Updated: Jul 30, 2022
Direct Primary Care Doctor
Dr. Ashlee Hendry is a board certified family medicine physician and boy mom of three. She grew up in a small rural town of Stringer Mississippi. She then attended undergraduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg MS where she obtained her BS degree in Biology with a minor in general chemistry. She then earned her DO at William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine. After medical school, she and her family moved to Memphis TN where she completed the unopposed UT St. Francis Family Medicine Residency program In 2018.
She continued to practice Fee for service medicine in Tennessee for two years. During the pandemic she and her family welcomed a third son and soon after moved back home to Mississippi, ultimately settling the city of Petal. She then practiced in the local community for 12 months before opening the area’s first Direct Primary Care clinic in March of this year.
She loves the work life balance that DPC has given her. She enjoys spending time with her children and husband Wes. Her hobbies outside of medicine and motherhood include art, fitness, and cake decorating.
The Buildout of Mid-South DPC
The Patient Art Wall
- DPC Docs FB Group
- The company who made Dr. Hendry's sign: 1801 & Co. Etsy Shop
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Welcome to the podcast Dr. Henry. Thanks for having me. Maryelle I'm so excited. Uh, I feel like a total DPC newbie, and
This is such an honor to be asked to be on the podcast.
It's definitely an honor, from this end of the recording, because, you have over 200 patients and you only opened in March of this year I just I'm so impressed. By your tenacity please tell us a little bit more about Dr. Henry herself. Where did you get started with medicine and how did you end up on this amazing journey to open and take care of over 200 people?
Of course, thank you so much. So yeah, I guess to really understand what brought me to the DPC community, you have to understand what, what drove me to be a physician to start with.
I grew up in a very small rural town in Mississippi with my family. Um, And I live very close to my grandparents growing up. They both ended up passing. From cancer related illness when I was 11 and 17 years old. So this was probably one of the most key driving factors in me wanting to be a physician was my experiences with their healthcare.
As a child, I did endure some traumatic childhood events which ultimately shaped me as an adult. And. Ended up making me a better physician overall. As a teenager, I was a very lost soul. During this time I wasn't even really sure if I wanted to go to college, but my friends all seemed interested.
So I ultimately decided to go, thankfully, there were some teachers that advocated for me in the system and they, told me, look, you've gotta get a scholarship. You can take the a C T and if you make a 30, you can have a full ride. So that was like, kind of my goal. You know, I've gotta get this 30.
I ended up taking the a C T six times. Saving my money every time and studying. And then once I got that 30, I knew I was in and I could actually go to college and not have everything paid for. So starting out in college, I didn't really take anything seriously the first year, but thankfully my grades didn't suffer too much.
By my second year I decided I'm gonna go to medical school. I'm gonna, make straight A's have a great GPA. Everything was going great. And then I reached, the beginning of my fourth year, I had planned on starting at that point to interview for medical schools, but the universe had some different plans.
Um, I found out I was pregnant with my son, Evan that summer and his dad, and I really didn't stay together for much long after that. So, um, I was pregnant, single and a pre-med mom. This was definitely problematic in um, many ways. Not only was it like a very difficult time for me, physically and mentally.
But I also ran into some hesitancy and resistance from faculty members when it came to writing my letters of recommendations for my applications. So I was really discouraged and I decided to kind of delay applying at that point and going ahead and just kind of getting my degree and then seeing what happened.
you know, Being a mom was really like the best thing that ever happened to me. It truly made me, redirect my focus and wanna do better for my kids and what I had. So it was the number one motivator. you know, The first few months as a single mom, we struggled financially.
Um, I also struggled with anxiety and depression and I'm just, I'm really grateful for my friends and my family during this time, because they. Not only supported me, mentally, but, financially and cuz we, I did not have a job and I didn't really have anywhere to live. um, We were on food stamps, we were on government support and so it was a difficult time.
you know, I did interview for medical school that fall and I realized pretty quickly I needed to find a job. So I was thinking, okay, well, I'll do something with my biology degree. I'll go, work at a hospital and get some experience, which I found out very quickly is not really how things work.
