Let’s start with you are you from this local area?
I am local here in Las Vegas for five years now. I moved here from San Diego.
Now tell me about your Vegas Direct Primary Care business. What does your company offer its clients?
The premise of this care is to work directly for my patients. It’s a flat fee like a gym membership or Netflix. The Netflix of healthcare. I am available to you, you can call me, email me, text me, FaceTime me, you can come into my office to see me, or if you are super sick, I will come to you. Because I am a physician and am able to offer you care without copays, deductibles, or pre-authorizations. I get to be a physician. That’s all I know how to do and it’s amazing because I removed the middle man dealing directly with supplier. I’ve actually acquired contracts with local labs for 90% less than their prices. You can a whole panel of labs done like you get for annual exams. You can get the whole kitten kaboodle for less than $40.00. I also have contracted with local imaging centers so I can get x-rays for like $23.00 next day, I can get can scans for less than $50.00 next day, I can get an MRI for less than$200.00 next day and I don’t have to worry about pre-authorizations leaving more time for patient care. And the final thing I do at Vegas Direct Primary Care I dispense my own medications. In my office I have anti-biotics, anti-inflammartories, medicines for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, for pennies on the dollar. I go direct to the manufacturer. I can get a ninety -day supply of blood pressure medication for $5.00.
What are your monthly fees?
For ages 0-10 $25.00 per month and I ask that a parent also join, for ages 22-25 $50.00 and a parent join or a college ID because I know a lot of students do not have healthcare, everyone else is $100.00 per month. It’s an option.
Do you do just one-time visits?
No, I cannot do one-time visits. It is not cost effective and my incentive is for you to join my Vegas Direct Primary Care family so I can take care of your healthcare needs and well being.
So, what made you decide to start your own business versus working for someone else and when did you start your business?
I opened my business four months ago. I trained at Northwestern at Family Practice and I did an extra year fellowship at Rush in geriatrics or senior care and I found that practicing medicine had seriously changed since I had been in training two years earlier. I have been a physician for fifteen years. I was trained to be a physician to take of a person body mind and soul. The healthcare system is broken and I was trained to help people and I could not do that within the current healthcare system. So, I actually left practicing medicine for about a year. I’ve actively been volunteering with an organization called Volunteers in Medicine Southern Nevada. It is a non-profit organization that helps people that have kind of fallen through the healthcare cracks and basically give them free healthcare. I found that when I was doing, practicing medicine and helping people, I absolutely loved it. That Is my passion. To help people. I realized that I am where I need to be but I was at the wrong place doing it. I had to step back and re-evaluate. I found that this concept of care called Direct Primary Care has been spreading across our nation. There are currently only four here in Las Vegas. I am here to be an option, to educate people that they do indeed have options. We are taking back practicing medicine with this concept. With Direct Primary Care you have affordable available healthcare when you need. You receive care in a timely manner and you will have piece of mind that you always have a healthcare professional as your advocate.
What made you choose this line of business?
Direct Primary Care is the wave of the future. We do have various specialists and surgeons that are going to be doing this as well who will charge a flat fee all access. We want to promote prevention of care. We want people to stay healthy and remain healthy. Unfortunately, in our country we are quick to diagnosis disease and manage disease and this is not what we do at Direct Primary Care. Our focus has always been on prevention. For our practice, our firsts visits are about one to one and a half hours. During that visit I will get to know you, what you eat, where you are, what you are doing, who your relationships are with. That is all a part of your healthcare and well-being. Because I am Persian I actually practice Eastern medicine as well as Western medicine which gives me the ability to give people advice on how to keep themselves healthy and keep living a healthy lifestyle and make educated choices. Western medicine teaches how to treat the disease while Eastern medicine teaches how to prevent disease.
So, looking back what was the most difficult challenge you have had to face?
As a physician it’s very difficult on a daily basis to hold people accountable. With a lot of things happening in the world I think people don’t take care of themselves as well as they should and could. I am always challenged by different industries that are out there and are not helpful in health. Telling someone that their health is poor or coming to the point where I have to tell them something terrible like a cancer is still never ever easy. I, we, prefer to focus on prevention. We live in a world and time now where we are rushing and hurrying, eating bad foods, not exercising, worrying about everyone and everything. This all causes inflammation in our body. Inflammation is the number one cause of disease. Again-Prevention! I have been blessed in that most of my patients have been very receptive to Direct Primary Care concept and to me. I get emotional. I took the initiative to step out because I feel like as me one person if I can make a difference in a few people’s lives than I have done what I needed to do on this earth.
Thinking back to day one can you think of anything you may have done differently to overcome challenges and met your business goals in a more efficient amount of time?
Challenge has been bringing this to fruition because it is new and because I don’t have a budget to finance marketing. I think I maybe could have started sooner to educate people about this concept. I am very active on social media trying to get our message out. I do have meet and greets also. You can have a three month trial no obligation. It is challenging but fun.
Do you have a receptionist?
No, just me. I want to keep this about quality not quantity and keep overhead low which equals low costs to patients. You have to consider when working for insurance a physician will see thousands of patients. My current patient load is around three hundred and I share an office space.
Where do you see your business going forward in 2020?
2020 is going to be an amazing year! I hope to be able to educate more people in our city about their options, I hope to given back to our community, and to be an advocate for healthcare overall and to let people know that you don’t have to go without your medicines, go without lab tests, wait for months, and you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars. We are here, we are accessible. We want to be real physicians again, to be family doctors and take the art of practicing medicine back. Word of mouth is the best way to get this message out there. I would also like to expand my services. I offer my services to the Veterans, non-profit organizations, and anyone that is struggling. I can’t say no. I believe that physicians are chosen. The extensive education and training we go through is not for everyone. If you give me three months, if you can invest in yourself, I have found a way to offer you healthcare inexpensively and time efficiently. Every single person is worth it. VIP healthcare for everybody.
How did you stumble onto to this?
I am a huge fan of social media. I saw on Facebook that thousands of physicians all around the country that had already started Direct Primary Care businesses and I found a mentor.
If a potential patient had to pick from three different businesses providing what you provide, what would make your business standout and make them choose your company?
I care. I totally care. I think that is the biggest point of differentiation. I am a physician with fifteen years of experience that is available to them with a passion for helping people. I am on their side.
What is the number one way you are currently bringing in new patients?
Word of mouth! Also, social media which includes my website Vegas Direct Primary Care, and Facebook page and Instagram.
Has internet and technology played a big part with your growth and making your company more successful?
Definitely! It’s all I got right now aside from this and word of mouth. I may start blogging.
Where do you see your business next year? What role do you want to play and why?
Specifically, in this city of Las Vegas I want to continue to be a healthcare advocate for everyone and see my business grow. I hope to be able to continue to educate the people in our city about this option & continue to give back to our community as much as possible. I care, I love being a family doctor, I love what I do and I am passionate about it. I want people to see me as very honest, as someone they can trust to come to with any questions they have, and as a great resource who is available to them. It’s important to have someone like that on your side.
Would your role, even if you had your full max of patients, still stay the same as far as being a physician, handling calls, answering emails?
That is my goal. Right now I do all of that and more. Like I said we are trained to take care of thousands of patients so if I keep it at a lower population, I can give a better quality of care. If the need for more staff arises, I will address that issue. I want to keep it all about my patients and keep everything affordable and accessible for and to everyone.
Vegas Direct Primary Care contact information :
Phone : 702-829-0478
Thank you Dr Ati Hakimi at Vegas Direct Primary Care for sharing your story of success with the Las Vegas Business Review and our community.