Direct primary care arrives in eastern Iowa through the Women’s Choice Pregnancy Center

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Direct primary care, a thriving medical model, spread to the eastern outskirts of Iowa when Women’s Center of Choice in Bettendorf helped launch the independent family practice of Dr Julie Schroeder from Medicine of life and family in December 2020.

In Direct Primary Care (DPC) model, families and individuals pay a small monthly membership fee determined by the number of adults and children to be served. This fee covers all office visits and provides access to their doctor by phone, email, SMS and telemedicine, even after hours if required.

Schroeder noted some key advantages of operating under this model.

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“The CPD model emphasizes the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, uninterrupted by administrators or insurance, to achieve and maintain good health,” she said. “Another resource is access to lab work which can be 90% less than the standard price. “

Additionally, since Women’s Choice Center and Life and Family Medical are located in the same location, financially struggling pregnancy center clients can easily access comprehensive and affordable medical care at Schroeder’s clinic.

“In one case example, we can provide a thyroid test to a postpartum client who is receiving counseling at the Women’s Choice Center and make sure that a physiological problem does not add to her challenges as a new mother,” said Schroeder said.

Attracted by this very first direct primary care practice in the Quad Cities area of ​​Iowa, some patients take two hours to drive to Life and Family Medical. Once there, many of them inquire about the co-located pregnancy center.

“This gives us the opportunity to showcase the work of the Women’s Choice Center,” said Schroeder. “So far, our patients are also very excited to receive their own medical care from a physician and clinic that supports the work being done at the Women’s Choice Center. “

Teamwork with the COE

Linda Rubey, executive director of the Women’s Choice Center, admires the model used by Schroeder.

“With insurance, doctors have a limited amount of time they can spend with each patient; they can see 60 patients a day, ”she said. “But in direct primary care, it’s not uncommon to have a half-hour to an hour’s appointment with your doctor.”

With that kind of schedule, Schroeder’s office didn’t need a crowded waiting room. This allowed Rubey’s center to regain some customer programming space, which it gave up when moving into this 8,500 square foot old establishment for family planning.

Reception of the Women’s Choice Center / Linda Rubey


In addition to their non-medical services, Rubey Medical Center has been offering an attempted abortion pill reversal since 2014, making them the first such provider in Iowa, along with pregnancy testing, testing of STIs and limited obstetric ultrasound, both in the office and via a mobile medical center. unit with stops throughout the Quad Cities all week. In 2020, the center received more than 1,000 medical appointments per year.

Watching those numbers increase, Rubey welcomed an offer from the local Knights of Columbus to donate a second ultrasound machine, which is expected to double its capacity starting this month.

“The number of people who had to be delayed was large enough that we knew that a second ultrasound and the staff to perform two at a time would help prevent women from saying, ‘I can’t come in, I have to go. elsewhere ‘and maybe have to make a different pregnancy decision,’ she said.

She added, “We just want to meet the needs of as many moms as possible when they call, and they are scared and trying to find answers to their unplanned pregnancy.”

Always ready for supply

Rubey and his team now see an unexpected and welcoming arrangement, as family physician Dr Schroeder in place of an anticipated natural family planning provider, be de rigueur in their work. On several occasions, Rubey or his predecessor discovered professionals among those who simply came to volunteer around the center.

Hiring a licensed social worker as a client advocate, for example, happened somewhat accidentally.

“It’s such a gift, and something centers should be looking for, especially when it comes to referrals,” Rubey said. “Having this one-on-one after the moms decide to babysit, having someone to look after them and walk by their side is very important.”

Women’s Choice Central Chapel / Linda Rubey

Finding a mental health professional to serve as a volunteer receptionist has been another blessing.

Dr. Angelika Peiffer is a Registered Psychiatrist and she has been a godsend for us to refer some clients with special needs, whether it is postpartum depression or family issues, ”said Rubey. “She is now coordinating with Dr Schroeder for tests with blood work that we cannot do here at our center, but we can align and work together to extend our assistance to clients from a medical perspective. “

As part of the Women’s Choice Center, these two types of expertise are made available to clients free of charge.

Based on this experience, Rubey believes that being receptive to what God provides should be the goal of every pregnancy assistance organization.

“We serve the community and want to be open-minded and creative,” she said. “When looking to the future, don’t put yourself in a box, like you have to adapt to what other centers or people are doing. Allow yourself the freedom to follow where God leads. Each community and the talents of the center are different. These gifts are no accident. They are for a purpose.

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