Podcast Episode 1 |  Direct Primary Care

With Dr. Jessica Mendelsohn, Owner of New South Family Medicine

About the WCW Podcast

The White Coat Wellness podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentist to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice.

Shane Tenny, CFP® is our podcast host and Partner at SDT. He has lectured numerous times for hospitals and physician groups and, most importantly, helped hundreds of clients develop strategies to navigate through turbulent times toward their financial goals.

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Intro: 00:02 From Spaugh Dameron Tenny, it's White Coat Wellness, a show for doctors who are ready to improve their financial wellness. We know you work hard to help your patients, but you can't be at your best if you don't have your own finances in order. In White Coat Wellness, we highlight real life stories from physicians and dentists to educate, encourage, and inspire you to personal, professional, and financial wellness. Now, from Spaugh Dameron Tenny, please welcome your host, Shane Tenny.

Shane Tenny: 00:31 Welcome to the inaugural edition of White Coat Wellness. I am Shane Tenny and really looking forward to our time together today and each episode, to share with you some pretty compelling stories of physicians and dentists. Since this is our first edition, I realized it might be helpful to just share a little context with you about what's inspired us to start this podcast.

Shane Tenny: 00:54 Our firm, Spaugh Dameron Tenny, has provided personal financial advice to the medical and dental communities for a couple decades now, and we're constantly helping clients, your colleagues, and amazed at the vision, dedication, the humor, the discipline, and the courage that we see in them, in you, in caring for their patients and in bringing financial wellness to their families.

Shane Tenny: 01:20 So we decided it's high time to start highlighting some of their stories to help educate, inspire, or encourage you in your journey, and financial decision making. Today, I'm really excited to bring to you as our lead off hitter, a dear friend and client for the last 12 years, Dr. Jessica Mendelsohn. You may seen her featured in our email newsletter or through some social media sites. Jessica is board certified in family medicine and is the proud owner of New South Family Medicine in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Shane Tenny: 01:54 Today we want to share with you a little bit of her story and the journey from working with one of the nation's largest healthcare systems to opening her own practice as a pioneer in direct primary care. Jessica, thanks and welcome for being here as our first podcast guest.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 02:11 Thank you so much for having me.

Shane Tenny: 02:13 Yeah, excited about this and candidly, a little nervous on my side. I don't know how you're feeling but.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 02:19 A little of the same, yes.

Shane Tenny: 02:20 Well, I thought, we've known each other for a long time and I find your story really compelling and exciting. I'm confident our listeners will, too, so why don't you just throw the net wide, tell us where you started. How'd you get started in medicine? What attracted you to the field? Why'd you decide to do this instead of whatever, veterinarian or firefighter or architect?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 02:42 I have wanted to be a physician since i was five. I remember at Christmas, with my family, that was the only thing I ever wanted to do. We would talk about it consistently, all through my formative years, if you will. For a little while, I thought maybe I would go into engineering. My parents mentioned a few times there was a paucity of women in engineering, so I talk calculus and physics and couldn't stand either one of them, and loved my AP biology class and that was that. I got a degree in biology and went to medical school and the rest is history.

Shane Tenny: 03:22 Where'd you go to medical school and where'd you train?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 03:25 My undergrad is from Virginia Tech, I have a BS in Biology from Virginia Tech, and I went to Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, which is close to where I grew up in Virginia Beach, so that was nice to be close to home for med school. I moved to Charlotte for my training and I trained at CMC Main, and their family medicine department, and stayed on with Atrium for many years afterwards and have stayed in the area. Met my husband in residency training and we both have practiced here since.

Shane Tenny: 03:58 And so what have been, if you think back to the early years, I know residency is a challenge for all the reason that residency's a challenge, but once you got into practice, what were some of the highs and lows that you remember, that you Dave walked through together?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 04:14 That's a very good question. I think going from such an acute setting in residency where it's so intense all the time, to then managing your own panel of patients and understanding that it doesn't have to always be so acute all the time, and as one of my mentors said to me many years ago, being able to sit back and enjoy the relationship with your patients and learning how to tune out a lot of other things to be able to sit into a room and really connect with people. I think that takes a little bit of time and finesse and experience to be able to do.

