Kalin Harding, NP, talks about her business (Surprise Care PLLC) as a medical provider in a different concept than you may be used to. If you are not insured or perhaps uninsured or have a high deductible, Surprise Care might be the best way for you to see a physician. Kalin also talks about the struggles and wins she has had as a business owner, and how moving from Indiana to Arizona has made a wonderful new way of life for her family.
Speaker 0 00:03 Welcome to the Southwest life podcast with your host, me, Vicki de Luzio, where we will talk about things to boost your health, improve your relationships, find new things to do with your family and talk with business owners in the area and more. Thanks for being here and enjoy the show.
Speaker 1 00:27 Hi, we have Kalin today and she is going to talk about surprise care. Good morning. And what do you do? Can you tell me about your background?
Speaker 2 00:38 Absolutely. So my name is Kalin Harding. I’m a family nurse practitioner and my background is in family practice. So I am certified in caring for the ages zero to a hundred and I am currently the CEO and sole provider for surprise care, which is a direct patient care medical clinic similar in a way to concierge medic medicine. Right. Um, it’s a medical model that is similar in the way of a gym membership for a low monthly fee, adults can pay 59 a month. Patients can receive clinic visits with no copays or deductibles and kids are just $10 a month with parent membership or $5 a month if you are military veteran first responder member, patients receive high quality health care services that are accessible and affordable with discounts on imaging, lab work and wholesale prices on medications with our onsite pharmacy. And so what is an NP?
Speaker 2 01:53 Can you tell me what that is? So a nurse practitioner is a registered nurse that has a master’s or a doctorate in family practice. They have to complete a master’s degree or a doctorate in the field of nursing. Many of them have tens, tens of teens of, you know, many years of practice as registered nurses. And they choose to continue their education because they want to be able to have that autonomy with their patients and they can perform many of the same things that your primary care provider can. We prescribe medications, we refill medications, we can offer small procedures, women’s health, pap pelvics, they can order labs, imaging, like I said, prescriptions. And basically they augment the existing primary care clinics. Very often there are medical doctors that employers, family nurse practitioners in their practice to help support their patient load.
Speaker 1 03:26 Yeah. So personally, um, my relationship with Kalin, I come in, um, to, uh, use Kaylin for our family. Uh, I was concerned that dimples, our youngest might’ve been diabetic. So, um, there’s just some signs that I saw. I did some research and I was concerned and I knew that if I went into our regular, uh, pediatrician’s office that we would have to take multiple stops, u go to the pediatrician, then go get a lab done. But bringing in dimples who was five at the time, Caitlyn was able to do all of the, uh, investigating here and she did the, the blood draw here instead of going to quest or another blood draw, she did it right here. So she had already like talked with dimples and formed a relationship, which was excellent because if you’ve ever had to do a blood draw on a little kid, um, that can be really traumatic. And so she was able to form that relationship with, you know, a 20 minute visit and he was fine with her. She, uh, she really had that bond because she has a younger child. Two boys. Yeah. So it was awesome because, and then she called me back with the results, not just, you know, uh, email that everything was fine. She called me back, told me everything was good and I was relieved with that news. So that was amazing. So, um, that was just like more personal experiences for alien.
