Ask most doctors why they chose medicine as a career, and they will likely respond, “I wanted to help people.” Unfortunately, in this age of complicated insurance plans, pre-authorization and cumbersome regulations, that lofty goal that pulled people into the medical profession can get buried under the weight of trying to run the business of medicine.
Lawrence native Dr. Neela Sandal refused to accept this new status quo facing doctors today, choosing rather to pursue his vision of a new kind of health care—one where a close, personal relationship with patients allows him to discover the best method of treatment for each individual patient.
Because the current medical system is dependent on doctors seeing a high number of patients, doctors don’t have the time or the resources to really dive into trying to discover the root of a patient’s problem, Dr. Sandal says. So all they can really do is treat the symptoms.
“People who are interested in integrated medicine feel that we can do better,” Dr. Sandal says.
Dr. Sandal opened his integrative medicine clinic in Lawrence last year to put this belief into practice. At the Atma Clinic, his team of health professionals treats patients using a holistic approach. Dr. Sandal views himself as a physician partner who helps problem solve with his patients. Treatment can include traditional medical approaches as well as alternative therapies including acupuncture, biofeedback, naturopathy and other holistic treatment options.
By offering concierge medicine, where the number of patients in the practice is limited to 100 rather than thousands, Dr. Sandal is able to spend an hour with each patient at every visit. This extended appointment time helps him better understand underlying health issues and individualize treatment plans.
This unique approach requires a non-traditional business model as well. All of the services at the Atma Clinic are subscription based. Patients can choose from several different monthly subscriptions—from primary care to advanced integrative medicine packages for more complicated health issues. While the clinic will submit claims to insurance, many of its services would not be covered under traditional insurance plans.
“This is the evolution of medicine as we pursue quality health care,” Dr. Sandal says.
Dr. Sandal says patients are excited to have this new type of medical practice in Lawrence. Even though the clinic has been open less than a year, it is steadily growing. With that growth, Dr. Sandal hopes to be able to expand to offer even more services such as personal trainers, a dietician and a meditation coach.
When that happens, he says he knows Envista will be there to help them accomplish their goals.
“I gravitated to Envista when I opened the clinic because they made everything so easy for me,” Dr. Sandal says. “Their business accounts are straightforward and the people are incredibly helpful and professional.”