I could not find a job anywhere. They wanted, prior experience, which I didn't have. I couldn't teach school because I didn't have a teaching degree. So I ended up kind of falling back on what I had known since being a teenager, and that was a waiting table. So, I actually started working at the first Hooters here in Hattiesburg, Mississippi as a bartender uh, when Evan was about five months old you know, as a single mom, I was able to make enough money to buy our first house.
It was about, $70,000. So I was able to show enough, pay statements to, to get a, a loan from the bank to do that. I was also able, to afford daycare and then I found out I was accepted in a medical school um, somewhere around the spring of that year, while I was bartending. So that was just so exciting.
Uh, I never thought it would actually happen, but it did and I was accepted in medical school in the same city, so I didn't have to move and, Evan could stay there as well. I've got him in a great daycare So I could see him during class. And then I, began the first year of medical school that next fall.
you know, I think about how when I used to be on the selection committee for new candidates to Creighton medical school, what we really paid attention to, was the life experiences that people brought to the table, because they really think that when people have whatever experiences they have before medical school, that's what really. It frames your way of taking care of people, your way of appreciating people based on where they are when they show up on your doorstep or when they're, in the exam room where that you're walking into.
So thank you so much for sharing that, history and, It's incredible because you also are coming from a place of really being able to appreciate now advocacy on such a different level, because, you know, you talked about like those teachers who were hesitant to write you letters of recommendation, just because you were a woman who was pregnant at the time.
Just ridiculous. And yeah. As a mom, especially when you're taking care of families, you bring such a different perspective to the table did you decide that you wanted to do primary care at that time?
Yeah. So I always knew that I wanted to do something with primary care. I didn't really know for sure what I wanted to do going in, into medical school. But yeah, you know, having Evan, I think, and being a single mom without a lot of help.
Definitely changed my outlook on what potential residencies I was going to apply to I wanted to look for ones who had childcare, because at the end of the day, it is such a factor in moms and dads and anyone in the workforce, you know, doing the jobs they wanna do. It's like, well, where can my child be watched at.
So I think that a lot of that decided where I applied. I ultimately ended up not matching in Mississippi. So I had to go through the scramble, which was just an experience all on its own, very stressful and ended up matching at that point into Memphis, which was close enough to where I was still, somewhat close to my family and friends.
And could, my son, he could still see his dad. We could drive and meet halfway. So it wasn't. Impossible, but it did make things a lot more difficult.
In case there are medical students, Who are about to experience the scramble themselves, whether they expect to or not. What words of encouragement would you have for those people? To get through the scramble and to continue on with their career calling to
Yes. I think the whole process with the match in general, just honestly isn't the best. And I think there needs to be a lot of reform in that, but it can be devastating. And I remember just the overwhelming anxiety and just feeling like I wasn't worthy and I'll never really be a doctor. And, at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason mm-hmm and you're going to be placed in life where you're meant to be.
So try not to worry about it too much and just, try to enjoy the ride. It's very stressful, but everything will happen out, work out the way that it's supposed to. Eventually. I love
that. And on that note things happening for a reason, you are now a DPC physician. And so I wanna ask when along your training, did you find out about DPC and when did you decide that?
Wow, this is the type of medicine I
wanna practice. Yeah, so very early on um, I remember, being an intern in residency and um, just being kind of. Overall jaded with the system pretty early on when we started being introduced to billing and coding, and, you know, we were told intern year, you need to see, you know, up to eight a day and next that, you know, eight and a half day and 16 and a full day, the next year, ramping up to 20 the next year, 24.
