is also an award-winning coach and business mentor. She created DPC Rx For Success, which helps doctors transition to direct care practices so they can express the “art and heart” of medicine while increasing their inspiration, income and impact.
DPC Startup Basics featuring Dr. Delicia Haynes
Resources Mentioned by Dr. Haynes:
by Dr. Delicia Haynes
Welcome to the podcast. Dr. Haynes. Thank you so glad to be here. It's such an honor, and I just want to put this out there for the listeners, because it's such a special day that we're recording this on, and this is Dr. Haynes, his mom's birthday. And so I just wanted to just say thank you to her for recording on such a special day, and we'll get into how DPC allowed her to be putting family first as we go into the interview.
So thank you so much for joining us. My pleasure. You had started. Your practice. That was a fee for service practice in 2009. And then just three years later, in 2012, you are already listed in the Daytona beach, influential women's list, business article, where you were quoted as saying, if a hurdle is in your way, jump over it.
And if you happen to fall, get back up. So. Having heard you in person, which I hope, and I can't wait for other people to hear you at this upcoming summit, as well as future conferences, from what you've shared. This has been true in so many ways in your life. And I wanted to ask, if you can share for the listeners who may have not had the opportunity to hear you yet, what does that quote mean
I think it's really all about your get back up muscle. All of us at some point are going to fall and. You start to trust your ability to fly when you know that, Hey, if I fall, I can get back up. So that quote, it takes me back to some of my kind of darkest times. I am very open about back in high school.
I was suicidal, went to medical school and became one of those wounded healers who found a career that would help them to take care of themselves. And suffered a, another episode of major depression to the point that I had to take time off to for medical school, which was one of the most challenging decisions of my career.
And also. The absolute best decision that I ever made and came back out from that, even though everyone thought that no, I was done, I wasn't gonna be able to return. And not only did I return came and got all these awards at graduation. And then I started residency, which is actually where I did a grand rounds on depression and suicide amongst physicians.
Got a little bit mad that I didn't know that we were the professional with the highest suicide rate before I started. I thought that was something we should have maybe talked about, but it wasn't until later that I actually felt that I was drawn to actually share my story. When I became faculty at Florida state university college of medicine and they lost a medical student to suicide.
And I just recognize that my silence wasn't saving anybody. And I didn't want to become known as the depressed doctor while I was trying to make a name for myself and build my practice. But when that happened, I also lost one of my best friends to suicide. It really just made me. It was the time where my love became greater than my fear.
And I, even though I'm not the biggest extrovert kind of started getting out of my own way, started to do some talks, wrote the book and we'll get into how DPC is. None of that would have happened if I hadn't transitioned to DPC. So it's really all intertwined.
When you talk about how you were suicidal in high school, and then you add the expectations, the demands, the sleepless nights, the patriarchal society that we get in residency and medical school, what an environment to throw yourself into and to have surpassed that it's so great that you are here where you are today to be able to shine some light on mental health and the importance of mental health, especially for people who are going through that journey as well.
It's a calling. So it's definitely something I enjoy.
I remember the first step that we all went through. At least half of my class was on some kind of antidepressant because the stress of, if I don't pass the step, what's going to happen to me. Like I'm worthless.
Why did I make this whole journey to go to. Might not be able to pass it. It's just, one huge expectation that we have to hurdle as your quote says, and to, to support each other, as we're on this journey is so important. And so if you haven't had the chance to read Dr. book the Dawn, please go ahead and check out her blog accompanying her. Interview, so that you can read more about that journey that she is talking about now. And one of the things that you have created as a bracelet of empowerment, and can you tell us about what that bracelet.
Yeah. So the wristband is says, white coat say space on one side, white coat, brave space on the other, and then Yana, which stands for you are not alone. And I think so many times we as physicians, we don't know what to say when we see somebody else who's struggling. And so it came out of an idea of being able to just take this off, put it on someone's desk.
That's. A hard day with maybe a sticky note with your number on it. And just letting another doctor know that you care, that you're thinking about our medical student, it came out of the book, just really trying to find ways to make people like be visual supporters. Like I am a Stan, I am a white coat, safe space.
You can come and talk to me. And so we now it's the wristband and the lapel pin and there's shirts and things of that nature. And we do an amazing book sponsorship program. And that's one of my main goals is to make sure that every medical student understands their risk for depression before they enter the, before they enter.
And so the book is being given away at white coat ceremonies across the nation, and first with, at Florida state where I'm faculty and where unfortunately, that the young man who died by suicide was a second year student and his father wrote one of the forwards for them. And so it's been, it's just been a, a beautiful thing to really start people's medical career.
With an acknowledgement of the risk factors. And also most of the book is about what you can do to maintain and improve your own mental health and mental.
With you sharing about your journey, I want to touch on the fact that your dad was an Olympian. this recent Olympics, to be example of Simone Biles, it shows us that in everyday culture, talking about depression is not always something that is.
Welcomed. And so it's a good thing to think about as a DPC physician that you have the time. I'm sure now to talk to your patients over weeks and months and years, rather than the quick 15 minute visit that you might've had in fee for service. Oh,
absolutely. And I think. Both the time that you have for your patients, because nobody comes in or very few people will come in knowing that they're depressed.
They come in and they've got the fatigue and they're not sleeping and all those things. And if it's a seven minute appointment, which unfortunately is still like the national app, You just don't really get to dial in. What's really going on underneath that. And so the beauty of DPC is that you really get to have that relationship based medicine.
