Internist Dr. Janette J. Gray found the penetration of managed care prompted many of her colleagues to leave California or move into retirement.
But Gray had other ideas. She decided to tweak the concept of managed care.
Together with her business partner, Mary Golden, Gray opened up another kind of doctor's office.
Here patients would be able to choose between traditional medicine and alternative care.
Today, the 1-year-old Center for Health and Wellbeing on Moraga Avenue in San Diego is flooded with patients choosing treatments among chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical and massage therapists, a family practitioner and a nurse practitioner, and from the internist herself, Gray said, who is also medical director of the center.
Behind the center's success lies a simple premise: That is to treat every patient as an individual, Gray said. One patient believes in western medicine, another one believes eastern medicine is best, she said.
The center caters to these needs by offering a variety of wellness programs, including yoga classes, skin and body care, meditation and Tai Chi , that is for an additional charge.
About half of all patients are covered through traditional managed care plans; the other half are covered through private insurers, said Golden.
Patients whose health plans do not cover medical care at the center may qualify for discount pricing, Gray said.
"I want to be able to offer mainstream integrative medicine , not just for the wealthy," Gray said.
Last year, the center banked $1 million in total revenues. This year, Gray hopes to boost revenues to $1.4 million.
The short-term goal is to secure the first model, but long-term, Gray hopes to open additional medical centers in San Diego.
For more information, contact The Center for Health and Wellbeing at (858) 454-9771.