And for me that never made sense because I did not want to see that many patients per day. And I didn't want to pick all these codes and know which insurance covers this. So, I was very close with the girls in my residency class. I mean, we were basically like family and sisters and um, one of them, Elizabeth Malto. Who's also a close friend still. She is the first person who ever brought up DPC to me and she kind of explained it like, well, it's like private practice, but you don't take insurance. And you're like a lot happier so , that's awesome. That was kind of my first introduction to it and she's just one of those people who's just pure and she's a good person.
So I know that if she has researched something and she thinks that it's a good idea. It. And so that's kind of how I started hearing about TBC and looking into it. I joined all of the physician groups at that point, the DPC doc groups, and just started kind of, looking back and watching posts and seeing other people open their clinics and DPC dreaming and thinking, oh, that's gonna be me one day.
Awesome. And there's lots of people doing that same thing right now. And so hearing your story is absolutely adding to the experience that that they're learning from as well. now I wanna ask What was life like in fee for service prior to opening Mid-South DPC
yes. So, fee for service in the beginning was tolerable. I would say you go from being a broke resident to working, 70, 80 hour work weeks making less than minimum wage.
And you're finally making enough money to. To buy your kids cool things and go on trips. And so the financial aspect of it can kind of outweigh the downside for a period of time, but eventually um, you realize that you're still not happy. And that was true for me. For me, it wasn't really a.
It was never the patients, the patients were always great. I loved them so much. I've always been really close with my patients. For me it was the, not having any say so in my day , mm-hmm , um, not having any say so in which patient got which appointment time, because as some patients require more time and some patients.
Don't require as much time. And I couldn't even make those basic decisions. And I think it's the same at, at all employed physicians in one way or the other. Of course there are some that are worse than others, but you run into the same problems everywhere. Just lack of autonomy. And just the overall no price, transparency, you know, it just never made sense to me.
Like why can I not order a lab, tell the patient on the front end, Hey, this lab costs this much. Yeah. Because even in training, we're told, don't order this because insurance won't cover this. If you haven't done this in the workup first. So. All of these little things to me and fee for service, just kind of added up to where I was just really unhappy and just, it, it affected my family life.
I, I wasn't the best mom I could be. Even though I would come home and, have my charting done, I was pretty efficient. I would still be thinking about patients that I saw that day. Like, did I really do enough? Could I have went a, a step further and listened a little bit longer to really get to the issue and not just, order a test or refer because I ran out of time basically.
. And so those kind of things, just really way heavy on your heart and you feel like you're just not doing the best job that you're trained to do. And so over time it really got to me and I didn't stay in fee for service very long. I think a total of like not quite four years, and I think that I kind of knew initially going into it, that it wasn't really something that I wanted to do forever, but I was willing to try it for financial reasons.
So once you decided that, fee for service was not gonna work out for you for the rest of your career, and you decided that Mid-South DPC is where you were going to be headed next professionally.
What were the conversations like in your household? Because I really think that that having, not only to price transparency, medicine, but also transparency with your partner is really important when you're making such a decision like this to open
DPC. Yes, that is a great question. And thankfully my husband and I are best friends. We've been together for a really long time, and he's always known since I became a doctor and started looking at practicing options that, fee for service wasn't for me, and I wasn't really happy and eventually I would end up doing this.
It wasn't really on our initial timeline of what we had discussed. But again, everything. For a reason, right? And my husband had kind of stepped away from his job. He was a subcontractor and a carpenter, and he had made the decision. Well, we made the decision as a family for him to stay home with our son when I went back from maternity leave.
So just that whole process of spending more time with our baby, I got six months maternity leave. It really just changed things for me in general. And it pushed me harder to go ahead and do this. So I kind of gave him a heads up, like, look, I wanna probably go ahead and start on this timeline.
We need to save this amount of money. um, you know, We need to have, living expenses for six months because I, was the only breadwinner. And so it was a family decision. The kids were involved too. Everybody was really excited and encouraging and they honestly lifted me up when I.
Didn't really feel like I could do it anymore. When I was nervous to submit my resignation, they were there and like, no, it's good. You can do it. You can do this. Awesome.
