Is your practice right for me?

I provide direct primary care for those seeking accurate diagnoses and balanced care through all phases of life. Direct primary care means that almost always, the first person you talk to when you come to a visit, or reach out with a question, will be me. I’ve removed the bureaucratic layers so often put between patients and doctors, so that trusting, collaborative relationships can be formed. It would seem a no-brainer, but research has shown that strong patient-physician relationships create healthier outcomes for patients. I do not see my role as a physician to be that of a caretaker, but rather as a partner. Your health and well-being is ultimately your own  responsibility, and I will work diligently to help you towards your goal.

Where’s the staff?

I made the choice many years ago to follow the business model of what is known as a “micropractice”. When I was in medical school, I’d always envisioned working in a large clinic, seeing my patients, going home and getting my paycheck in the mail. However, I graduated, was hired at a mid-sized clinic, and found that I was miserable. Endless meetings, very high overhead, patients having to communicate first with a front end staff, and not directly with me, having no say in what patients were charged, no control over my schedule. The fact that most primary care physicians burn out after 5 years in practice became very real to me.

Things needed to change, but the idea of running my own business was terrifying. Out of the blue, a former mentor and colleague of mine, Dr. Suzanne Lawton, called me with news that would change my life. She, tragically, had been given a very poor cancer diagnosis, and felt that I would be a good fit to take over her practice. However…she was a solo practitioner, with no staff, in charge of all aspects of the business…exactly what I feared most. After meeting with her and shadowing with her in practice for a week, I knew in my heart that taking over her practice was what I needed to do.

There was a huge learning curve: all that insurance billing, accounting, inventory management etc. But I am so thankful for that choice. One of the blessings of a correctly run micropractice is low overhead. Low overhead means that I get to spend more time caring for my patients…what I went to medical school for. Having a micropractice means I do wear many different hats: office manager, accountant, biller, even cleaner. But the trade-off is so very worth it: direct contact with my patients so we can create long-lasting relationships, low overhead that allows me long office visits, control of my schedule so I can be the mother and partner I want to be, and the ability to take care of myself enough so I can continue to practice many years into the future.

What does your motto mean?

“Country Medicine in the Heart of the City” embodies for me the benefits of having a micropractice. I, the physician, am the person whom my patients have the most direct contact with. They contact me, not an office staff, with their concerns and questions. It is me who is available after hours, not an unknown doctor or nurse. (OK, I do go on vacation sometimes, in which case there is outside coverage!) I know my patients on an intimate level, which allows me to help them best.

Ultimately, what matters most to me is patient-centered care. This is what my motto alludes to: the old-time ideal of a physician in a small town or rural area whom people trusted and depended on and was part of their lives and community. Working in a large facility, it is difficult to maintain that level of closeness and continuity of care. It’s my goal to create that feel of “the old-time country doctor”, to bring back that slower-paced, closer relationship into our modern existence.

How is holistic medical care (aka functional medicine) different from what I get at my “regular” doctor?

The biggest difference between the way I practice medicine and what one might generally experience at a “regular” doctor is what I call “whole person health care”. My goal is to be in partnership with you to help you live your best life, to help your body run like it should to give you optimal wellness. The human body is designed to maintain its health. It is an ingenious self-healing organism if given the right environment and tools to do so. If you are not feeling at full health, it does not mean your body is breaking down. The symptoms you feel are your body’s attempt to adapt to some strain. Symptoms are signals for us to start investigating that strain and eliminate it.

I see being a Physician like being a Medical Detective. The first step in any investigation is to listen. The best information regarding your health is going to come from you. Different bodies lose their healing ability for different reasons. I work closely with my patients and listen to those individual symptoms for clues about each unique case. This investigation includes a detailed history, physical exams, laboratory analysis, and other diagnostic procedures. When the underlying cause of your symptoms is discovered, I have the knowledge and training to recommend methods to support your body’s healing and work with you to develop a specialized treatment plan. Because I am trained and licensed as an integrative physician, this means the tools I have in my toolbox are many and varied, and can be chosen specifically for what you need.

What can I expect from a visit to your office?

A visit with me may be different than previous care you’ve experienced. Your first visit will be up to an hour long and include a thorough history of your case and any necessary physical exams. Pertinent lab work will be ordered. There will be time for you to ask any questions pertaining to my background and approach. Follow-up visits will be shorter and we will continue treatment and/or address any acute needs you may have. You will leave each visit with a detailed, individualized, easy-to-follow treatment plan. I also encourage you to call or email with any concerns or questions you may have. I am on-call 24/7, and have coverage when I am away from my office for family time.

Your schedule is very full. How do I see you?

If you are an established patient, and you can’t seem to find an appointment time, I recommend contacting me directly via email. I make an effort to squeeze people in for acute visits and/or urgent situations. For new patients, if waiting the 3-6 week average is not possible, I again recommend emailing me. I do have a waitlist, and openings do come up. For families with multiple people wanting to establish care, I often will have 2-3 members come in for a single first time visit, as long as there are no currently occurring health issues. Again, email me for details.

Do you accept and bill insurance?

I am in network with nearly all major insurance companies including CareOregon. Any new patient should contact their insurance provider and give them my name to ensure coverage and benefits. I will bill your insurance directly.

What if I don’t have insurance?

Affordable cash discounts are available, as are student and senior discounts. Contact me for the current fee schedule.