Shane Tenny: 04:59 You're saying that going from residency into practice and beginning to have your own patient base, and manage those was a learning curve, which I guess felt like a real high to you, and the next level of your professional advancement?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 05:15 Sure. I think when, and anyone who goes into medicine will understand this, you work so hard at each level of education to get to that next level of education. So, you know you want to be a doctor, so in undergrad, you work so hard to get to med school. Then in med school, you work so hard to get the residency that you want. In residency, you work so hard to get the either fellowship or the career that you want, and all of a sudden, "Okay, here you go. Here's the real world" and navigating that and figuring that out, and figuring out where you see yourself through that process is exciting and challenging all at the same time.

Shane Tenny: 05:59 What parts of that transition began to, or did, at what point did you begin to be aware of just the stress that comes with being a practicing physician where the buck stops with you and the patients? There's no more attending behind you to double check your work.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 06:15 Right. I think that I was very well prepared for the medicine aspect of it. I felt very comfortable after I finished my training at CMC, to have the confidence and the ability to manage a lot of different situations. What's interesting is I think especially in family medicine, again, you're that stepchild every step of the way through residency, but when you get there, "Gosh, how do I manage that kid's ear infection? I'm used to the acute MI," you know?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 06:49 Being able to dial it back and manage some of the day-to-day stuff that you see in family medicine takes a little bit of adjusting to. I was very fortunate to be in a large group of wonderful physicians that were very helpful and we were all right there for each other and able to ask questions, and I did that a lot my first year or two.

Shane Tenny: 07:11 And what about personally, as your schedule fills up with your practice and your patients? I think it was pretty shortly after you finished your training that you and Dave got married, right?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 07:23 It was probably two years, yes.

Shane Tenny: 07:27 So how did that change life a little bit?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 07:30 Well, he finished just a little ahead of me, he was one year ahead of me so I got to see a glimpse of it while he was starting his practice, and I'll say that one of the things I love so much about family medicine is the continuity and when I started to see people over and over again, and knew them and knew them well and started to meet their families, it got a little easier. It felt more like my comfort zone, if you will, but then you are settling down and you're getting married and you're thinking about, "Where do we want to live? Where do we see our future? Is it the same place where we work?" Some of that personal stuff coincides and changes.

Shane Tenny: 08:14 Did that feel like a period to you, again, of just excitement and life unfolding? Or, did it feel, do you look back at that and remember it with stress or?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 08:27 No, no stress.

Shane Tenny: 08:28 No stress?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 08:28 Exciting. It was fun. We were able to do whatever it is that we chose to do at that point. When I decided to go into medicine, I knew I would have a lot of student loans. I knew I was going to have a lot of debt, and I lived off beans and rice for many years, if you will. To be able to have a little bit of freedom to do some things that I hadn't really been able to do when I was younger was exciting, and to do it with a person that I fell in love with was really awesome. It was fun.

Shane Tenny: 09:03 And you bring up some good points, which is we often hear about the magnitude of student loans and such a high percentage of folks coming into the field of medicine have significant student loans, and then just the myriad of their decisions that need to be made as your income changes and buying houses and those sorts of things. As you look back, what strike you as either decisions that you feel like, "Yeah, that was really good and really helped us get started" or you look back and said, "Oh, my gosh, if Dave and I had to do it over again, we'd do something differently?"

Dr. Mendelsohn: 09:34 Yeah. I don't know that there's a lot we would do differently. I think we had some great guidance from you, really and truly. I had always lived very independently in terms of wanting to make sure that I wasn't reliant on anyone else's finances, I guess you could say. In terms of just getting started, I think we spent our money on the things that were important to us at the time, and still remain important to us.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 10:05 I don't look back and say, "I wish we had done something differently" because we really enjoyed being newly married and having the freedom, both financially and with our time, to be able to do the things we wanted to do. That's changed over the years of course, but it was nice to have that for the first time, be able to travel. I had never left the country before, so it was great.

Shane Tenny: 10:29 And how'd you find the balance between that, just doing things that we've been wanting to do for a while, but also making decisions that we know are the new adult decisions that we need to be making?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 10:40 Right. We met with you twice a year.

Shane Tenny: 10:44 These can't be self-serving questions.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 10:46 No, I know. Really and truly, though, you were a wonderful guide for us through that experience, and again, I think I've never really lived super lavishly, so that wasn't an expectation. To me, the important things were experiences and travel and so you helped us figure out how to budget that and make that what we spent our money on at the time.

