Healthcare Reimagined: Getting Back to Basics at Cibolo Family Medicine
When Dr. Sara Stuart opened Cibolo Family Medicine in 2016, she brought an entirely new (or maybe completely ancient) concept of healthcare to Boerne: one that encourages real patient-physician relationships and focuses on prevention through a whole-health approach to medicine. One where patients enjoy 24/7 access to their physician; same-day appointments with no wait times; an open line of communication through phone, text, or email; health and wellness coaching; and even a running club and Zumba. A few things that aren’t included though: insurance co-pays, claims, requirements, and restrictions…and from what I can tell, the people of Boerne seem to love it.
“Our physicians dedicated their lives to medicine because they genuinely believe in helping people. That’s not easy to do, though, when you’re expected to see a certain number of patients per day and bill certain codes to generate revenue,” Dr. Stuart explains. “By eliminating third parties from the exam room and going direct, we’re able to restore the patient-physician relationship and make quality care convenient and affordable.”
And it all started when Dr. Stuart realized practicing medicine in a traditional environment wasn’t quite what she had expected.
“The medical system is broken. Patients are being mistreated with long waits and surprise bills and it was frustrating, to me, to not be allowed the time I really needed with my patients.”
So, she began researching various healthcare models, to include Concierge Medicine and Direct Primary Care; ultimately deducing that the latter provides patients with the most bang for their buck.
“With Direct Primary Care, our clients enjoy personalized care with unlimited visits and no time constraints or waiting. Many health issues are complex and should not be solved with a five-minute visit and a prescription drug. We take the time to find the root cause of a problem and to approach the whole person - physical, mental, and spiritual. Because of this multi-faceted approach, we’ve been able to get diabetics off insulin, high-heart-risk patients off their statins, and have seen generally improved energy, mood, health, and wellness in our patients.”
So how does it work, exactly? And why do so many of my local friends and random strangers in online groups rave about the clinic? Well, I made a trip to Cibolo Family Medicine last week to ask just that and Chief Operating Officer, Colin Stuart—who also happens to be Dr. Stuart’s husband—was kind enough to fill me in:
“Cibolo Family Medicine patients are charged a monthly fee that covers everything done in the clinic: all visits, procedures, round-the-clock phone access, health coaching, and even housecalls when necessary, are included. Patients are, however, still encouraged to carry some form of insurance or health sharing in case of emergencies.
That plan can also be used for medical or drug services provided outside of our clinic, but we have, however, negotiated cash rates for our patients that are usually cheaper than using insurance—which means, there are no surprise bills! Many of our patients save so much by avoiding their deductible and co-pays that their membership with us is effectively free...and they receive an elevated healthcare experience for the same cost as their insurance premiums.”
And for those patients who do end up with a slightly higher healthcare expenditure, Dr. Kevin Hodnett, who co-founded the San Antonio Cibolo Family Medicine location in 2018, says that quality care and times savings are well worth the cost.
“It’s just a different level of healthcare. Take a look around our clinic—it’s different. Our treatment rooms are larger. Our waiting rooms are inviting and never crowded. The level of service and personal attention our patients receive, the ability to contact your physician any time of day, the fact that you’re able to build a relationship with one specific doctor who handles your care and you’re not bounced around between many…that is truly unique.”
Dr. Hodnett claims that his life, as a physician, is made better through Direct Primary Care as well.
“I’m less rushed. I spend less time dealing with insurance companies and more time getting to know my patients. It’s just generally less stressful and more enjoyable. This is why I became a doctor in the first place and our patients are happier and healthier for it too—it’s just a great deal all around.”
As with most anything that’s new or different, there are common misconceptions about Direct Primary Care.
“Some people associate us with Concierge Medicine and expect our prices to be high,” Mr. Stuart remarks. “But that’s not how we are designed. Our monthly fee allows us to eliminate barriers to care. We eliminated barriers so our patients are encouraged to call or text their doctor when symptoms first start, to make follow-ups easy and convenient, and to enable true wellness and preventive care. It’s simpler, more efficient, more effective, and not nearly the financial investment most people would think.”
Outside of the clinic, you’ll often find Cibolo Family Medicine’s staff active in such things as mini Camp Gladiator competitions, running clubs, networking luncheons, charity walks, or supporting local small businesses and non-profits.
“We chose Boerne intentionally; this is where we want to live and build our families,” Dr. Stuart explains. “Our connection to others who have a passion for improving the lives of others is a natural extension of who we are: doctors and health coaches who want to make a difference for our patients and our community.”
And judging from the glowing recommendations I’ve seen and heard from all over Boerne, I’d say they’ve done just that.
“My family and I receive the highest quality, round-the-clock healthcare from Dr. Stuart and staff,” says Boerne resident and small business owner, Dondi Voigt Persyn. “We are always treated with care and dignity and never have to wait to be seen because our time is respected. When I call Dr. Stuart, she responds quickly, is knowledgeable, compassionate, and professional. I’ve just never experienced anything like it and would recommend Cibolo Family Medicine to absolutely anyone—once you try it, you’ll never go back.”
You’ll find Cibolo Family Medicine at 211 N. Main Street in Boerne and at 19707 I10W, Suite 213 in San Antonio. The clinic can also be reached on the Web, on Facebook, and Instagram or by phone at (830) 428-2500 (Boerne) or (210) 946-3100 (San Antonio).
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NOTE: This post was written in partnership with Cibolo Family Medicine. All images are courtesy of Cibolo Family Medicine.