The following was sent to us from Crystal A. Smith Maxwell, MD, MBA, FAAFP at LIGHT Family Wellness:
On January 29, 2021, LIGHT Family Wellness celebrated it’s Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. It is the FIRST DPC in my county. I have been in a shared-space setting in the urgent care complex which is fortunately owned by a fellow physician since October 1, 2020. I leased the last space in the complex which also houses an adult dental practice, a pediatric dental practice, and a physical therapy group. It would have been nice to keep over-head low by using the shared space only but my landlord did want to bring in primary care into the leased space, thus I would’ve been competing with another primary care clinic had I not taken the space. So, I leased the 1383 sq ft space and began steps of construction of the empty shell to bring LIGHT Family Wellness into being.
I practiced in a federally qualified community health center for 10 years prior to starting my practice. I was the CMO for 8 of those years. After 10 years of 50 mile commutes each way, it was time to work closer to home. I initially interviewed with other clinics which were clinic focused positions with potential for administrative duties down the road. I realized I did not want to be in the clinic most days in the traditional model. I prayed and talked with friends who were doing DPC and/or concierge and opened my thoughts up more to the idea of starting my own DPC. On January 31, 2020, I filed the LLC papers for LIGHT Family Wellness and it has been quite the ride ever since!
I joined the Chamber of Commerce and began getting my name out there and used social media with Facebook and Instagram to educate the community about what DPC is. I’ve lived here since 2013 but since I worked 50 miles outside of the area, I had to participate in more events here to make connections here. I then began attending Rotary meetings and meetings with a local referral group. I supported Ribbon-Cuttings of other new businesses as well. These activities helped the word spread about the practice and grow the membership. Some of my patients from my previous job came with me but for many of them, the distance understandably was too much.
It has been a breath of fresh air seeing patients in the DPC model! I have some uninsured patients who would’ve otherwise delayed going to the doctor so my desire to be a safety net similar to community health is still fulfilled. I learned more about several of my patients in their first 1-hour new patient visit than I did in 8-10 years of caring of them in the traditional setting. Giving patients the time and space to share can make the difference in the outcomes of their care.
Many community supporters attended the Ribbon-Cutting. I was also fortunate to have two of my mentors to speak on my behalf. One of whom is, Lathran Woodard, Board Chair of National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). The community was able to hear about my role in community health which gave them more insight to who I am.
January 29th has been proclaimed LIGHT Family Wellness Day by my county. I am excited about the journey that is ahead. Bringing the patient-physician relationship to the forefront of my day. Being accessible to my patients when they need me. Simplifying the primary care experience for my community while also putting the joy back in my work. This is DPC!
We all wish Dr. Maxwell good luck in her journey and welcome to the DPC community!
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