No, I love that. And I'm sure that's so relatable to other people who have pressed send on that email.
It is for, for resignation. Very, yeah. I uh, I I absolutely agree with that. .
Because at the time of this recording, with the newness of DPC being so fresh on your mind, I wanna ask what are some of the things that you felt very prepared for opening Mid-South DPC and what are some of the things that you C felt you could have been better prepared
Um, So. I would say that I was very prepared overall with the space and the setup and like the aesthetics of the clinic. I was very pleased with how everything turned out. We did the entire flip ourselves and I, the vision was mine, from start to finish. So I really feel like that turned out great.
Things that I that I was not prepared for, I think would just be the overall business aspect of running a small business. You just don't really know what that world is like until you get in it. And it's a different world. There's like a hundred million tasks that you have to complete every day.
And so it's just constantly making lists and keeping up with things and being organiz. Setting auto drafts on your bills, making sure all of your applications are in permits are in. So that is just a piece that you have to tackle head on and learn, from experience. I also thought it was great having staff on day one.
I think, and I would highly recommend anybody do that if you can, because for me. It made me be able to focus on more important things and less on some of the like paperwork and the phone calls, which can really wear you down when you're trying to do a whole lot in a short period of time.
And when you talk about flipping the space, can you give us a little bit of a picture as to what was your space before moving in and how exactly did you flip it and what does it look like to the patients when they walk into your clinic these days?
Yeah. So, um, we are very, very proud of our space. It is actually and this is gonna be my boy mom showing it's about three football fields from my house. so, super close and I honestly don't think we could have done it. Had it been at a different location 1,250 square footage. I ended up getting.
An absolute dirt cheap deal, like $800 a month is what my rent is. So you, I mean, you cannot beat that. The space before at one point was a donut drive through store. It was a tanning salon. And most recently it was like a children's boutique about four years ago. So, yeah, so we, I actually, I signed the lease.
Okay. Well, I gave my 30 day notice at my former job on the 17th of January. And then I signed the lease on the place about four days later. So at that point it was, let's get the keys. Let's get rolling and let's go. I was still working for the next 30 days. So obviously I had to have a team kind of come in and help me.
And that team consisted of my husband, who. Was such a trooper. I mean, it was his time to shine every day when I'd get home from fee for service, we would like exchange the kid. He would put on his work clothes, head up to the clinic. And did he did the whole build out pretty much? So he the nurse practitioner that I work with also helped him as well with certain things.
And then on weekends I would come paint, decorate, do the interior design and get ready with all the marketing materials. So it really was like a family affair and everybody kind of pitched in the older brothers helped babysit as well. So we could have time at the new space to get everything.
I love that. And in terms of the pieces of your space, I wanna highlight your signage because you've posted about your signage in the Facebook groups in terms of like what your amazing sign looks like, and it's prominently right there when you walk in. So can you tell us about how you got your signage up in your space while doing this build out?
Yes. So I. I'm also very cheap. full disclosure and I'm also into DIY. I did not want to do my own sign. I felt like that needed to be something professionally done. So I was willing to splurge, but not that much. I ended up finding it like a great company on Etsy. And I can't remember the name right now, but it was, it's a family owned business and I'd love to get that to you.
So you could add that. I don't know how that would work, but they did my interior acrylic sign for less than $400 and it's. Behind my front desk. When you walk in, I think it's very beautiful. It looks super professional. And then my outdoor sign is on it's on a metal square and it's also acrylic and vinyl.
And so it was like right at under $700 total for that one. So, I ended up saving a lot of money and getting to great looking signs. And in a short period of time, they were both shipped and created within a matter of.
Amazing. And just I love the, like, like you said, you just it's go time.
Like we gotta get this done. And you have definitely done that now in terms of you're getting your space ready. You're getting ready with all the marketing stuff. What were some of the initial things you did for marketing to build up momentum, to get patients to join on day?
