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A New Kind of Country Doctor

 

prescott-woman-coverIn its April/May 2012 issue, The Prescott Woman magazine featured Dr. Ellen Bunch on their cover page and featured her unique brand of concierge family care.

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For further convenience, below is the story as featured in the said issue of The Prescott Woman magazine:

 


 Dr. Ellen Bunch, MD

A New Kind of Country Doctor...

by Sandy Moss
Photos by Mona Beckman
The Prescott Woman Magazine

prescott-woman-p1

The days are long gone when doctors made house calls, but for one doctor and her patients... those days are back.

Calling herself, "a new kind of country doctor," Dr. Ellen F. Bunch, M.D., practices a new kind of healthcare, too, one she feels makes her patients feel truly cared for. The new model, "Concierge" medical care, means she is available for her patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and yes, sometimes she makes house calls. That adds up to, she says, "the attention of an old-fashioned family doctor with the advantages of leading-edge healthcare technology."

Dr. Bunch's concept of treating people is "whole patient care," which deals not just with a person's physical health, but their mental and spiritual health, too.

"I believe a person's physical health is tied into and dependent on both their mental and spiritual well-being," she explains, "because what is going on in those areas of their lives may well be impacting their physical health."

That philosophy, she says, is also a reference back to the old-fashioned country doctor who knew what was going on in his patients' lives, and about their families and background.

There are other unusual things about Dr. Bunch's practice: She operates out of her spacious and comfortable home in quiet Williamson Valley; doesn't take insurance or Medicare; charges an affordable once-a-year fee for her services rather than individual appointment charges; and deals with preventative health as well as immediate health issues.

Need to talk to your doctor right now? Dr. Bunch's patients have her cell phoe and email. Need an appointment right away, not a week or two down the road? Dr. Bunch does same- and next-day appointments. How about that often interminable time in the waiting room, not to mention often having only about 15 minutes to explain to your doctor what's happening with you? That doesn't happen with Dr. Bunch. Her patients have 45 minutes to two hours to discuss their health needs.

prescott-woman-p2"When a patient comes in to me for the first time, I often find they haven't been really 'listened' to by their doctor," she explains. "I want them to be able to talk about things that haven't been addressed by doctors whose caseload is simply too large to be able to take the time. Doing that, in a few months we can get things taken care of and they are happier and healthier."

As for the once-a-year fee, Dr. Bunch believes, "it brings people peace of mind, knowing they can call their doctor 24/7 and she'll take care of them now, not when there is an open appointment."

Explaining why she doesn't take insurance, Dr. Bunch says it enables her to give people the intensive medical attention they need without the hassle of submitting to insurances and waiting to get paid. Patients can still use their insurance and Medicare, however, to pay for such things as prescriptions, outside lab tests, x-rays, specialists, or hospitalization.

Dr. Bunch also uses nutrition, physical exercise, vitamins, minerals and botanicals to help the body fix itself, instead of using medicine that often interrupt the body's ability to heal itself, she says, which can create problems in other places.

"It's how we used to do it and it takes more work," she says. "But it's not just taking a pill to fix everything.

Dr. Bunch also believes in reducing medications and eliminating them if possible.

"This blending of modern traditional medicine and natural medicine is scientific and research-based," she notes.

Dr. Bunch knows that what she does is "innovative," but she founded her retainer-based practice on the conviction that a highly responsive and unhurried approach would offer major improvements in patient care.

An American Board of Family Medicine-certified doctor, Dr. Bunch graduated from the University of Arizona's College of Medicine in Tucson, received a fellowship at its Center for Integrative medicine, and has an affiliation with Yavapai Regional Medical Center. After a four-year internship in 2000, Dr. Bunch joined a doctor's medical practice, but soon became disillusioned with traditional medical practices.

In 2005, Dr. Bunch opened her own family practice offering new, but simple alternatives. Her husband, Ken, became her aide, and they moved her office into their home.

Dr. Bunch's new modern practice of medicine is a return to a healthy dietary lifestyle combined with all the advantages of modern healthcare technology. Simply stated, "I'm there for my patients as much or as little as they may need me," she says. "They’re like my family and I want them to be as healthy as they can be."