Direct Primary Care Doctor
Dr. Ga Geong (Jenny) Lee was born in South Korea and grew up there until age 6 when she moved to Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto in Canada with honors. She completed my medical training in Beaumont Michigan as a Family Medicine Doctor and then went on to complete a Fellowship in Women’s Health at Case Western University in Ohio.
She moved to Las Vegas after graduation with her family in 2016. During Fellowship, her family had grown to three. She had her daughter Annabelle in Ohio during her training. After moving to Las Vegas, she started working for a local medical group. One year later, she had her second child Lucas. She was employed for three years, and then, three years ago, she opened her own private practice in Las Vegas.
Her practice is called Sunny Health DPC. She is one of the founding members of Free Market Medical Association (FMMA) where she along with others is passionate about building a foundation for price transparency in medical care.
Outside of her work, she has many interests including gardening, cooking and traveling. She enjoys good company, and she likes to share what she knows. She enjoys meeting people; genuinely takes an interest in anyone she sees and talks to. She spends most of her free time attending conferences for learning additional medical skills, and spending time with her young family.
Dr. Lee shares today about how she went from an employed position in Las Vegas, her first job out of residency and fellowship, to opening her own DPC, Sunny Health DPC and how she didn't know she didn't appreciate fully what autonomy meant to her until it was threatened to be taken away. In today's episode she also shares about how entrepreneurship was not her strong suit starting out, the namesake of her clinic and why her patients value her culturally sensitive care.
Hear Dr. Lee on the 'La Vida Las Vegas" Podcast
IG: @sunnyhealthdpc, @sunnybeautyandwellness
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Welcome to the podcast Dr. Lee. Hi, how are you? I'm doing so well. It's so exciting to talk with you. You're only a state away from me in Las Vegas. So hopefully someday we can see each other soon. Yes, absolutely.
I wanted to start with your journey into medicine. What made you choose to become a physician?
Well initially, um, I want it to be a dentist because, um, my dad was in the dental field and he looked up to dentists. So, um, that's how my journey in medicine began, but I didn't really do well on the entrance exam.
So, um, from that I kinda change gear and took some time off and decided to go into medicine.
I did a post-bac program with dental students and medical students, and I could not do their upside down 3d tests, so to save my life. So I completely understand that. And in terms of when you found medicine as a, you know, a better alternative that fit with you more, what was it that fueled your passion to go full board into medicine and get into medical school?
I think that I always liked the idea of being able to help someone and being, um, advocate for people who cannot really, help themselves and just the science itself interested me. And the path of medicine allows you to continue to learn. Not that you can't learn in other fields, but in medicine you always have to be a student.
And I really liked that part.
And knowing that about you, in terms of before you opened Sonny health DPC, what was your life like professionally?
I was three years out of my fellowship. I did a woman's house after my family medicine residency, and I was an employed physician in a big, outpatient clinic.
I was my first job out of my fellowship. So I was in Las Vegas. This is the first place that I moved
to. And in terms of your day to day in this fee for service job, what were your expectations and what was your autonomy like at the time?
You know, um, I didn't know I didn't have autonomy until he was taken away from me later, but, um, I had a very busy schedule. I think initially I was seeing about 18 patients in a given 10 hour shift, but it really grew in, um, in the last year that I was there. I was averaging about 23, 25 patients per day.
Wow. And what were some of the biggest struggles that you found when you were having a schedule like that?
You know? Um, I, I didn't know there was a problem. Like I just thought I was doing a good job and I, of course I was very busy. I was, it was normal for me to miss that. Uh, you know, kind of rushing in Russia out, very busy picking up my children's after work.
but you know, I didn't know much better. Like it was my first job and I thought this is how all the doctors work and everybody around. Work that way. So I didn't really know there was a problem.
I'm sure listeners are thinking to themselves, that sounds really familiar.
And you know, even hearing your words from my own experience, I know exactly what that feels like. It's like you go from residency clinic where maybe you're starting to do 900, 203 is 900, 200 fours, and then you go into a clinic and you know, like, we've talked about those golden handcuffs, you start easing up your schedule.
And then all of a sudden you have the schedule where you are not in control. And so I want to ask there, when you talk about, you didn't know that you didn't have autonomy what was that point where you were like, wow, this is not gonna work for me to continue in fee for service.
Yeah. You know, um, so that's how that's, that's how my schedule was. I was, I was busy seeing about 25 patients per day, but, um, all of a sudden they were asking me to change my schedule, see more patients and all of a sudden changed location. And I didn't really have much control over what they were telling me to do well.
And was that because of your, the way your contract was written?
I think that, you know, with the new management, because our company went through several transitions and, uh, with the new management, they looked at each provider's schedule a little bit differently. And when I was having some admin times built in before work and after work, you know, before they didn't have a problem, but new management had a problem and they, they said that I just needed to see more people.
What was the final straw that you experienced in fee for service that made you transition? You know,
that's very interesting because if I didn't actually go to, I think that GPC summit in year 2018, I, I may have been continuously working at fee for service office, but you know, my husband and I, we were starting to get a little bit burnt out.