Independent Monroe OB/GYN practice striving amidst a poor economy
In a day and age where independent businesses and organizations are collapsing right and left, Brown Women’s Care Obstetrics & Gynecology is going strong. The independent practice, located in Monroe and led by Dr. Heather Leslie-Brown, has been open since Oct. 2010, and the clinic continues to thrive in the midst of a turbulent economy.
During medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia, Leslie-Brown knew she wanted to do something surgical. She found that being an OB/GYN doctor would give her a good blend of surgery and medicine. The fact that she does not see a lot of chronic conditions in her profession is also a plus.
“It’s mostly a happy specialty,” she said.
After becoming an OB/GYN doctor, Leslie-Brown knew she would eventually want to open her own clinic. After years of practicing medicine in New York, Virginia, Laurinburg and Monroe, she finally reached the point where her dream became a reality. “Everything just sort of fell into place, and we knew it was the right time,” she said.
Leslie-Brown, with her husband, Donovan Brown, worked for over a year to open the Brown clinic. Many different licenses had to be acquired, including business licenses, personal licenses and a license from the city to be able to construct the clinic. The state also had to approve the clinic’s name.
Although they knew the time had come, challenges still arose. The Browns had a tough time getting a loan from the bank for the amount needed. “There were personal funds that had to be used to make up for the deficit,” Donovan Brown said.
The Browns made the most of their resources and stretched their finances to cover as much as they could. They used as many recycled objects as they could and put their creativity to the test as they cut their cupboards to fit in the space allowed. The Browns made everything work, and the clinic soon was good to go.
Leslie-Brown built up her client base first through many patients who followed her from the previous Monroe practice where she worked. She gained many new patients who stumbled upon her website, saw an ad or a flyer, found the clinic through their insurance company, or simply discovered the practice through word of mouth.
Because many of the surrounding areas, such as Anson and Chesterfield Counties, do not have any OB/GYN services, Leslie-Brown receives a handful of patients from those areas. “We have patients from Pageland, Wadesboro, Chesterfield, even a lady from Rock Hill,” Leslie-Brown said.
The Brown clinic has a staff of two nurses (one of which speaks Spanish fluently), a phlebotomist, several PRN nurses, and an office manager: her husband, Donovan. The clinic also has outside services, such as ultrasounds and urodynamics, which bring in technicians who are independent contractors.
Leslie-Brown does many procedures and much of the testing in-office, which cuts down on costs for both patients and insurance companies. The in-house services also reduce waiting time by more than 50 percent and prevent her, as the doctor, from being tied up at a hospital during these procedures. Leslie-Brown is the only OB/GYN in the area that offers these procedures in-house.
The Brown clinic also accepts Medicaid and TRICARE, which some clinics do not take. The Browns feel particularly dedicated to TRICARE, as it serves military families. “We see military families come from all over,” Donovan Brown said. “We feel very strongly that we should always take TRICARE.”
According to Leslie-Brown, a significant attribute that sets the Brown clinic apart from other OB/GYN practices is the “personal touch” the patients receive. If a patient is experiencing some difficulties, Leslie-Brown will call the patient over the weekend to ask how things are going. “I try to take care of the whole patient,” she said. “To me, they’re not just another number.”
Drawing upon her own history as an OB/GYN patient, Leslie-Brown makes it a goal to provide the same “personal touch” that she wishes to receive from a doctor. “My personal OB experiences have been very challenging,” Leslie-Brown said. “Pregnancy should not be an anxiety experience.”
Leslie-Brown believes a key element that keeps her practice thriving during these tumultuous economic times is her passion to succeed. “Everyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty determined to do things I want to do,” she said.