WHEELING - In 2003, Dr. Vic Wood unveiled the Primary Care One concept, which allows patients to make one monthly payment to his office and have all their preventive, primary and urgent care needs taken care of.
Eleven years later, Wood's Doctors Urgent Care locations in Wheeling, Benwood and St. Clairsville finds itself continuing to move on the road of growth and service to local residents, seeing about 20,000 patients annually.
Wood believes a paradigm has taken place in the nation's primary care industry, as the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is changing the way health care is done. He believes his primary care system will become even more popular as patients seek affordable health care options.
Photo by Rebecca Olsavsky
Dr. Vic Wood, physician and founder of Primary Care One at Doctors Urgent Care, said there has been a paradigm shift in primary care that favors clinic-based programs.
"The cost of health care has gone up so much with the new Affordable Care Act that it's costing people even more out of pocket for their primary care. If there's transparency in pricing ... then patients know how much they're going to pay and what they're going to get for it," Wood said.
"I think that's the ... future for primary care."
Wood said the Doctors Urgent Care locations have seen an increase in primary care patients over the past year. Wood partly credits that increase to high standards in technology and services that the offices provide.
"We're very well-equipped," Wood said.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance recognizes Doctors Urgent Care as a Level 1 patient-centered medical home. It is one of only two privately-owned clinics in West Virginia designated with Level 1 recognition.
Meeting NCQA standards includes maintaining electronic health records, accessible hours, and certified providers for chronic disease management and primary care.
Ultimately, physician skill will always be most important factor for patients.
"It still really goes back to the skill of the provider," said Wood. "Many tests do not tell the whole story as far as what's going on with the patient. (Technology) really is no replacement for a health care provider with common sense and knowledge."
Focusing on prevention and treating acute conditions, in addition to chronic disease management of cholesterol, blood pressure, thyroid, respiratory illness and diabetes, is all about discovering patients' needs.
"It's very important to identify people in the community who have chronic disease in the earliest possible stage. Early diagnosis is key," said Wood.
Regarding the developing relationship between technology and health care, he believes current incentives drive technology with health care.
"It's not always a good thing ... to have all of your records and everything on the Internet," Wood said.