Yeah. So I I gave a 30 day notice at my former job, so I did not have a lot of time. I actually could not tell any patients really what I was doing or that I was even leaving. So I basically just decided to make a public Facebook post on my personal page. And just to kind of let you know, all my friends and family know, Hey, These are the new changes that are coming right now.
This is what I'm doing. I'm opening this new clinic and this is why. And I kind of listed out the reasons that I've spoken about on this podcast about why fee for service leads to physician burnout and leads to overall poor patient care. And I think it really resonated with the community. I think a lot of people saw it.
It got shared a lot and liked a lot and posted in local community pages. And I think that people really appreciated the authenticity mm-hmm and me just being honest about why I wasn't happy with my former job and why I was really excited about being able to do something new and different.
In terms of opening day, when you look back at, things that were needed and things that you were missing on day one, can you touch on that in terms of what it looked like for your clinic supplies wise or any tech that you had in place or that you wished
you had in place? I guess the biggest thing that I wished I had in place was to submit the Cleo waiver application faster. I had no idea that there was like a delay on that. And so I kind of waited to the last minute I had already ordered the testing supplies, but then I realized that there was like a two week turnaround on the waiver.
So I called the state and I was like, Hey, is there any way we could speed this up? I was really planning on opening next week. The lady was just super helpful and she ended up pushing it through for us and had my clear waiver emailed to me on the day we opened. But that would be one of the things I would recommend doing uh, a little bit.
Sooner than the two week before opening mark. But other than that, I think that everything you end up having this kind of like a never ending list of things that you have to do and things to order. I did find a refurbished EKG machine before I opened. So I went ahead and got that. I waited on certain.
In office injectables and certain more expensive things that we really couldn't afford in the beginning, testing supplies, et cetera. And, we would order a small amount. And now that we have kind of, ramped up patients, I'm getting a better process of ordering supplies and knowing what's due and keeping up with the the lab requisitions for supplies, for that as.
Yeah, I think that's a really big gem there. The advice on CLE waivers, because it really is state dependent, California has a very amazing, and I say that in a facetious way, Clea application process. And so it took me about six to eight weeks to get my Clea waiver. And so I definitely would say, as soon as you get that, the clear waiver lasts for a long time.
So you can definitely, you know, start applying for that as you're thinking about DPC. No, I wanna turn to your patients because you are near Hattiesburg and Hattiesburg is known for the Hattiesburg clinic. And,
I wanna ask what do patients, like, you mentioned how people were so impressed with the authenticity, with your mission and they were spreading the word, but I wanna ask. What is the perception of healthcare like locally and who are the people who have, appreciated what you're doing and who have joined you at Mid-South DPC?
Yeah. So that's a great question. I think the perception of healthcare. Locally as similar to, everywhere in the United States, but here in particular, there's not any sort of DPC clinics around this area. And so I think a lot of patients have struggled with kind of grasping the concept of, we don't really take insurance and we don't need insurance and we're better off not using insurance.
So. It's been kind of fun for me in a way to sit at the front desk and talk to everybody when they come in and kind of give them the rundown on why we're doing this and what the difference is. But overall in the community, I think that there is just A growing unrest of people who are questioning things who are looking at bills, who are wondering why they can't see their physician for weeks at a time who can't get their doctor on the phone when they're sick.
So there's been a lot of that, and there's a lot of unanswered questions. And so I feel like patients are looking for different options. And if they look just a little bit hard enough and find us, I can explain to them, what the difference is and why it's better.
We have had some absolutely amazing patients join. We've had teachers, farmers, lawyers, doctors, graphic designers, engineers, professional athletes pastors, and many small business owners and parents.
We've had some great kids join as well. And of course, we've had a lot of arts and crafts enthusiasts and join, which tend to be my favorite type of patient, just because I love talking about it with them. I've even kind of dedicated an entire wall to those type of patients, anyone who loves creative things who likes to make things, they are welcome to bring it in and we can hang it on the wall and just kind of showcase everybody's talent that has joined the.