Speaker 2 04:57 Very often people will talk about how, you know, essentially surprised care is here to offer medicine at the speed of your life. We are here to help you continue your day and your life. Like normal. Even if there are certain medications that you take or certain chronic diseases that you are managing, it shouldn’t keep you from living your life and getting back to what he need to do, which is caring for your family, providing for your family and being able to offer a return phone call for a lab interpretation is huge. Yeah. Very often the primary care clinics or any specialty clinics, if they are underneath a huge medical conglomerate, they will make you come back in so they can charge the insurance company, the office visit and the live interpretation. And since we don’t work with major health insurances, I can make that phone call. It’s important for me, for you to be able to get back to your life. Now you have those results, you understand what they mean and you can
Speaker 1 06:22 move on. Right. Um, so your practice is different than what we’re used to, um, these days. And you just talked about that, you know, getting, getting that call back, that you have to go back into the doctor and then having that worry that, um, what is this lab result? Cause I mean, then you’re in a panic. I have to go back into the office. What is this? You know, we’re used to having that insurance is our, our, uh, third parties. So can you talk about that? Like what is concierge medicine other than the USA T uh, USA program? Uh, I forget what that program was where they had the concierge medicine, long Island. I didn’t really watch that show, but I remember the show. Yeah, it’s escaping me. But what is concierge medicine? So
Speaker 2 07:10 basically it is a model, a medical model that can augment existing medical plans. And like I said earlier, patients are free to use their existing insurance for big things like imaging labs, prescription medications. Although we do have a small onsite pharmacy would just counter prescription medications for your convenience. The biggest difference between concierge medicine and your typical family practice is that each provider only has a four to 500 patient base, which means that I know that at the end of the day I have 450 to 500 patients that I care for directly. They have a direct access to me. They have my personal phone number, they can call me, they can text me, they can email me, they can face time. Me, they know that they always have someone besides Google to direct them in the right direction, send them in the right direction. So patients have direct access, which means patients get same day treatment or next day treatment with visits, same day, either next day with access to their provider during off hours to save them money and time.
Speaker 2 08:40 So what we’re essentially doing is we’re removing those barriers that patients often have and complain about when they do call their primary care providers. I worked for a while and retail medicine and I asked everyday the same question, do you have a primary care provider in? The answer was it doesn’t matter cause I can never get in or it doesn’t matter. I haven’t met my deductible. I have a $7,000 deductible retail medicine being like a, a small clinic medical clinic in the back of a pharmacy. So I would see 25 to 30 patients a day. We basically run the show. We do everything like the urgent care. Correct. Correct. Um, but the, the problem now is that there was a major retailer that had retail clinics. They have since pulled out. So there’s a one particular large um, pharmacy conglomerate that just merged with that now and now you have $150 or more medical visits in a small clinic in the back of a pharmacy and they have chosen to have, um, patients can register online for an appointment ahead of time.
Speaker 2 10:05 So you may show up, think you’re gonna walk right in and there’s a three hour wait and they’re full every day. Many of these patients pay cash right out and essentially it is no more affordable anymore than essentially being able to make the appointment for the primary care provider. The problem is there just aren’t enough providers for the need. And then your private, your typical primary care practice has two to 3000 patients per provider. So their, their schedules loaded up every day. However, I keep my schedule open for my patients and patients to come. I’m always making certain that I have the opportunity to care for the messages that come through for my existing patients. And then the patients that call and want to make same day appointments. And that’s what makes us very unique is that we don’t play this game of, well, we’re two weeks out.
Speaker 2 11:10 Oh you haven’t been here that long or it’s been a year since you’ve been here. Now you’re considered a new patient. Now our new patients are three to six months out. It’s a joke and it’s a game and it’s not providing the care that the American people need. And so we’re going to see these models pop up and here at surprise care as we grow, each nurse practitioner is going to care for a family of about 500 patients and that’s it. They can work from home, they can come into our onsite clinic, they can manage their patient’s care wherever they may be virtually in person. They have full autonomy practice in the state of Arizona and we are taking this privilege and honor to be able to serve those who really need it. And for that reason, this model is going to continue to grow because people are going to realize the practicality in that.
Speaker 2 12:17 I can see my doctor the same day, my nurse practitioner, I can see them the next day. I know that I don’t have to go to a specialist or a different place to get my blood drawn. I know that I can call her and she answers her phone or if they leave a message and I’ll call them back soon as I can. So those direct access perks make all the difference. And our mission aims to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare without the medical middleman so we can spend more time with patients. And so one of the things is concierge medicine. I think people hear that word and it sounds very bourgeois. So yes, it bourgeois or no? No. Okay. And that’s why we have kind of evolved into the name direct patient care or direct primary care because it doesn’t sound bougie. And so that’s what I tried to tell people is that we’re concierge medicine, but we’re affordable. You’re not paying, you know, 3000 a year for a service. Um, we’re, we’re really, um, we offer something very unique and I really believe that, um, we’re the answer to for those patients that are out there that just don’t have the resources to
Speaker 2 13:52 pay an 800 $900 bill per month for coverage, that is essentially non-existence because after paying that every month, they can’t afford their deductible and they can’t afford a simple office visit, urgent care or otherwise. And so they go untreated. Yeah. And my, my uh, favorite phrase is coverage does not equal care. You can have all the coverage in the world, but if you can’t get ahold of your doctor, you can’t get into the urgent care and your choice choices. Emergency room. That’s a serious problem. Yeah.
