iCare Palm City Magazine Cover Story: Whole Life Direct Primary Care – Redefining Your Expectations for Medical Care

iCare Palm City Community Magazine Cover

Originally published in the iCare Palm City Community Magazine

Hi Dr. Talton, please give us a brief introduction about yourself, and your family.
My name is Leighan Talton, DO. I have been married 10 years to my husband, Jat, and we have 3 kids and a dog. Matthew and Natalie are 4 yo twins, Patrick is 2, and our pitbull puppy, Bailey, is 5 months. We live in Palm City, and my kids attend Temple Beit Hayam preschool.

When and why did you move to the Treasure Coast?
I am a 4th generation Floridian. I was born in Stuart, as were both of my parents, Tracy Howard and Francie (Houk) Howard. I was lucky enough to attend all Florida schools, so I really never left! After my residency at St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville, my husband suggested we move back to Stuart to have my parent’s help raising the babies. We love being so close to my family (at least I think he does.)

What do you love about what you do? Can you tell us about your specialty?
I chose Family Medicine because I love people. There is a saying that the few who choose family medicine as a specialty were either the child of a Family Doctor or are the first doctor in their family. I’m the latter. I love this job because I enjoy relationships. I love knowing about my patients and their loved ones, and I enjoy helping them live their best lives. I recently started my own practice, WholeLife Direct Primary Care. DPC is a practice model nation-wide where patients pay doctors directly for services. When you remove insurance from the relationship between primary care doctors and patients, it feels a lot more like it should. I call it “New, Old-fashioned” medicine. I am able to spend more time with each patient, call them myself about results and problems, and see them quickly if needed. I still refer them to specialists, but I am able to do so with a personal handoff. Overall, the result is that patients feel the connection between us, and they also feel in-control of their care again. Many people think Direct Primary Care or Concierge Medicine is only for rich people or sick people, but it’s really for people who are tired of feeling like a number. I am pleasantly surprised that very young people sign up for my services, because they see the value in having their doctor very accountable to them and their time.

Please give us a short story about how your specialty has helped the Community.
I am glad that people may start to have options again for primary care. Everyone should be able to choose the kind of care they want, not to have it dictated to them by their insurance coverage. DPC physicians are accountable to their patients only, not a system or a bottom-line. If my patient needs to be scheduled for an hour-long visit, or to be seen in their home, I am happy to do that without charging extra. People are so happy to see the return of the home visit by a trained physician. I’m not too young to know who “Marcus Welby, MD” was, and patients get a kick out of seeing me on their doorstep. The data shows that good primary care by physicians saves money and lives. I have respect for my specialist colleagues and their expertise, but my expertise is my patient. Being in a solo-practice means the buck stops here, which is the way I always viewed my care. I am humbled by the trust my patients put into our relationship. I work hard every day to earn it.

What are your future plans?
Keep growing and doing good work! I opened in May of this year and so far, have exceeded our benchmark for enrollment. Staying small is one of the things that makes this type of practice special, so my plans are to grow smartly and continue to provide accountable care.

What is your philosophy on business and life and what recommendations can you share with the community?
I recently returned to my residency to speak to the young physicians in training. I told them several key points. 1. Know your value. 2. Work like you own the place, because one day you may. 3. Your name is your brand-protect it! 4.-Love your patients and give them your heart. 5. Create a circle of support from your fellow physicians and community.

My favorite part of family medicine is that I think I often gain as much from my relationship with the patient as I feel they get from me. I have been the recipient of so much love and wisdom from them- Parenting and marriage advise, hopes and regrets in life … these are special bonds that this field has allowed me to make. My philosophy? “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha.

For any questions about our services, please call Dr. Leighan Talton, DO at: 772.283.1200, or visit Whole Life Direct Primary Care: 1001 SE Monterey Commons Blvd. Suite 100, Stuart, FL 34996.

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