New approach to health care fuels Rosanne Iversen’s passion for good health | SteamboatToday.com

New approach to health care fuels Rosanne Iversen’s passion for good health

Dr. Rosanne Iversen creates a tasty salad during a seminar for patients last week.

On Wednesday night, Rosanne Iversen was busy at work creating some amazing salads with the skills normally displayed by a salad chef.

But while Iverson looked comfortable as she explained the strategies she uses to create tasty seasonal salads that would be at home in many of the finer Steamboat Springs restaurants, she is a family physician at heart, and this night was a chance to show the 35 to 40 Steamboat Family Medicine patients a better, healthier way to eat.

"It's not about the money. It’s about doing the right thing and about doing medicine the right way," Iversen said as she chatted with a few patients that were still hanging around to ask questions or tell her thank you.

Doing medicine the right way has meant a lot of changes in the last year for the doctor that opened her practice with a more traditional look back in 1992.

"When we saw her I was extremely impressed," said patient Scott Lee, who has been coming to Steamboat Springs for two decades but just moved to the area three years ago. "I like the way she looks at everything. I thought she was extremely thorough and she is the best general physician that I've ever been around." 

Lee said it wasn't the membership-based model that attracted him, but he doesn't mind paying monthly or annual dues to get a higher level of service and more personal care. Those were changes that Iversen made to her practice, and now, a year after the decision to make those changes, she is happy with her choice.

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"I think I did the right thing — no, I know I did the right thing," Iversen said. "It was the right thing for care, it was the right thing for my patients, it was the right thing for my community and it was the right thing for me  professionally. I know I am practicing medicine the way I know it should be practiced, and that makes me feel good about what I'm doing."

In the new membership-based practice, patients received longer and same-day appointments, more complex annual physicals and 24-7 phone access to providers. The practice will still work with insurance for regular appointment costs. The new model also gave Iversen a chance to play salad chef this week during one of the many seminars she hopes will help guide her patients to wellness and better health.

"I chose family medicine because family medicine was about taking care of the whole person," Iversen said.

Part of that is taking a holistic approach that included five seminars this year covering topics like seasonal salads, cooking with veggies and science behind acupuncture. There was also a seminar on healthy living and a session telling people about functional medicine.

It was an approach that Iversen felt was not happening in her practice just a year ago when in order to keep her doors open she needed to see as many patients as possible each day, and while she was able to address patients’ concerns she had less of an opportunity to see what was causing those symptoms in the first place. So she branched out, becoming the first physician to offer a membership-based practice in Steamboat.

"It is like starting a whole brand new practice," she said Wednesday night as her staff cleaned up after a seminar showing patients how to make healthy, tasty seasonal salads.

"I felt like I destroyed what I built to build something new," Iversen said. “But it really needed to happen because I felt like I had reached a point that it was not sustainable."

These days she is seeing fewer patients, but she said the move has allowed her to be more comprehensive.

"The patients are happier, I think they are getting better care and I've seen better outcomes," Iversen said. "I have patients who had not been in control of their diabetes for years, and another patient that I have been trying to get to stop smoking. This year I've gotten them to stop smoking, this year they've been able to get their diabetes under control. The difference is that I have time to figure out what their roadblocks were, and to help them truly reach wellness. I feel like I am truly making a difference."

But while Iversen feels like her practice is groundbreaking, she expects to see more changes in medicine as local doctors, care providers and hospitals look for ways to better treat patients’ needs — something she feels is more difficult to make happen in more traditional settings.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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