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5 questions with Jeff Davis

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at 3:44 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at 10:45 p.m.

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When family physician Jeff Davis isn’t on his new farm raising horses, chickens, a donkey and a rooster named Cogburn, you’ll find him at Prairie Health and Wellness, 12115 E. 21st St.

Davis purchased the practice in March, which was previously Prairie Gynecology.

“I had for years been wanting to explore a more direct model of care and so the opportunity really presented itself,” Davis said. “What we’re passionate about here is that we provide affordable care directly to patients and really are trying to simplify health care in general.”

He’s a graduate of Southeast High School and attended Baylor University for his undergraduate and graduate degrees and the University of Texas for medical school. He previously practiced at Primary Care Associates.

Davis and his wife, Julie, have four children.

Q. 1 What got you interested in medicine?

A. I always was fascinated by the science of the body and how our biology and physiology worked. Those were my favorite subjects in college. So naturally, pursuing that as a physician just felt like the right step to take.

The thing that frustrated me once I got into residency, though, was how little basic science we really dealt with. It felt like we were more just matching a problem to a drug. What I love about functional medicine is we really get back to the basics of science with problems, which is so cool in my mind.

Q. 2 2 What is functional medicine?

A. Functional medicine is what I’m most excited about. In functional medicine we try to understand the root cause of a person’s health problems. So how it differs a little from my training in allopathic medicine, which is traditional medicine, is we look if there’s a hormonal or nutritional deficiency that’s causing a problem. Or maybe there’s something the patient is doing or not doing in their lifestyle that could fix the problem.

I’m amazed at how many people come to me and they’re on 15 medications and they tell me “I don’t feel good any more,” and a lot of their symptoms are from the medication they’re on. So when possible, in functional medicine we really try to restore function … using evidence-based approaches whether it be nutritional, supplemental or hormonal therapies.

Q.3 Why did you want to try a concierge model at your new practice?

A. I don’t call it concierge because concierge to me sounds like it’s very elitist. If you’ve ever seen a concierge practice, every single one is different. Some are, “If you pay me $20,000 a year, I’ll be your doctor.” Who can afford that?

So what I did is I looked at all the codes that we typically bill for in an insurance-based business and asked the question “What could I charge if I didn’t have the overhead of billing and insurance?” And since I didn’t have that overhead, I could pass that savings on to patients. So it’s a direct-care model.

Q.4 So you don’t handle insurance at your office?

A. We provide insurance and billing codes so people can submit their claims themselves, even providing them the paperwork.

For physicians to submit codes you have to have a billing department and often a claims scrubbing firm that charges a certain percent to submit claims to insurance companies, and then you have to have somebody on the back end who’s watching to make sure all those claims got paid. It’s surprisingly simple for patients to turn in a claim. They attach a one- or two-page form along with our bill, mail it in, and Blue Cross Blue Shield sends them a check and they get reimbursed directly from an insurance company.

We allow patients to use that benefit but we don’t want to be benefit managers. We have monthly memberships or pay as you go.

Q. 5 Any plans for future growth?

A. Right now we want to make this model work for our existing patients. I’ve had some providers call me and say, “Let me know when you’re interested in expanding because I’m tired of doing medicine the way I’ve been doing it.”

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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