I love that. And one of the things I wanna ask, if you can highlight too, is your own contribution to the art pieces in your.
Yeah. So, art has probably always been my first love. I love all kinds of art, whether it be painting, drawing cake decorating doesn't matter, anything creative. That's my jam. So for the clinic I did all of the artwork my best friend Bethany came and helped me do some abstract stuff, two nights before we opened.
So. We were up there really doing things quickly and having a lot of fun. I was able to paint a mural on the wall with our logo, which I think is very special. And when patients kind of realized that, oh, wait, the doctor painted all this that, it's just an extra layer of something cool about the clinic and something unique that you have never seen before.
Love it. And as a DIY fan I'm so excited to, to hear this about your clinic. And I definitely would encourage you guys to check out the website at Mid-South UPC to see this amazing art that Dr. Henry is talking about. One of the things that I had learned about you before this interview was that you had a presence when it comes to social media prior to opening DPC.
So I wanna ask if you can share a little bit about that and how did that allow you to know how to market when you started? So you knew what kind of dialogue you wanted out there that patients ended up sharing.
Yeah. So, back in medical school, I would consider myself kind of a low list, Instagram fitness influencer.
I got really into fitness my second year of medical school, and I actually kind of made the decision that I was gonna do a body building competition at the end of that year. So I spent the year working out every single day, counting my macros, weighing everything. And I really pushed my body to a limit that it had never been before.
I lost a significant amount of weight. I was able to tone up and gain muscle. And so, really got into the fitness aspect of health. And at that point during medical school I had a pretty decent following. I had like right around 60,000 Instagram followers. And like 30,000 Facebook followers who were also kind of interested in my story and my transformation and then my, the single mother who made it to medical school and who's also really into working out
So, that was really cool. And I actually ended up using that to my benefit with the new clinic. I did not have access to my Instagram anymore. I lost. To those followers, but I did have access to my Facebook fitness page and I was able to regain that and, kind of delete the old content and flip it over to my DPC clinic page.
And now I kind of have a built in following of people who I can send things to on a marketing standpoint, who are also interested in my content.
Incredible. And I love that. That is such a unique way of harnessing a preexisting social media presence so I love that. And in terms of the people who have joined your practice, again, you have over 200 people that you were taking care of already at Midsouth DPC.
And I wanna ask how was the onboarding process go, you know, at day one
and how is it going? So I was not ready. Full disclosure. I did not expect that amount of people to sign up and definitely wasn't ready, but again, hiring my nurse on day one, his name is Dustin. He is just a godsend. He is so amazing.
He was able to help me get patients scheduled. What I, in the beginning, I was kind of calling them myself and reaching out. And I found that I was on the phone from like 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM. Literally calling patients all day long. So once Dustin came on board those first couple of weeks before we opened, we were able to get most of the patients scheduled.
And then I would say really up until about this past week, things have been kind of hectic and seeing a lot of patients every day, just to get everybody in and then also enrolling new patients a couple every day as well. But it's been a good amount of busy and it's still less than what I was seeing in fee for service.
So I, at the end of the day, 12 seems like a lot in the beginning for DPC, but it's really just getting everybody in and kind of having everybody see the space and then things get easier on follow up
visits. Definitely. And when you had, the floodgates open and those patients were onboarding right away, how did you strategically between you and Dustin schedule them so that you were able to, pivot, if you needed to take some take care of something acute that happened.
Yeah. So everybody for the first visit is always scheduled for an hour. I'm just very thorough in OCD. So I like to pull hospital systems from both of the local hospitals and look at like 10 years worth of imaging and trend all of their labs if I can. And so just to really get like a good first visit I think it's important to have an hour with every patient.
