A Call for Change: why I am leaving traditional medicine behind

A Call for Change: Why I am leaving traditional medicine behind…

I am very passionate about my calling as a pediatrician—I care deeply about every one of my patients!I worry about them at night, and on weekends, and yes, on vacation! I treasure the unique opportunities for connection and healing that being a pediatrician creates—whether that means coming to my patient’s homes for newborn wellness checks, laughing with parents over toddler antics, crying with families when they are faced with seemingly impossible situations, or sharing in a sense of relief when everyone is finally feeling well again.…I am so grateful that my families trust me with all of it!

But providing this level of individual attention is no longer possible in the current healthcare system that favors quantity rather than quality and checking boxes over creating meaningful relationships. Patient-centered care has given way to “payment-centered care.” I can no longer practice medicine in such a manner, dictated by insurance restrictions.

I am excited to bring a new model of healthcare to our community! My new practice, Little Flower Pediatrics, will function as a Direct Primary Care (DPC) clinic.  DPC is a model of healthcare delivery that allows a physician to work directly with her patients, without interference from third-party payers (insurance companies).  By removing insurance companies from the doctor-patient relationship, I will be free to provide affordable, quality care without barriers to access. 

I know that many families avoid taking their children to the clinic due to fear of cost or needing to miss work. I also know how hard it is for parents to speak with their pediatrician during the day when a child needs to be seen. Many times, families leave messages, hoping to get a call back about a simple question…but those messages go unanswered. In a Direct Primary Care model, families call or text me directly, when they need me. And because the insurance companies no longer dictate the types of visits a child may have, many concerns can be addressed without an office visit at all.

In traditional medicine, the insurance reimbursements are set low, requiring a pediatrician to see on average 25-30 patients in a given day. With so many scheduled patients, a pediatrician is only able to spend 5-7 minutes with a family during a typical appointment. This is simply not adequate! How can I in speak with a teenager with depression in 5 minutes? How can I address the concerns of a new mom in 7 minutes? In the direct primary care model, appointment times are 30-90 minutes in length, and ALL of this time is spent directly with the pediatrician.

For an affordable, flat monthly fee, patients in a DPC clinic will receive all the services they need, including same day sick visits, well child check/sport’s physicals, simple procedures, lactation guidance, and integrative medicine consults. There are NO copays, NO non-covered services, and NO surprise costs.

I look forward to this transition into Direct Primary Care! I will be able to practice medicine in a manner that makes sense. I know it will afford me the time and the ability to be the compassionate, patient, and available doctor that I went into medicine to be.

Emily Walkey, MD                                   

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