Speaker 2 14:33 And, and so, uh, one of the things is, uh, people have asked about is the insurance issue issue or the insurance with you, can you talk about that as well? Yes. So at surprise care, we can, like I said, augment existing medical plans. Patients are free to use flex spending account or HSA account for my services. Um, but they can choose to use insurance for big things like labs, imaging prescriptions, because a lot of patients still rely on that backup. Essentially. It’s like having a backup plan. But I, my patients are 50, 50, I’m now at about 200 patients with kids. And basically, um, what we do is we are their resource to basically get their day back, get their week back. They don’t have to take vacation days to go to the, you know, doctor, um, we’re their resource to get those same day visits, get something called in if they need to.
Speaker 2 15:49 And we’re not concerned or, uh, controlled by a large insurance company where we’re required to get the in office visit. And if we can’t bill for that, then they don’t allow providers to just call in medications or call in laboratory invitations because they are not able then to build the insurance and get their money and get paid. So it’s understandable, but I feel like we throw this 1970s model at the year 2020 and it’s no longer working. So we’re seeing patients now pull out of their employee, offered health care. Um, what would you say benefit, right? It’s no longer a benefit. Now it is too expensive. It’s unaffordable and really it’s not accessible either. So what surprise care is doing is we’re taking the primary care model and we’re making it direct and easy and affordable. We offer $20 sports physicals, $50 DLT exams, 59 a month, medical memberships, similar in a way to your gym membership, right?
Speaker 2 17:12 Get as many visits as you need to. You can call, text, whatever, FaceTime. And then kids are $10 a month with parent membership or $5 a month if they have a veteran history service history or first responder. So it’s very important for us to recognize those who need to be recognized, support them. And very recently, just to give you an example, I had a patient that contacted me last Sunday, had said, Hey, I’ve got a, uh, my lower leg is swollen, it’s painful, it’s red. I was wondering what, what I should do and instead of Googling it or you know, pulling it up on web MD, she texted me and I texted her right back. I want you to take a measurement of your calves. Yeah. I S she told me what it was. I said, I want you to go to the emergency room. And it was a valid concern. She did end up having a blood clot. And so for that reason she was so thankful that she could reach out, get a direct answer, not question whether or not she should have gone in to get those emergency services because it was well validated and she knew that she could trust my medical opinion on that.
Speaker 1 18:38 And for me, uh, so I have uh, anxiety and I came to you because my health share does not include going to a specialist for anxiety. So I cannot get that coverage. So if I go to a primary, I cannot see my specialist and have that covered. So I come to you and you’re able to do my PR, my prescription, see my visit. And so that gets covered by you. I have back coverage by, I mean, that’s how it is. So it’s a weird, it’s a weird, uh, trap that I fall into for that. So, you know, you get that coverage for me and I feel that you’re, you’re taking care of my, um, my healthcare needs and I feel, uh, very safe with you because you have my, all of my healthcare needs because I’m sure many of my listeners know that I have epilepsy too. And so I have a, I need someone who knows all of my medical history and you take the time to know that whole spectrum. I don’t need someone who’s at an urgent care to write me a prescription for that.
Speaker 2 19:46 Right. And a lot of times I’m like, we do take care of family practice. A lot of it is mental health, a lot of it anxiety, depression. Um, we also offer a support for those small businesses with seven to 10 employees or 25 to a hundred plus employees where they just cannot afford probably five to 7,000 a month just to be able to offer their employees some sort of healthcare coverage. That’s, that’s a huge bill. So we’re there for those small business owners as well to be able to offer them something that they currently didn’t have in their benefit package, which makes them even more attractive, attractive. They retain their employees because they are like, Hey, I have this great opportunity to receive healthcare for my family. And it, it, uh, we recently signed on a veteran owned company. Oh, wonderful. Yes. And it’s been, it’s been wonderful. I’ve absolutely, um, appreciated and um, you know, just really, um, been excited about being able to be there for a resource for them. That’s wonderful. That’s a wonderful thing. They have about 25 PA, they have about 25 employees. They’re growing business and I told them I’m here to grow. I write with you. That’s wonderful. Yeah.