So, what we did was we would have a list of, the pending enrollments and the new enrollments, and we would just get a highlighter and print it off every day and just go through and we'd make little notes, this patient called no answer. Of course there were people who signed up in the beginning who ended up not actually joining the clinic.
I've never in, required a credit card for enrollment. That was kind of a strategic decision I made because I did not want anybody to not sign up because they were spooked about the idea of putting their credit card information on online mm-hmm .. And what I found was that it also gave me an opportunity to talk to people directly and kind of answer any questions they may have.
And of course, everybody had a few questions with one of the main ones being, do you take insurance? And so. I got to kind of explain, why don't, and this is why, and this is, what you get for your monthly membership fee in the place of having insurance and billing your insurance.
When you. Had your workflow in place to get everybody onboarded in terms of reaching out to not only potential patients, but to, to your community, how did you reach out to people like drug reps or, other people in health, in the health realm, like fitness instructors or, podiatrists, those types of people.
How did you reach out to your community in addition to potential.
Yeah. So again, it was mostly just kind of through social media. Like we really haven't done any sort of targeted marketing other than just a few Facebook posts, but word of mouth traveled really quickly. And the community pages there seemed to be a lot of traffic about people.
Wanting to know if there were any new doctors in the area or where they could get in to see a PCP, even though there's a lot of access here, people still can't find a doctor that can see them in any sort of timeframe. Yeah. So I think we got a lot of word of mouth that way that, so, and then also people would just kind of come in to see what we were doing.
Right. So we were in a shopping center, people would drive by, pull in and, Hey, what's this, We could kind of explain at that point, Hey, we're a new type of clinic and kind of like concierge medicine, but a little bit different. They could kind of grasp that word of concierge. So they knew that was a little different as well.
So they kind of separated us from fee from service. But yeah and just like the local fire chief, I ended up finding out we're actually distant cousins. So he's been in a few times and you know, word of mouth, you know, it's a small, very. Close community. People talk to each other, they go to church together.
They, when they're excited about something, they wanna tell others. And it's really just been word of mouth and a few Facebook post.
So, um, when it came to the vendors I had worked in fee for service in the same town for about a year.
And so I was very, you know, I knew the vendors, they knew me, some of them. Pretty much, all of them found out that I was no longer at my former place of employment. And so they reached out either on social media or they had my number or David, my nurse practitioner's number directly. And so what we did was we had kind of like a vendor pre-opening day, the day before the clinic open for everybody to come and bring samples for the new clinic and help us stock our sample closet and take a look at the space and yeah, kind of explain to the vendors as well.
What DPC was and just peak interest in that way, because then they also went to other clinics and they can kind of spread the word as well.
I wanna highlight that you had a ribbon cutting ceremony and, you know, we're just at the time of this interview, really starting to get, a lot of in person, things that we haven't had for a while. So tell us about your ribbon. Cutting. How did you how did you get people to attend and what was it like?
Yeah. So the ribbon cutting was really fun. Uh, The chamber of commerce, they reached out to us pretty early on. They were very interested in the concept of the clinic. So we ended up joining and then they provide a ribbon cutting ceremony as part of their chamber package. We scheduled it and we did not really advertise a lot because it was after clinic one day and I just kind of wanted it to be, close family and friends.
So we did have a lot of people that ended up showing up that day just to kind of support us. I, I did give a speech and this was my, first time speaking in public pandemic public speaking is not my favorite. So I was very nervous and I was glad that all my boys were there and they could see me giving that speech.
And my oldest, he, ran up to me immediately after I was done and gave me a hug and it was just such. Like a great moment for me. And I asked him later, I was like, well, what made you do that? And he was like, well, mom, you just looked really nervous and I heard your voice cracking. And so it was just like a, it was a great moment for me and for my family to kind of overcome that fear of public speaking and just to do something big, like open your own clinic.
Amazing. And it reminds you of talking with Dr. Amber Becken Hower, she's also a boy mom and has four boys herself, but just when your kids see you being an entrepreneur and being able to take a problem and fix it because you can.
