I am a Lucky Physician. My Job Allows Me to Take Great Care of My Patients While Having a Life Outside of Work.
At CenterWell Senior Primary Care I can do the work I love while finding work-life balance
By Tamea Evans, M.D., Physician, CenterWell Senior Primary Care, Kentucky
At my previous job at a medical practice in Louisville, I was literally killing myself trying to do right by my patients. During office hours, my schedule was filled with dozens of patient visits, and I never had enough time in my day to get my work done even when working late into the night. I was not alone in feeling overworked and unable to give my patients the time they deserved. According to a study from the University of Chicago, physicians would need nearly 27 hours each day just to provide guideline-recommended primary care—obviously an impossibility.
Then came the pandemic, and I knew I needed a change. I needed more of a work-life balance.
I am so grateful to have found a new way to practice medicine at CenterWell Senior Primary Care that helps me be more effective at my job and ensures that I can get all my work done during the day, leave the office at a reasonable hour and be fully present for my family when I’m home. What a difference that has made in my life!
You may be asking, how is that possible? It’s achievable with CenterWell’s care team approach. Doctors, nurses, resource coordinators, behavioral specialists, clinicians and administrative staff work together to provide comprehensive and personalized care to our seniors. Because of all that support, I’m able to have a far smaller patient panel than is typical and, therefore, have more time with my patients – up to 40 minutes a visit. That extended time is critical for building a trusting relationship with my patients and allowing me to address their questions and concerns.
The extra time during visits and the support of other care team specialists is particularly important when caring for the older, often medically-complex patients we treat. For instance, one of my patients is severely diabetic, but because of a serious mental health condition has difficulty complying with her treatment, presenting huge risks including potential kidney failure or a cardiovascular event. Members of our care team check in with her regularly to assess her status and offer support. During a recent appointment, with the help of the behavioral health specialist on staff, we were able to facilitate an inpatient stay at a psychiatric hospital to treat her mental health condition which will also enable better control of her diabetes.
With an integrated team that surrounds the patient with care, we’re also able to learn more about the social and economic factors affecting a patient’s health and can help address those issues which may include social service needs such as food, housing and transportation assistance. Not many practices have the bandwidth and resources to provide that type of whole-person care.
Collaborating with a care team has made my job so much more rewarding. Among the many benefits of working at CenterWell, these factors stand out to me:
- Mission-driven care: CenterWell believes in the importance of senior-focused primary care and going beyond basic medical care to help seniors stay as healthy as possible and thrive as they age. Our value-based model encourages and rewards the treatment of medically-complex patients, providing the resources necessary for successful outcomes. To me, the medical complexity of my patients and having a care team to help support them makes my job both interesting and gratifying.
- Balance: The care team support not only benefits my patients, but it sustains me as well. I feel more effective at my job while also knowing that there are others on staff providing patient care, so the responsibility doesn’t rely solely on me. I can go home at night and leave my caseload at the office, confident my patients are being well taken care of by the team. It has renewed my passion for practicing medicine.
- Care: Patients are so grateful that we spend the amount of time with them that we do. They aren’t used to having a physician sit and listen to them talk about their life and their goals, beyond their medical conditions. Having that time with patients has been so different from my past practice experiences where I was always feeling rushed and behind schedule, and patients would be frustrated because they weren’t getting the attention they needed. It’s wonderful to be able to give them that time and attention.
- Growth: CenterWell Senior Primary Care is part of Humana’s Primary Care Organization, which also includes Conviva Care Center. CenterWell Senior Primary Care is part of the nation’s largest senior-focused primary care network, which also includes Conviva Care Center. The network includes nearly 260 centers across 15 states with ongoing expansion. This growth provides me with the opportunity to work in different locations and for my fellow physicians to experience the benefits of working for an organization that supports a care team model.
I would encourage anyone looking for a change and would like to practice truly effective and rewarding medicine, to take a tour of our centers and talk with our providers to get a better understanding of how we deliver primary care. You’ll find that CenterWell does a great job of caring for patients while providing physicians the work-life balance we need.