Shane Tenny: 11:10 And so as you and Dave began thinking about having a family and having kids, talk a little bit about that journey and then, just I guess the complexity that begins to add to life.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 11:23 Yes, well as you well know, it was not part of our plan in the beginning. We weren't sure we wanted children, we didn't really know what that was going to look like, so we were a little late to the game. Then, when we decided that we did want a family, we had a hard time. I think that is something that probably a lot of female physicians can relate to as well. You work so hard for your career, you don't want to give it up, but you also want a family and you have to learn how to balance that.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 11:58 It took us a while and we eventually had our first son, Charlie, when I was in my mid 30s, and our second son, Henry, just a couple of years ago. It's been awesome.

Shane Tenny: 12:15 It's awesome, and it adds another-

Dr. Mendelsohn: 12:16 And I'm really tired.

Shane Tenny: 12:18 Yeah, it adds another thing to juggle. How'd you do that? How did life feel like it was shifting? As you had not just your marriage but, "I've got work, I've got patients, I've got two boys." That's a lot.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 12:28 Yeah, it is. I remember a conversation that Dave and I had regularly before we had the boys. It was if I'm going to leave my boys with someone else, or at the time, if I get pregnant and we have a child and we're blessed enough to go through that in life, I want to make sure that I have the time with them that I want. I don't want to look back and say, "I really wish I had done things differently" or, "I really wish I had spent more time with my kids."

Dr. Mendelsohn: 13:00 I don't want to look back at having children with any regrets of missing out on things. So, that's when a lot of my priorities started to shift.

Shane Tenny: 13:10 Yeah. Talk a little bit about that. Is that when you started thinking of a different work situation, or different work environment? What were the options that you and Dave contemplated together?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 13:21 Yeah, so it was always, "Right, we get up every day at 5:30, we leave the house by 6:15, I'm at my office by 6:45, I start seeing patients at 8:00, and that's what we do." Again, I knew something needed to change if we were going to have children. I initially went part time. I was one of the first people to jobshare in my practice and so that took some getting used to, I think for all of us, at the time.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 13:54 I was also very involved in administrative work and physician leadership, and so some of that morphed and changed as well when Charlie came along. I found that my balance was getting much more difficult. I found that even with being part time, just amount of work to do almost was more difficult when I wasn't at the office. So, when I was with Charlie, I didn't feel like I was really with Charlie. My mind was in other places, and I didn't want that. It was starting to become what I had said I didn't want it to become.

Shane Tenny: 14:35 So then what happened?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 14:37 So I thought, "What is next? What do I want to do? Is this where I want to be?" I had been in my practice, again, for over eight years, and many aspects of it I loved and as time morphed and medicine changed, a lot of it wasn't about the patient care that I went into medicine for. So then I coupled that with, "Well, I'm doing all of this work to also not be with my son so what is it I'm passionate about? What is it I really enjoy?" And that's patient care.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 15:13 I had had a long interest in hospice, based on some personal experiences, and a dear colleague was working for hospice. So I started to ask him questions and reconnect with him and low and behold, they were looking for somebody part time, so I kind of took a leap and left, and worked with them.

Shane Tenny: 15:40 That is a leap.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 15:41 It's a huge leap.

Shane Tenny: 15:42 I remember the conversations around that. What, as you look back on it, what were the discussions that you and Dave had? What were some of the thoughts around just discussing the risks and then what gave you the courage to take the leap?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 16:00 Right. Well, what gave me the courage to take the leap definitely was Dave. He has been supportive through all of this, as you know, and I don't know that I would have fully been able to do that number one, if I didn't have his support. And number two, frankly, if I didn't have yours. We made some I think smart financial decisions, because you guided us in that direction, and so from a financial standpoint, we were in a situation where we were able to do that. Not everyone can say that. Very well aware that I am where I am right now because of those decisions that we made when we were younger.

Shane Tenny: 16:43 Well, I want to hear what happened next, right after we get back from this break.

Will Koster: 16:46 I'm Will Koster, and on this episode's White Coat Wisdom, we're talking student loans. When it comes to student loans, we get a lot of questions about income driven repayment plans. A wise man once told me, "Don't confuse the easy choice with the right choice." Let me explain what I mean in this context. If you're in the process of repaying your student loans, you've likely seen an income driven repayment plan request form.

Will Koster: 17:12 Question two on the current form asks you to choose a plan and it has a couple different acronyms for the different IDR options. The first option, which says recommended by the way, reads, "I want the income driven repayment plan with the lowest monthly payment." Now, this is the easy choice. Choosing this option leaves the decision of your IDR plan in the hands of your loan servicer. It's like letting the car dealership decide how you want to pay for your new car. It may not be the right choice.

Will Koster: 17:42 I know the form is complicated, I've walked through it with people myself. It looks a lot like a tax form and it can be very complicated, but take the time to figure out which option is right for you, based on your specific situation and your goals. Choosing the right IDR plan could mean the difference of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. With White Coat Wisdom, I'm Will Koster.

Shane Tenny: 18:07 All right, so the jump to hospice. What happened next?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 18:12 I have been with hospice for the last five years and have been on and off involved. I did locums with the hospital system, with Atrium, for a little while when I left, because I didn't want to stop practicing family medicine but I found it to be really though walking into new situations every week.

Shane Tenny: 18:36 Locums, you mean?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 18:37 Yes. While it was all within the system, I found myself not necessarily wanting to be away from Charlie that frequently. I worked two days a week at hospice and then got a phone call from one of my previous practice managers who had started doing some work in the palliative care department at the hospital system and asked if I would be interested in a position, physician leadership position, surrounding advanced care planning.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 19:11 Is that something that I would want to do? Which would be to lead a group of nurses and social workers and educate physicians on how to best have a goals of care conversations. I thought, "Wow, what a great opportunity to marry both family medicine and primary care and hospice, and sort of see that full spectrum of having that conversation with younger, healthier people."

Dr. Mendelsohn: 19:39 At the same time, we were trying for our second child, and I went and interviewed, and got the job and found out I was pregnant with Henry right about the same time. So, that was an interesting moment in my career, because I've never not ... I haven't had that crossroads completely within literally a week.

Shane Tenny: 20:04 And?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 20:04 Got the job and left. Temporarily. When Henry was born. We also found out that he has Tetralogy of Fallot which is a complex congenital heart disease, while I was pregnant. We knew that he would need open heart surgery at some point in his early life, and it was very difficult to determine, "Okay, where am I going to be? Can I leave him? What if he has a tet spell? I don't want it to be with someone he doesn't know."

Dr. Mendelsohn: 20:37 I stayed out of work completely for about six months, but when he had his surgery and thankfully did very well with it, I was compelled to go back.

Shane Tenny: 20:48 And so when you went back, what did you go back to?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 20:52 I went back to both hospice and my position with the hospital system with your carrier choice, which was the Advanced Care Planning Group. As I continued to balance those two things, I started to think a lot about what I was educating physicians on. I was meeting with family medicine physicians to talk with them about including goals of care conversations with their patients and I found myself saying a lot to people, "I've been in your shoes, this is what I used to do" and then thinking, "Why am I not doing this anymore? I miss it. I really miss the continuity, the long term relationships with patients, the young healthy people," the planning, if you will, both for as you plan for finances, to me a lot of family medicine is planning for your future care. I really started to miss that.

Shane Tenny: 21:49 So somewhere in there I think you discovered DPC?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 21:53 I did. I knew if I went back to family medicine, I did not want to go back to mountains of paperwork and 15 minute visits and not really knowing my patients on the level I wanted to know them. I feel like I wanted to be an advocate for them, which is what I felt like I was in hospice. I was in advocate for those patients and it was a full team approach. I discovered DPC or Direct Primary Care, really you know about concierge, but you don't really know the nuances and differences.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 22:34 A colleague of mine from medicine school has a DPC practice in Kentucky. Another colleague from residency was just opening up her practice, and someone else, so really there were three different women that were wonderful mentors for me, had recently opened a DPC practice as well. So I reached out to the three of them and learned more about it and thought, "Okay, I can do this." And I did.

Shane Tenny: 23:02 You want to give them a little shout out here for helping you learn the ropes?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 23:07 Absolutely. Dr. Molly Rutherford is just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. Stacey Searson owns The Art of Health on East Boulevard in Charlotte, and Amanda Pennington owns Pennington Primary Care in Rock Hill, South Carolina. So thank you ladies, you've been wonderful.

Shane Tenny: 23:24 And so describe for folks that may be listening and maybe know the words direct primary care, but not much about it. Describe it a little bit. What's unique about that style of practice, what's that involve?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 23:36 Right. Direct primary care is directly, it's a membership based model that is between physician and patient and that's it. I do not contract with any third parties or insurance companies and patients pay a monthly fee for my services. So, anything that I do in my office is included in their monthly fee, so the difference between DPC and concierge is that in concierge medicine you pay a premium to be a patient at a particular practice and then at each visit, your insurance is billed. Just like it would be at any other office.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 24:15 In direct primary care, that part is eliminated, so any visit is included in your membership. If you have a laceration and need that repaired, if you have your diabetes check and need that evaluated. If it's time for your physical appointment and you need to come in, if you have strep or the flu and you need to come in, all of that's covered under your monthly fee.

Shane Tenny: 24:38 And you started the practice when?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 24:41 January I opened.

Shane Tenny: 24:42 January, six months ago?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 24:44 Six months ago.

Shane Tenny: 24:45 And so what's it like? Describe those months leading up to January and describe those first couple of months.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 24:53 The months leading up to January were a tremendous learning experience and a lot of that is because now I'm not only the physician, but I'm a small business owner. I think that really has been a humbling experience in terms of what is important in the practice and how I want it shaped, and what my goals are. Because I'm not employed by a hospital system. I don't have some of those resources. I also don't have some of those headaches either, but now I own a business and obviously I'm much more invested and want it to succeed, because it's on me and me alone.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 25:33 For the very first time in my life, I learned about commercial real estate, I learned about what it means to walk into a cold, dark shell and have to design a building, and work with contractors and then at the same time, moving these other pieces in terms of all encompassing primary care. So, what does it mean to be CLIA certified? Well, I knew that had something to do with the lab, but I didn't know exactly what that was.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 26:04 Learning all of those basic pieces as well. I will say the direct primary care community has been one of the most supportive group of physicians I've ever encountered. I think part of that is because it's become a movement, and we want it to succeed. We want all DPC docs to succeed and for this to become more of the norm. The DPC Alliance and the folks at AtlasMD in Kansas, and just physicians all around the country are open and willing to talk and share their experiences and because of that, us new folks are more successful and more prepared as we open to speak to, but it's been really cool.

Shane Tenny: 26:52 Listening to you describe what was attractive to you about the model, and you said less paperwork and not locked into 15 minute appointments, 40 patients a day, that sort of thing. I can envision it from the patient side. What's the, now that you've been doing it for six months, you've been seeing patients, you've been having folks sign up, you have I think over 100 folks that are now members of your practice and growing rapidly, what does it feel like as the provider when you walk in, when somebody schedules an appointment, comes in to see you? Describe that patient encounter now and your outlook as you face the day, versus traditional type family medicine?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 27:39 Right. It's much more relaxed. It's much more personal. I'm able to really sit down and get to know their people. Their first visit's an hour, typically. I've had an hour and a half visit, and it's okay. I think that's the difference, is that in my old practice, if I had a patient I knew was going to take longer, it was really difficult and I knew that was going to put me behind for the rest of the day.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 28:04 Whereas now, I schedule that. I know who I need more time with, and most of the time I've spoken with them on the phone at least twice before their first visit, to help them understand direct primary care, where it saves money, the value in it and what it means fully, in addition to some of their medical issues and what their concerns are, and what they want to get out of our relationship. They fully understand the model and what it means before they come in that first visit, so it makes it a lot more relaxed, and we're able to really, really focus on the things that are important to them.

Shane Tenny: 28:43 What's a typical patient profile that you are seeing, that are attracted to your type of practice in the suburbs of Charlotte, where you operate?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 28:55 Right. I have all sorts of types of patients. I have patients with no insurance, I have patients with very high deductible plans, and they see the value in DPC and the accessibility. I have people who work, I have people who don't work. I have two year olds, and I have, I think my oldest patient is 78. So, I think one of the things, especially being in the suburbs of Charlotte, that can be concerning, is what does that patient population look like? Are they all young and healthy? What variety are you seeing? What is your demographic, if you will? I have found that it's everyone. It's everyone. I love that about it.

Shane Tenny: 29:41 It's really crossing-

Dr. Mendelsohn: 29:42 It's crossing everything.

Shane Tenny: 29:42 ... a lot of lines, yeah.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 29:44 Yeah, so all demographics and to me that, was very important.

Shane Tenny: 29:50 Since our podcast here, White Coat Wellness, touches on financial wellness, I guess how does that intersect with your story? Or where do you see that concept of not just physical wellness, which is your area, but just financial wellness? Where do you see those two things coming together for you and your family?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 30:09 I think to touch on patient care, too, one of the places where I have found that financial ... I think DPC in general is very helpful for people once they understand the model. Because it can save families just such a significant amount of money every year in their healthcare dollars and their cost. So, part of what's important to me is knowing that financially, we're in a position to be able to do this.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 30:39 I really like the transparency of direct primary care. When I talk to people that walk through those doors, I talk to them about insurance options. I talk with them about saving money and where their healthcare dollars are going, how much money they're spending specifically, and how we're able to save that for them, help them navigate the healthcare system, because as you know, it's so complex and so difficult.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 31:04 Having the time to be able to do that so that they're not spending more money than they need to be, but also getting valuable care. That to me, has been one of the most important pieces of DPC for my patients. Subsequently, it dawned on Dave and me, "Why aren't we doing this?" But really and truly to have made decisions to have the ability to open the practice and know that I'm doing good for the community, for people who maybe didn't have a doctor, who couldn't afford to go to the doctor, because every time they went, it was $300. They would live in the urgent care when they needed care. It allows them the continuity and again, I could talk about it all day. It's just so important to medicine.

Shane Tenny: 31:54 You know what I'm hearing, and tell me if I'm mishearing you, but what's really striking me is how your own financial wellness has enabled you to provide now to your community a service that breeds their financial wellness. Is that too great a stretch?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 32:17 No, I like it. It's true. I have two small businesses that I work with who haven't been able to provide their employees with any sort of healthcare for decades. Now, I see somebody every week and make sure they have the things that they need. While I can't prevent the cost when it goes beyond primary care, the vast majority of them don't need that that often, and when they do, they know I will help them through it. But gosh, they're saving so much money and now they're healthier, because they have a physician they can call and talk to about what they need. It's really cool.

Shane Tenny: 32:57 Thinking too that there must have been, and there were a lot of decisions that you and Dave made early in your adulting and professional lives that came out of discipline, and just decision around the planning you made and, "Okay, this is what we need to do, the decisions we need to make financially to prepare for the future" and none of us, me or you, knew what was coming. But those decisions early gave you the flexibility to do something that was really important to you a decade later.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 33:32 Yeah, absolutely. Our conversations over the last year have been about that. It's fun to sit at a table and have the relationship with you such that I can tell you're genuinely excited about it, too. It's fun to talk about the possibilities and how we can open this up and make it accessible to people. Yeah, it's been really neat to see those financial decisions from a decade ago come to fruition.

Shane Tenny: 34:07 Right, even before retirement, they're coming to fruition.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 34:10 Absolutely.

Shane Tenny: 34:12 So, what would you, thinking back to your training, your residency self, what ideas, thoughts, advice would you have for the person in family medicine or internal medicine or primary care, thinking about that career trajectory? Maybe they're heaving about the DPC movement, to use your words. What sort of thoughts, suggestions, advice would you have for someone in those shoes?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 34:41 I think it's important to recognize that at least ... And I know this about myself. Know yourself. Know what your strengths are, what your maybe weaknesses are, and where you need help. I knew that I've spent so much time focusing on medicine that there's no way I was going to be able to plan for my retirement by myself. How can I be financially successful when I'm not exactly sure what that even looks like?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 35:09 So, for us, and Dave was very much that way also, we knew we needed someone to help us with our comprehensive financial plan. I feel very grateful that we did that early and asked questions, and had somebody that we could trust. I mean, I'm giving you all kinds of compliments right now, Shane.

Shane Tenny: 35:30 Yeah, this is very self-serving. I'm really pleased with this line of questioning.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 35:34 But it really is true. I think know your strengths, know your weaknesses, know where you need help and surround yourself with people you trust. I have done that from the time I started my career and still do that.

Shane Tenny: 35:47 And what about from the perspective, not just of your own financial preparedness, and I think what you were addressing there, but for folks that are getting ready to start their careers in medicine in the specialty you're in, and previously were thinking, "Oh, I guess there's one path to do that" and now maybe they're listening to this podcast and realizing, "Oh, there's other ways-

Dr. Mendelsohn: 36:11 Yeah, there's lots of different [crosstalk 00:36:13].

Shane Tenny: 36:12 .... but I don't know anything about business, I don't know anything about this." Any thoughts for those folks?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 36:17 Yeah, I don't know anything about business, either. No really and truly, I think again, I always go back to surround yourself with people you trust and that you can ask questions of, and don't feel trapped. Don't feel like there's only one place you can be and in doing that, know that things evolve and things change. For me, I knew early on that I always wanted to be in a financial situation where if I was going to make a change, if I was going to make a big life change, I would be okay.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 36:55 That's so incredibly important, especially ... And I think for myself, I watched my parents not make those decisions so I knew growing up that was a very important piece of adulting, if you will. Surround yourself with people you trust and make sure you have help where you need it. Did I answer your question? [crosstalk 00:37:20].

Shane Tenny: 37:20 I think so, yeah. For folks that might be listening that think, "I'd really like to talk with her."

Dr. Mendelsohn: 37:28 Come on by.

Shane Tenny: 37:28 It sounds like you're part of a ... You're open to that?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 37:31 Absolutely.

Shane Tenny: 37:32 How do people get in touch with you? How do they track you down?

Dr. Mendelsohn: 37:35 My practice is New South Family Medicine. I'm in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and located in Kingsley Town Center. Info@newsouthfamilymedicine.com comes directly to me, and my website is NewSouthFamilyMedicine.com. I've made it very easy.

Shane Tenny: 37:57 I like it. I like it.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 37:58 And again, I've said many times, I have had a lot of support and a lot of help and a lot of guidance, and to me, it's paying that forward and I'm happy and willing to help anyone who's interested in changing their career path, if they feel like they need to-

Shane Tenny: 38:17 That is super [crosstalk 00:38:18].

Dr. Mendelsohn: 38:18 ... and talk DPC anytime.

Shane Tenny: 38:20 Well, on behalf of everyone listening, I thank you so much for coming in today, for sharing your story, for your openness, and I'm super excited about the next decade for you-

Dr. Mendelsohn: 38:30 Well, thank you.

Shane Tenny: 38:31 ... and what the future holds. So, thanks.

Dr. Mendelsohn: 38:32 Thank you. I appreciate you having me.

Shane Tenny: 38:33 Absolutely.

Will Koster: 38:38 On this episode's White Coat Achievements, a segment that highlights noteworthy achievements by your friends and colleagues, we wanted to take the opportunity to shout out a surgeon who is doing his part in helping fight the opioid crisis that is occurring in our country. Dr. Nady Hamid is an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCarolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, specializing in shoulder and elbow reconstruction surgery.

Will Koster: 39:00 Dr. Hamid is the lead investigator on a team that began a study in March of 2018, that is expected to last two years and involve over 600 patients. Dr. Hamid and his team are working to use existing medications and treatments to provide opioid free recovery to their surgery patients.

Will Koster: 39:22 Dr. Hamid said the holy grail is if we can keep patients comfortable so they can recover from a surgery without having to deal with the side effects that come with opioids. We commend Dr. Hamid for leading this team to fight against the epidemic by decreasing prescription of opioid medications. If you want to learn more about Dr. Hamid and his study, we'll put a link to it in the show notes.

Will Koster: 39:43 As always, if you know someone who wears a white coat and is achieving something noteworthy, please send us an email. We'd love to hear about it. We might even highlight them in a future episode, but again, this episode's White Coat Achievement goes to Dr. Nady Hamid and his team and what they're doing to fight the opioid crisis in this country.

Shane Tenny: 40:05 Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope you found the conversation with Dr. Jessica Mendelsohn helpful. If you have any questions, suggestions, ideas for someone we should talk to on a future episode of White Coat Wellness, please drop me a line at shane@whitecoatwell.com. That's S-H-A-N-E, @whitecoatwell.com. Also, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or the good old world wide web, at SDTPlanning.com. If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Mendelsohn and her practice, or me and our practice, you can find contact information in the show notes for both of those. Thanks very much for being with us. We'll see you back here next time.

Outro: 40:44 This episode of White Coat Wellness is over, but you're not alone on your journey toward financial wellness. Spaugh Dameron Tenny has been helping physicians and dentists with their financial planning for over 60 years, and we'd love to answer any questions that would be of help to you. Visit SDTPlanning.com today and take your financial wellness to new levels. Once again, that's SDTPlanning.com, and we'll see you on the next episode of White Coat Wellness.