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Cape Coral Living Magazine

Physicians’ Primary Care of SWF Celebrates 25 Years of Medical Care

Physicians Primary Care of Southwest Florida - 13710 Cypress Terrace Circle Suite 501, Fort Myers, is looking ahead in 2021 and gearing up to celebrate its 25th year as a physician-owned and managed multi-specialty primary care group in Lee County.

Today, Physicians Primary Care continues to be a leader in the community with 37 physicians and 11 advanced practitioners with 10 offices conveniently located in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Lehigh Acres including three specialties: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine. and Pediatrics. Services are in place to meet the needs of the population including a high complexity laboratory, x-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, physical therapy, and more. 

Physicians Primary Care, according to a recent blog post it produced, continues to be a leader in medical advances and value-based healthcare and is recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home by NCQA. This evolving model of care strengthens the relationship between patient and their primary care physician. 

We caught up with Dr. Mary Yankaskas, managing physician and founding member, about the history of the practice, how 2020 transpired in light of the pandemic, and the future of its operations in 2021 and beyond.

Tell us about your practice. When did you open? How have you progressed over the years?

It all came together in 1996 when several independent physician groups decided to join forces. It was a time of change in the national health care system with the influence of insurance companies and hospital acquisitions. Many well-known local physicians had a desire to remain independent. So, after weighing all the factors, 26 physicians from OBGYN, Family Medicine, and Pediatric practices merged to become one large group. The merger enabled the physicians to not only remain independent but to provide enhanced quality patient care.

Early on, we overcame multiple challenges while combining different cultures and learning how to collectively establish best practices.

In subsequent years, Physicians’ Primary Care expanded its medical offices, focusing on patient convenience and efficiency as well as expanded diagnostic and laboratory services.
What would you say is something that you wish people knew about your practice coming in?

As a physician-owned practice, what we do impacts our patients and impacts ourselves. We're very aware of that and try to maintain the sort of old-fashioned physician-patient relationship. Between being independent and the fact that things aren't being dictated to be done a certain way, that enables us to continue to grow and evolve in our practice.

The other thing particularly is that our pediatricians see newborns in the hospital, then they'll continue with the pediatrician, and we can transition them to an adult medicine provider so they have continuity of care in their particular individual care. That way their family has accessibility to all of our providers.

Personally speaking for yourself, what's your favorite thing about your practice?

How well we have continued to work together and what really an outstanding practice we have. All of these physicians are my partners and we work really, really well together to do the best for our patients.

What's a common question you get about your practice and your answer to it?

So people often ask if we belong to one of the other large employer groups in the area and I remind them that, nope, we are separate from the hospital system. We own ourselves and we run ourselves and that allows us to better take care of our patients.

What's the biggest compliment that you've received about your practice?

The quality of our physicians and the efficiency of the practice.

PPC has consistently been recognized year-after-year for having some of the area’s Top Doctors, as reported by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., an independent research and information company that is the nation’s leading provider of information on top physicians.

Last year, PPC won three national awards from the American Medical Association/ American Heart Association for improving patient health in cholesterol management, controlling blood pressure, and management of Type II Diabetes.

Does the practice involve itself or support any local nonprofits or community organizations or causes?

We support a lot of community efforts. An individual owner may support different things themselves and still utilize PPC. We all have kids that we put through school here and so we may support specific school ventures, churches, or other community things.

As a practice, because we get inundated with so many things, we've tried to limit that a little bit, but one of the two big things that we support are Lee County Medical Society, which has a physician wellness program that was started a few years ago to address physician burnout and physician depression. That's really important to us that we take care of our colleagues. Historically, it was just for members of the medical society to have access to free psychologists—that was paid for through the foundation—but, this year with COVID, they've actually opened it up even to non-members of the medical society.

How has COVID-19 impacted your practice? Have you rebounded? Did you do anything special given the circumstances?

We did a lot of special things. We were actually pretty nimble through COVID, certainly, we were affected as healthcare providers across the country in terms of either significantly shutting down or minimizing access to the practice that allowed us to jump in and ramp up telehealth, which had been on our radar for a few years and that really forced the issue for us, which was a great access point for patients.

We never had to shut our doors. We certainly—between the physician leadership team and our administrative team—met on a very regular basis, actually in those first couple months, sometimes almost daily to deal with all the new information that was coming out and how to learn and figure out the best ways to screen patients coming in. The fact that we were early adopters of masking, not only the physicians and the staff but also masking all patients to try to minimize transmission—that quick adaptation allowed us to stay open.

Yes, we have rebounded—not quite back to our numbers for this time of year being in season—but, we've done pretty well with staying open and keeping moving forward.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add that we haven't covered off on or anything you'd like to say to the community?

Our greatest achievement is remaining independent in a time of acquisitions and consolidation of practices.

While healthcare continues to change and evolve, one thing remains constant with Physicians Primary Care and that is outstanding physicians and other advanced practitioners, such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physical therapy, dedicated to providing the best medical care possible to meet the needs of your family.

PPC sees the future of medicine to be based on population health management while continuing to embrace technology. We look forward to enhanced health information exchange between providers as well as empowering patients to be proactive with their health and healthcare management.

Our plan is to grow and expand while maintaining quality patient care and maintaining our culture of letting our family take care of your family.