Speaker 1 21:20 So, uh, what has been the hardest thing about being a business owner? I think
Speaker 2 21:31 being able to quantify our value without taking third party medical insurance is difficult to express to someone who’s only known. Well, I get my benefits through my employer and if I encourage them to think a little bit out of the box, I can tell them that if you really look at what you’re paying and what you’re getting, if those two things are very, very different than you, you should consider the direct primary care medical model because it will save you time and money.
Speaker 1 22:14 Yeah, absolutely. It will definitely save you headaches, that’s for sure. Um, and, and the money factor is, is definitely sure if you, especially if you have a very, very high deductible. Um, and I, you know, if you look at your taxes too, um, you of course talk to a tax professional, um, how you put your medical bills towards your taxes. You know, put all your, uh, uh, medical issues. You can even put your, uh, mileage towards your, your taxes too. But of course, talk to tax professional. I am not a tax professional. It’s just saying, um, you know, if you have everything sorted out, you should be able to put that towards your taxes. Um, I really don’t
Speaker 2 23:05 believe that we’re in an era of seeing a significant change in our healthcare system because clearly we have some representatives that are just enabled to come to a decision. And so I believe that the family practice nurse practitioner, it already has the answer, let’s cut the medical middleman all out completely. I’ll directly take care of my patients. I’ll take a small number of patients to give them the high quality direct care they deserve and we can offer employment to those family practice nurse practitioners and they can then form their bond with their four to 500 patients and feel like they have that true autonomy. And their patients are very, very happy because they understand that they’ll always be seen, they’ll always make time for them. And I truly believe that we’re going to see the opportunities for employee based healthcare insurance starts to just become so unaffordable that it’s no longer an option.
Speaker 2 24:24 What have been your biggest wins? I would say our biggest wins are those patients that come in and say, I make too much money to qualify for state insurance, help. I carry two jobs and I still cannot afford the employee offered health insurance package because it’s nearly eight to $900 a month to carry me and my family. And so they come to us and we have an answer for them and they’re so grateful. And that’s really, I truly believe that God put me here on earth to take care of my patients and help them realize that there is an alternative to the standard that we see now because it does, it’s not living up to any of my standards. So I believe that the American people should ask for more, ask for direct care and this model is the way to do it.
Speaker 1 25:32 Yeah, and I’ve seen a lot of people on Facebook, I’ve sent quite a few people your way and uh, a couple of my friends have been shouting your name and shouting it in different places. I think you probably know a couple of those as I just love seeing the change that you’ve made in surprise since you’ve moved here. And so I’m always really huge. I love this. I love it. I love it. And just all the care that we’ve, we’ve, uh, been provided in our family, so to hear that. So I appreciate you being here with us today and thank you for everything that you’re doing and I love how you’ve been growing and thank you. April 1st will be our year anniversary. I believe it’s only been a year, so much lighter than that. I know, I will say
Speaker 2 26:21 my family and I have moved here from a little town called Plymouth, Indiana and long winters and a nurse practitioners currently don’t have full practice independency in there. So moving out where um, Arizona where we have full practice privileges and opening up this clinic was chasing a dream and it’s certainly a heartburn producing . However, we have the city of surprise to think, uh, we are located within the AC tech selarator and their whole goal is to be here for those up and coming small businesses because the majority of employment comes from those small businesses. And so I think it’s so important to the health of our city to have this sort of resource. My vision is surprise care, Peoria, surprise care, Litchfield, park supplies, surprise care, Marley park. I really envision each practitioner caring for their family of 500 and eventually this model being the standard that we deserve. That would be a wonderful, wonderful thing. Well, thank you so much for having me.