EASLEY — A new medical practice is open for business in Easley that’s taking a more hand on approach to encouraging healthy living styles.
“I’ve been a family doctor at Liberty Family Care from 2000 until this past December and I used to do the ‘traditional’ family medicine,” said Dr. Lori Carnsew. “But over the past 17 years that’s just sort of gone away as healthcare’s transformed.”
Red tape, insurance requirements and bureaucracy were preventing Carnsew from doing what she truly loved — helping people.
“I was to the point where I had to see more patients to make the same money, I had to click more boxes on the computer, my staff was inundated with prior-authorizations, referrals and so much more paperwork,” she said. “I was really burned out and a couple of years ago I just got to the point where my job was a chore. I loved my patients, but the job wasn’t the same.”
Frustrated with limited one-on-one patient time and an inability to affect real change with her patients, Carnsew decided to take a new approach to medicine.
“I found the direct primary care model,” she said. “It’s a membership model that takes insurance out of it, it takes Medicare out of it, it takes Medicaid out of it and it goes back to me working directly for patients.”
In following the new model, her overhead for business costs dropped from 65 percent down to less than 30 percent — which in turn allowed her to offer substantially lower prices to her patients.
“I can charge less because I don’t have to have a coder, I don’t have to have a biller. I don’t have to have someone to pull all the reports out of the computer and send them in to insurance companies,” she said.
Verity Primary Medicine and Lifestyle opened Jan. 31 and Carnsew already has nearly 40 new patients signed on.
“The ‘lifestyle’ part is something I started 10 years ago,” Carnsew said. “I was always told that diabetes is progressive, heart disease is progressive. I mean, people get when they’re 40 or 50 and then every few years you add another pill. Every few years you have another procedure — and people never get any better.”
Carnsew said she came across some data on lifestyle medicine using food to combat traditionally progressive diseases.
“I really started pushing it with my diabetics — eat more fruits, eat more vegetables — and lo and behold, I started lowering blood pressure medicine, diabetes medicines, people’s (blood) sugars were coming down,” she said. “That’s when I started the lifestyle classes.”
Carnsew said her classes needed a little fine-tuning at first, but she has since found her stride.
“I was delivering the classes lecture-style and the information was good, but it just wasn’t working. People were dropping out, people fell asleep during class. I needed something different,” she said.
Once she held her first cooking demonstration, Carnsew knew she had found her niche.
“Suddenly people were involved. It was hands on, it was fun,” she said. “Instead of people just sitting there for a lecture, they were learning how to cut up an avocado …”
Carnsew asserts the majority of her patients stick with the healthy lifestyle changes and have reported everything from weight loss to reduced usage of prescribed medications.
The lifestyle classes consist of eight week sessions with one hour a week classes and are held at the office located in Old Market Square at 118 South Pendleton Street.
Call Verity Primary Medicine at 864-306-4599 for more information.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.