When they see that growing up, they're going to learn those skills without knowing it. So I really think that's awesome. And in terms of the staff, you mentioned how you work with Dustin, and then you also have David now. How you, how did they come to join Midsouth D.
Dustin is our LPN and David is the nurse practitioner and I met both of them at my former fee for service job.
Thankfully when we first opened I posted the position online that we were ready to hire a nurse on day one. Once I saw that we could cover overhead, I was like, Let's hire a nurse immediately. so Dustin, he applied for the job and I was so, so thrilled to have him. He's just amazing. My patients love him.
People literally scream and jump up and down when they walk in and see him behind the front desk. I mean, he is just really great. So he's been a huge asset. As far as David we worked together for about a year and he's just, he's a great provider, a great nurse practitioner. And he had been practicing in the community for about three years.
Prior to opening the DPC. So he had a very large following. Patients were looking for him online. There were hashtags going around, like where is at nobody can find him. So it was very exciting to be able to talk to him and just say, Hey, there's this new type of clinic that I think we could open and be successful and not take insurance.
He had never heard of DPC before, so he really just kind of had to go out on a limb and trust me with it. But I was like, look, we can either, try to take insurance and play the games and get less and less reimbursement, or we can just jump out on a limb and do this no insurance. So we did.
And we just had discussions early on about what we wanted the practice to look like and how we kind of wanted things to be laid out. And so that's how we ended up kind of going in on this endeavor together from the very.
And when you look back at this whirlwind that you have been through what do you appreciate now about life that you wanted before, but you couldn't necessarily attain.
So I think that I've just finally been able to find joy with what I do with my job. And it's so important to have a job that's fulfilling and that just isn't toxic. And I didn't really realize that until I got out of that environment. Even my kids notice they're like, mom you're smiling again.
You're singing songs in the car. You're kind of dancing again. You're fun again. You're happy again. And so. When my children started noticing it, I was like, you know what? I've really made the right decision here. I sleep better at night. I am more outgoing, I'm less stressed. It's just been a truly life changing experience for me.
And I wish I had done it years ago, honestly, or straight out of residency. But again, everything happens for a reason and I think the timing was perfect. And the team I have now is just, it's great. My number one thing that held me back from opening the DPC to begin with.
Not knowing if I could share call with somebody and being, available 24 7 to patients and not being able to take a vacation. So for me, kind of having someone to partner and open up with was always very important. And I think that. Thinking outside of the box and opening up with a non-physician provider was something that I had never thought about doing before, but ended up being a really great situation for us.
And it kind of helped me have that coverage so I can get away and spend time with my family and take a vacation. And that I also have somebody else to kind of help me out through this process if things were to go bad and to also kind of help me celebrate when things do go
well. on that note, I wanna close with asking, what does the future hold from Midsouth
So the future is bright. I have so much more time now to do creative things. One of the things that I'm very proud of and excited about is a new fitness program that I've written for the members of the DPC. It kind of is an overview to weight training and cardiovascular exercise and the basics of fitness.
And I feel like it's something that's lacking in a lot of patient's education and in general, with physician treatment options we don't really speak about that a lot. So I'm excited to be able to teach patients how to work out and how to enjoy fitness, because it really can help with all of the things, all of the medical issues, all of the mental health issues.
It's a great tool to have. We're also working on. Employer packages. I'm very excited about that. Have not quite had enough time to get something set up and materials ready, but in the next week we do start having appointments with different, small businesses that we're gonna start reaching out to.
So that's also coming in the future and I'm really excited about that.
Amazing. And I just wanna highlight on your website, how you have employer packages mentioned as and you have the note coming soon. I love that because, if you're like yourself and you're just ballooning from the get go, it's a way to get the word on the street that it is coming, but, stay tuned.
So I love that. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Henry for joining
us today. Thank you so much for having me. Maryelle.
Transcript generated by AI, so please forgive errors.