And I, when I'm with my patients the same way that I'll give them a blood glucose log or I'll give them a, something to check their blood pressure out, hand out at Beck's depression inventory. And I just keep saying, if you're not measuring it, you can't manage it. And we have time to measure it. And then on the physician side, because I became.
That's when I actually had time to write the book, the book, the knowledge was in for years, I had done the grand rounds and how many of us as physicians have done so many grand rounds. And we have so many passion projects that we just don't have time to even give life to. And when I transitioned to direct primary care, I love practicing medicine.
And the way that I actually went to medical school. But it also opened up that extra time to work with other physicians who wanted to do their own DPCs and then also really follow my passion about mental health, particularly amongst physicians and health professionals.
As you talk about this journey.
In DPC and how you've had time to do passion projects and spend time championing mental health for physicians and your community. I want to go back because before you even opened your DPC, you had your own fee for service clinic. So I want to ask when you graduated residency, what was going on in your mind and in your heart that led you to open a fee for service clinic on your own biases.
With the same passion that later led me to DPC. I didn't know about DPC in 2009. When I graduated from residency, I, all of my mentors were fee for service docs or they were employees. And so I, I started my own practice. I had a very strong passion for her ideal of how I wanted to practice medicine based off of some really negative experiences that I'd had as a patient.
And just really wanting to create. One to be the doctor that I wish I had, and then also create the environment that I would have liked to get curious. So, because of that, I knew I couldn't just go into someone's joined someone else and say, can we change everything? And I'm also a interior designer. So like, down to the paint on the walls, I had a vision.
So I, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. And by the time I figured it out, it was too late. But I'm really glad that I did. I know that the clinic I built from literally a standard floor did the entire build-out designed every wall designed. There are certain things I designed really well. And then there was other things like storage that I completely missed the boat on, but it's just really nice to be able to design it from what I hoped it would be.
And then as. Practice grew. And I realized that I started my own clinic so that I could practice medicine in line with my values, but because I was taking insurance more and more of the decisions that should have been between me, my patient had to go through the insurance company and I, my ability to negotiate, my ability to do a lot of things were really hindered.
The paperwork was ridiculous. And I had to hire more staff to do more of the paperwork side and the clinical. And I just
want to ask, because for people who, whether they're contemplating DPC or a fee for service practice, if they're thinking of jumping right out of residency financially, how did you handle that situation?
Yeah, absolutely. So I did urgent care and I wouldn't recommend, so what I did, I worked at my practice four days a week in urgent care, three days a week, which obviously doesn't last leave time for anything else, but I was coming right straight from residency.
So I was just glad that I got to sleep in my own bed every night. So my, my standards were pretty low as far as lifestyle back then. Not so much now, but I worked urgent care. I worked with hospice. Just different ways to bring in income until my practice was able to be self-sustaining. So definitely when I asked some of my friends who have started their own practice, they all had spouses who were contributing and I've totally, didn't bring that into the equation that was asking them.
And I was like, how did you pay your mortgage? And they're like, oh, that's, I didn't think about that. But it's doable. Whether you are in a relationship or you're doing it like myself doing it single, it's definitely doable. And if you know that it's what you're meant to do. It's really more just finding out how you can make it happen.
And definitely now I want to touch on this idea of martyrdom, because you've mentioned this in a previous interview. You talk about when your practice, when you're fee for service practice was self-sustaining that you didn't have time for vacation, that you didn't have time to take care of yourself. So I wanted to see if you can share with the listeners, what was that life like?
And what point did you reach where you were like, This is not a sustainable model
for me by day I was the doctor. And then by night I needed to be the business owner and make sure that all chasing claims and that sort of thing. I went through several different billing companies and billing individuals, and I knew it wasn't going to get better.
Like I got. With increasing my own efficiency and that sort of thing, but the environment wasn't getting better, what happened in 2014? So I went to the national rep for mercury summit in summer 2014. And you can never unlearn anything. So that was, I had no intention of transitions. I just knew I wanted to see some other options because I knew that what I was doing was not sustainable.
I didn't have any time for myself was definitely family. First was just the name of the clinic. It wasn't how I was actually living. And that fall of 2014, my biller was poached by the house. They were taking over a lot of clinics. That's happening all over the country. They were buying up clinics and they needed billers.
So they poached my biller. And the week before that, I got a envelope in the mail from the area's largest insurance company with a 40% cut to what the reimbursement rate was going to be. And it was really those two things happened. In a fairly short period of time. And I was sitting at my clinic, it was like 10 o'clock at night.
I was so hungry. All I had was ramen and I had not had ramen since like undergrad. And I was like, how am I back here? This is not what we did all this work for. And that's when I ended a time. I was, I was battling depression at the time too. But even through that, I knew that what I was doing, wasn't going to work.
And that's when I started my transition and
having been an entrepreneurial. Alrighty. And having, even though it was not sustainable for you having a sustainable practice financially, when you went to that conference and heard what you can't unhear and learn what you can't unlearn, what was that transition
And this is when I talk about this a lot, when I'm on this stage. That if you're suffering from depression, switching to DPC is. An antidote to that. Now, if it's burnout, where it's mostly work-related then obviously those switching, how you're working can really treat that.
I recommend that if you are battling depression, that you actually get that treated. That is not what I did. I transitioned, even though I was depressed and I felt like I had to because of just kind of income pressures and. So I didn't have the fervor that most DPC doctors have when they're super excited, they're ready to go.