A new practice in the Olive Branch Old Towne is providing a new way of thinking about medical care.
Dr. Wendy Ballenger has opened CharMed Direct Primary Care and has been opened since the end of August, providing internal medicine, pediatrics and osteopathic medicine for the Mid-South.
With the name of Direct Primary Care, Ballenger’s practice gives patients high-quality medical care without the complexities of dealing with insurance co-pays and deductibles, she said.
“It’s the model that was there before insurance started to take such a interest in everybody’s every day activities,” Ballenger said. “Basically, you pay a low monthly membership fee and then you have access to me pretty much 24/7, via phone, text or email. You get all of your preventative care for this low monthly fee. If you get the flu, you don’t pay any co-pays or anything like that. You may have to pay additional for a lab but it will be at a very low cost.”
Ballenger said she was not aware of any other physician in the Mid-South that provides direct primary care as the means of billing and coverage. She noted the move to government health care under former president Barack Obama aided in the direct primary care idea becoming a more-accepted means of service.
“It’s been around for several years, but there’s a lot of doctors who went to this model, especially with the Obamacare era,” Ballenger said. “Insurance has made it very hard to be a physician. Everybody is really interested in it. They like the model, they think it sounds smart. They understand the value.”
Ballenger believes she can provide her patients the care that centers more on the the patients’ needs and not the available time of the doctor.
“Instead of me having just 15 minutes with a patient, if you think you need an hour with me you’ll have it,” said Ballenger. “When I top out at 400-600 patients, that’ll be it and you will have my focus. All 400 people, unless there’s some weird epidemic, are not going to need me at the same time.”
As a doctor of internal medicine and pediatrics, Ballenger’s practice provides preventative care basically from birth to death, although her website noted she cannot take Medicare patients as of now.
As board certified in Osteopathic Medicine, she uses OMT (osteopathic manipulative therapy/treatment), which is a gentle treatment used to realign the spine, muscles, soft tissues. lymphatic system, sinuses, etc which can help multiple medical issues.
Ballenger admits osteopathic medicine may seem similar to chiropractic medicine, but said they are different in their approach.
“As osteopaths, we believe that if you are in correct anatomical position, you are better able to not only fight disease, but if you have to take medicine, you are better able to use those medicines for the disease,” said Ballenger. “It’s a better way to help you not ever get that disease. I really like that philosophy.”
For more information about CharMed Direct Primary Care, call Dr. Ballenger at 662-222-6724 or email DrB@charmeddpc.com. The practice is also found online at charmeddpc.com or on Facebook at Charmed Direct Primary Care. Ballenger’s office is located at 7148 Kerr Street Place in Olive Branch.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.