TRUSSVILLE – Dr. Kre Johnson knows what it’s like to be stretched so thin at work and at home to the point at which more than a few things begin to fall through the cracks. It’s something most of us can relate to. Not having enough time to devote to family, friends and clearing the day’s checklist before leaving the office at the end of the day is something a lot of working parents struggle with every day. Earlier this year, this working wife and mother made a decision that not only changed her life but also her family and her patients.
Beginning Feb. 1, 2019, Dr. Johnson’s current practice, Brownstone Healthcare and Aesthetics became the third medical practice in Birmingham to see patients under a membership-based system known as direct primary care. Direct primary care members enrolling with Brownstone can pay a flat $70 monthly fee, which covers an unlimited amount of office visits with no co-pay or deductible charges. Under direct primary care, insurance is not required but is recommended in case patients wind up needing surgery or hospitalization. The practice is not 100 percent DPC-based, however. Dr. Johnson still sees Medicare patients from her previous medical practice.
Making a Change
“I’m really loving it,” Dr. Johnson said. “I’m doing what I call kind of a hybrid because I still see my Medicare patients, but I know we’re making a difference in our community. I knew the first week we made the change that it was the right thing for us to do.”
In that first week, Dr. Johnson and her staff saw a patient who presented with a large lump in his throat. The patient didn’t have insurance and had previously had some difficulty finding the best treatment for what turned out to be cancer. That patient is now on a great path to wellness, receiving good treatment and care thanks to Dr. Johnson and her staff.
“We’re able to see so many patients now without certain encumbrances, and we feel it’s been a blessing for a lot of people,” Dr. Johnson explained. “So I was like, Lord…I really feel like I need to do this. It was simple, really. Because I’m His hands and feet. I’m here to meet the needs of the people, and I know there’s a need for access to health care in this area. It’s been a good transition. I’m happy about it, and it helps me with my quality of life.”
Like many women in business, Dr. Johnson soon discovered that having it all comes with a price. Not long after she began practicing medicine, she and her husband decided to start a family, and Dr. Johnson has also been very driven to give back to her community. But, there’s just never enough time in the day.
“I was seeing in-patients and out-patients every day of the week, and then I had a baby. My husband was like, ‘Do you ever plan on being at home?’ Women are inherently driven to do so much. Soon everything at home was lacking. Changing my business model has given me a little more work-life balance. I may be on-call for my patients more, but I can still make it to the events at my daughter’s school. She asked me if I was trying to take her Daddy’s job!” Dr. Johnson laughed.
Giving Back to the Community
Switching her practice to direct primary care also gave Dr. Johnson the opportunity to fulfill her desire to work more in her community. Not only has she started a scholarship program for area high school seniors dreaming of a future in medicine, but she’s created a workshop and written a book for working women.
Dr. Johnson created the Wifeology Working Wife Retreat as an annual retreat for married professional women looking to network and find new ideas to live their best lives. The retreat is June 21-23 at the Tutwiler-Hampton Inn & Suites-Downtown Birmingham.
“As working women, we have to make time for ourselves to find our passion again. That’s what this retreat is all about,” Dr. Johnson explained. “We get together for a weekend so we can talk about our lives, rejuvenate ourselves and then go back to our lives refreshed. This is a great way to get to know women from different professional backgrounds year after year, and it turns into a kind of family reunion! I think it’s just been a kind of blessing for a lot of marriages for the women to attend to be able to say to each other that they are not alone in their struggles in finding ways to balancing a good marriage and a good professional life. We aren’t superhuman, but we like to think that we are.”
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Johnson’s Wifeology series or to book her as a guest speaker, find her online at https://www.doctorkre.com/ and learn more about her direct primary care practice here. She’s also very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.