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ACP Fellow: Kayur V. Patel, MD, MRO, FACP,
FACPE, FACHE, FACEP
Current Occupation: Chairman, Access2MD; Chief
Medical Officer, Wellness for Life Medical, LLC, Indianapolis,
Chief Residency: Providence Hospital,
Residency: Providence Hospital, Southfield,
Medical School: M.S. Ramaiah Medical College,
When Dr. Kayur Patel was in high school in Statesboro, GA, he
knew that he was going to continue on to medical school after
graduation. Dr. Patel believes that it takes a person with drive to
pursue a profession in medicine. He credits parents and family with
hugely influencing his life, adding that close family friends and
physicians also motivated and pushed him in the direction of
medicine. "They guided me in the right direction. Otherwise I
wouldn't be here today," he says.
After high school, he earned his Bachelor of Medicine and
Bachelor of Surgery degree from Bangalore University in Bangalore,
India. Dr. Patel was drawn to attending medical school in India
because it allowed him to have direct access to medical school,
bypassing college and leaping from high school right into studying
medicine. Born in India, Dr. Patel did not live there until he
attended medical school in Bangalore. He says that studying in
India gave him a better perspective of the Indian culture and his
roots. Dr. Patel completed an internal medicine residency at
Providence Hospital in Southfield, MI, where he was also named
chief medical resident, and completed an emergency medicine
residency at Wayne State University-Grace Hospital in Detroit,
Throughout medical school, he didn't like surgery very much,
however, he found internal medicine to be intellectually
challenging, which drew him in. Dr. Patel found his passion for
teaching medicine after his internal medicine residency when he
taught courses to medical students at Stanley H. Kaplan, a tutoring
service now known as Kaplan.
During his internal medicine residency, Dr. Patel decided to
become an emergency room physician. He practiced emergency medicine
for much of his career which he says opened his eyes to some of the
issues primary care physicians face. That insight influenced how
Dr. Patel now practices medicine as an internal medicine physician
in a direct primary care setting.
Today, he is the chairman of Access2MD, the chief medical
officer of Wellness for Life Medical, LLC, where he runs a group of
direct primary care clinics. Wellness for Life Medical, LLC is
hired by employers or companies to manage clinics for its employees
and their dependents. In total, Dr. Patel oversees 30 clinics, all
of which operate on a value-based system, not a volume-based system
which is common in the U.S. The clinics do not accept commercial
insurance plans, and are based on the value of care that the
physicians and other medical professionals provide to patients
rather than how many patients the medical professionals see each
day. When a patient comes a clinic, they do not pay a co-pay,
rather the employer who hired the direct primary care clinic pays
the co-pays in this model. He says that compliance increases among
patients when they do not pay a co-pay because their out-of-pocket
costs are kept low.
The value-based system of the clinics allows physicians and
other medical professionals to spend as much time with the patients
as they feel is necessary to provide the best care. For example, in
the clinic system, Dr. Patel says that no one will ask why he spent
45 minutes with a patient talking about their weight. He explains
that if the conversations happen frequently, the patients will
start to make changes. In the direct primary care model, if more
positive changes are made among patients, the medical professionals
end up making more money in the long-run, he explains. "It's not a
production line. You have to spend quality time with the patient,"
Dr. Patel describes the style of medicine that he practices as
reverting back to how medicine was practiced 50 years ago. The goal
of the clinics is to engage providers and clinicians, and help them
reset their expectations and how medicine is practiced. When a
patient went to the doctor five decades ago, doctors did not tell
patients to go across the street to the pharmacy to pick up a
prescription. They just gave patients the prescription and told
them how often to take it. "We're taking medicine back in time to
the way it was," he says. "Physicians have to unlearn what we've
learned, and reprogram ourselves in a value-based system, not a
volume-based system." Physicians at the direct primary care clinics
make house calls, take calls after hours, provide medications at
the clinic free of charge, and feel like they are making a
In 2013, he was presented with the Leadership Award from the
Indiana Rural Health Association. The award is given to individuals
who have made an outstanding difference in rural health. Dr. Patel
has been an active member of the Indiana Rural Health Association
since 2012, and in 2013 was elected as a member of the Board. The
association aims to engage members, deliver useful and valuable
education content, and impact state and federal policies.
Identifying the right physicians to practice at the clinics is
one of the most challenging parts of the job, says Dr. Patel. Due
to shifts in mindset and culture, it takes approximately 1.8 new
physicians to fill the roles that one retiring physician previously
held. Dr. Patel says that physicians from the millennial
generation, as well as millennials in other industries, typically
do not want to work as much as doctors who are retiring. New
physicians are ambitious, dedicated and professional, but give
equal importance to their passions and personal and family lives,
he says. To identify new physicians for the clinics, Dr. Patel
explains that the clinics offer Continuing Medical Education (CME)
programs for current medical professionals who work at the clinics.
These programs reinforce Wellness for Life Medical, LLC's
commitment to keeping current clinicians updated on medical
information. Current doctors at the clinics are encouraged to
invite fellow medical professionals to the CME program courses. Dr.
Patel believes that if the clinics do a great job with the CME
courses, then the visiting medical professionals will realize that
their mission is good. "Once they understand the concept, they
don't go back," says Dr. Patel. Professionals who attend the
clinic's CME courses sometimes see the concept of being able to
spend a lot of time with patients as too good to be true. One of
Dr. Patel's favorite parts of his job is setting standards and
protocols and seeing them successfully implemented across the
various clinic locations.
He believes that now is the best time to be in the field of
medicine because it is a time for doctors to make changes and to
see those changes being made and put in effect. He acknowledges
that there are challenges in medicine such as the finances of
healthcare and reimbursement issues.
As a Fellow of the College (FACP) since 2001, Dr. Patel
encourages physicians to get involved with medical organizations
because they help physicians understand what to expect in the
future and allow members to engage in group activities, he says.
Dr. Patel also says that ACP does a phenomenal job helping members
understand where the healthcare industry is going, and teaching
outside of classroom or day-to-day practice settings.
When Dr. Patel is not working, he enjoys teaching and working to
grow the direct primary care model in other U.S. cities. His two
sons, ages 20 and 18, are both enrolled in the Indiana University
School of Medicine Rural Health Program. The eight-year program
engages students beginning during their senior year of high school,
and keeps them on track to earn both their bachelor's degree and
medical degree. The goal of the program is for the students to
practice medicine in a rural setting when they graduate. Dr. Patel
has passed his passion for medicine onto his sons, and is doing his
part, both professionally and personally, to ensure the future of
October 2015 Issue of IMpact
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