We had the good fortune of connecting with Sera Ramadan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sera, what do you attribute your success to?
I am a physician, but I also have an extensive background in customer service. I worked in the restaurant industry all throughout school, and I realize that even physicians are not exempt from the importance of practicing excellent customer service skills. I always make a point to give my patients my full undivided attention and try to create a pleasant experience when they are in my office as I understand seeing the doctor is not always the most comfortable thing for most.
As a millennial myself, I understand the demands and needs of most adult patients today. Easy communication via text messaging, online scheduling, and efficient appointments are what we all desire. I have adapted to the times by integrating HIPAA compliant technology into my practice to achieve all of these things.
I’ve also learned that having great staff that you trust and enjoy working with can make or break your business. We are a team and support one another every day. I believe that being a genuinely good person, that truly enjoys what I do for a living translates into my work and attracts patients to my business who also feel the same.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Los Angeles Primary Care is a boutique internal medicine clinic in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles that focuses on the wellness, diagnosis and treatment of adult patients. I focus on holistic care and integrate functional medicine and nutrition coaching to optimize health.
We offer patients quick communication via texting and tele-medicine visits if they are unable to come into the office. We have a wide network of specialists that we are connected with in the community as I have worked in multiple different hospitals in the Los Angeles area prior to opening my clinic which allows for quick communication, and easier appointment scheduling when necessary.
Most physicians don’t get adequate training in nutrition education during medical school. In primary care, most chronic diseases can be traced back to poor diet- diabetes, obesity, hypertension to name a few. I have completed additional training in functional medicine and incorporated a nutrition coach into my practice. Together, we create an individual nutrition plan depending on the patients underlying medical condition, and exercise prescription which provides guidance on target heart rate goals to achieve during exercise to effectively aid in weight loss. We carefully monitor progress by measuring weight and body fat percentage using a BIA device each month to track progress. We attempt to treat the underlying issue, before turning to chronic medication management.
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Starting was not easy. The most difficult part was learning and navigating through insurance. Unfortunately, most medical insurance plans make it very difficult for physicians to get reimbursed for their work. They will deny claims for unclear reasons, delay payment and they also have certain clauses hidden in their contracts that most patients are not aware of that will give them a reason not to pay for their visit. One example- I had a patient who came to me to get a bariatric surgery referral. I documented everything in best practice with the goal to get my patient approved for the surgery by documenting a qualifying BMI, and medical co-morbidities. The insurance then declined payment due to medical diagnosis of morbid obesity. The patient was very upset; however, insurance did not disclose this in an apparent fashion to the patient prior to signing. The biggest hurdle is having to deal with the middle man of insurance, and the subsequent pain and frustration it causes not only patients, but myself and my staff by prohibiting my patients from receiving proper care.
To overcome problems like these, my staff tries to educate patients about their insurance plans and what amount would be owed prior to scheduling so there are no surprise bills.
I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I am still learning each day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Physician burnout is in on rise as we are losing more autonomy due to high overhead expenses to maintain an office, percentage cuts to the medical biller, office staff salary, not to mention increasing cuts in payments and denials from insurance companies. That on top of student loan debt makes it harder for physicians to practice autonomously, although that is how the majority would like to practice.
I was in this situation, and thought I would not have a chance to build my own practice for years. I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe, a female neurosurgeon who took me under her wing and became my mentor. She gave me tips on starting my practice as she had done so successfully as well. She even allowed me to stay with her for 1 year rent free until I was able to make enough to cover my costs. She allowed me to attain my dream of owning my own practice. I owe her so much, and I am forever grateful for her mentorship and friendship.
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