When I began my practice in 1998, I really wasn't thinking about how to run a business. I was a new mother who moved back to her hometown to be near my family. The idealistic idea I graduated with from medical school was to move home, practice medicine, and serve my community. Twenty years later, Vashon Natural Medicine has grown to include multiple practitioners with full schedules, and success I had never anticipated. To be truthful, there is very little profit in primary care medicine, but the benefits of living on and serving Vashon far outweigh the alternative for me.
Vashon Natural Medicine has weathered the economic downturn, the continuing erosion of health insurance coverage, and the ability of patients to afford it. In 2000, 57% of physicians were independent, but by the end of 2016 that number shrank to 33%. 44% of those independent physicians left said they will probably sell their practices within the next decade. Consolidation with hospitals and corporations has been necessary for many to survive. Thanks to the support of our patients, our office is still going strong.
In order to give back and serve the people of Vashon, we donate our services and resources to local causes. 37% of our patients are on Medicaid and we have always provided free services for those in need. Vashon Natural Medicine has worked with the CDC, Washington State Department of Health, Washington Health Care Authority/DSHS, King County Health Department, UW Suicide Prevention, Vashon School District, Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse, Anti-Domestic Violence Program, Seeds 4 Success, Vashon Social Services Network, Vashon Maury Food Bank, and Vashon Youth and Family Services in order to benefit our residents.
Starting my 20th year in business, I am grateful to say that our office exists for and because of the people of Vashon. I still believe in the ideal that the health of our patients and community is paramount, above profit. Vashon Natural Medicine is not owned by a corporation, or managed by a non-profit entity that has no local ties. Vashon Natural Medicine is owned by me, a resident of a small town that tries her best to take care of her family, and her community.
In the spirit of celebrating our 20th anniversary, Vashon Natural Medicine takes a quote from my favorite movie, "What About Bob". With our newfound success as a tourist destination, this image is intended to celebrate both local pride, and the longevity of our office with humor. Vashon Natural Medicine supports our local residents. We love our community, and are grateful for the last 20 years.