Family Medicine / Direct Primary Care / Same-Day Appointments

The sometimes incoherent
ramblings and rants of an
ordinary family doctor...
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Some of you may be familiar with the term fractional reserve banking. It describes the structure of virtually all banks in existence today.  Laws require that your bank keep about a tenth of deposits on reserve while loaning out the rest. Obviously, if all bank account holders show up at one time to demand their money, the bank cannot cover the demands. This is called a bank run, which was famously depicted in the Jimmy Stewart movie It's a Wonderful Life. I would like to coin a new term to describe our current Healthcare System: Fractional Reserve Medicine.  

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The well-dressed VIPs slowly walked into the dimly lit upscale restaurant's conference room for meeting over a rich meal at the invitation of a consultant and his three colleagues.  The topic of discussion was a revolutionary new approach to delivering primary care, one that had shown considerable cost savings for a self-insured employer. The VIPs were important hospital administrators, people with considerable clout and control over the finances and decisions of a large community health system.  

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Today, medical bills have become so complex that some healthcare providers distribute information to help patients "interpret" their bill.  The first thing most patients see when they review their bill is the "PAY THIS AMOUNT:" total followed by shock, dismay, fear, and grief.  The explanation is intended to provide "clarity" so that when the initial shock wears off, the patient feels defeated and consigned to pay those impressive charges...even when they went in for a simple sinus infection, received 5 minutes of physician time, a shot, and a prescription.  I am certain most of my readers at some point have felt these same emotions.  With that in mind, I want to share a real medical bill with you and provide a side-by-side comparison.

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Recently, my oldest daughter completed her tour of duty with the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.  She “graduated” after working at the Hollywood Studios theme park from January through May this year. The particular job itself was nothing out of the ordinary.  She worked 8 to 10 hours a day at a modest hourly rate as an attraction attendant for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid live performance, all while taking an online class from Mississippi State and interning at a local daycare once a week. In return, she earned a resume builder as well as good experience working with the public, which she learned can be quite fickle when it comes to occasional long lines and wait times.  No matter how upset, angry, or rude a park guest may become, she had to maintain Disney professionalism and the Disney experience at all times...without taking it personally.

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The headlines sounded the alarm bells this Tuesday, “Trustees report Medicare will become insolvent in 2026.”  

The headline continues:

Medicare’s financial problems have gotten worse, and Social Security’s can’t be ignored forever, the government said Tuesday in an annual assessment that amounts to a sobering checkup on programs vital to the middle class.

Our Latest Blog Entries

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    A new patient recently joined my clinic, Face Value Health in Ridgeland, Mississippi. She had previously received care in another country and brought lab reports for her new medical record. It didn't take long before the topic of the high price of healthcare in the United States came up.  
  • Breaking The Heart Disease Riddle

    Recently, I received tragic news. One of my high school classmates in the prime of his life had died suddenly of a heart attack. He was an outgoing, charismatic father, a Mississippi Highway Patrolman and an all-around likeable guy living and enjoying life to the fullest. He had no prior history of heart disease. And just like that in a blink of an eye, he was gone.
  • The 15-Minute Office Visit: A History--And An Autopsy

    Have you ever considered the origins of the "15-minute office visit" and how we arrived at it as the benchmark for a health care visit? In my earlier days as a primary care doctor working in a traditional medical clinic, I recall receiving a productivity report every month.  This report ranked every doctor in the group by the volume of patients seen, the total fees charged, and most importantly, patients seen per hour.  
  • The Day the Squirrel(s) Went Berserk

    I once knew a fellow who was fond of saying, "Two is one and one is none."  Basically, he was saying that you should always have a backup. In this world where we are increasingly dependent on computers, databases, networks, and wireless communication, it becomes even more of an imperative.  
  • My Story

    Like most people, my beginnings were humble.  As a young child, I remembered our small home next to a canal in deep south Florida where my mother and fraternal twin brother resided.  My earliest, fondest memories were of visiting my grandparents and walking to my elementary school just a few blocks away with friends. Then in 1978, things suddenly changed.  My mother was remarrying, so we were loading everything up in a U-Haul truck for a 2 day trip to our new hometown, Carthage, Mississippi, where I would grow up for the next 11 years.  It was in this sleepy central Mississippi town where I decided I wanted to be a family doctor, having been inspired by its highly regarded local family physicians, Dr. Frank Bowen, Dr. Loutrelle Stribling, and Dr. Jack Scott.