Located in the heart of Lewisville, Summer Family Care is a small, independent, community-driven family practice owned by Drs. