Compassion Care Clinic Opening this week
A passion for providing care and compassion to his patients is what ultimately led Dr. Dallas Lipscomb, DMSc, PA-C, to open a new clinic in rural Sierra County, New Mexico. “I had to get back to my roots. I have always had a heart for providing the best care possible to my patients. I love getting to know them as individuals; I believe this is essential to the art and practice of medicine.”
Dr. Lipscomb says his heartfelt philosophy of providing compassionate care to his patients was rekindled during his time in the DMSc, through his interaction with peers in medical practice. “My DMSc classmates were excited about making a difference, and it made me hunger to enjoy that same possibility. I determined this was not possible in my current setting. I had almost retired due to the stress and the grind.” But his concern for his community and his love of his patients led him to pursue his dream of opening a clinic. “I want to practice medicine the way I was trained,” he says, “with compassion.”
He is also a strong believer in independent practice for PAs. ”As a profession, we need to have the ability to function in this capacity in order for the profession to survive.” He has gotten to know many of his patients over time; he has provided primary care to some of them for decades. “I have these two patients – a couple, retired Air Force, that have been with me since 1992,” he notes. “They’re full time RVers who wanted to spend retirement seeing the country. They swing in to check in with me for blood work. They tell me: ‘This is a really good thing you are doing.’ And they keep coming back. I like to know my patients. I can look at their faces, and see when something is wrong. You have to build trust. This is what I love.”
Dr. Lipscomb has refurbished his new clinic on a budget with lots of love and dedication and with help from community. He says, “A former patient – I have provided care to him for years. He retired from his restaurant business and donated framed and matted Bev Doolittle prints.” He will also display a prized Bear Kachina print, a gift from his father upon his completing his PA studies. His father told him that the Bear Kachina is the second most powerful medicine man and to him that is a PA.
He says, “We are outfitting the clinic on a shoestring budget. Our nearly-new exam room tables were going to be discarded from the local hospital, and I bought them at a great price. We are setting our clinic up with the focus of serving our patients. We’re on a budget but everything is looking amazing.” Dr. Lipscomb says he has dipped into his retirement savings to open the clinic, and has developed a sustainable business plan. He understands it is difficult to survive as an independent practitioner, but he is committed. “My biggest focus is practicing medicine. Our concern will be on serving our community of 800 residents in town, with 12,000 in surrounding Sierra County. We are in one of the lowest income counties in the state of New Mexico, and we have a 20% veteran population.”
The clinic is situated adjacent to two additional suites, and as Compassion Care Clinic grows, they can easily expand into the other suites. “We’re planning on adding another PA or an NP in six months,” he says, “and an additional practitioner is slated to come in one year to do clinical counseling.” The adjacent suite has four exam rooms, and a laboratory area.
He admits his clinic is a bit of an oddity. “We are based on compassion. The difference between a good provider and a bad provider is indifference.” His key to successful and holistic patient care is taking the time to listen and evaluate, as well as relying on your experience and knowledge.
He says his family has been a huge source of support in this effort. His wife will work in the clinic, and his son-in-law is currently a critical care paramedic and is in pre-PA school who plans to join the Compassion Care Clinic in the future. Dr. Lipscomb says, “I will also mention that my parents were two of my biggest fans. My mother was diagnosed with cancer as I started the DMSc program, during the first classes. Dr. Watkins kept encouraging me to hang in there. She was incredibly supportive. ‘Don’t give up!’ My mother made me promise to her that I would finish the doctorate. So part of my motivation was to keep my promise to her.”
Dr. Lipscomb says the doctorate refreshed his memory of what the practice of medicine is all about. “Take care of the patient, and the money works itself out.” He says, “It’s got to be about the compassion. We will maintain our altruistic focus throughout this venture.”
Compassion Care Clinic opened on November 3.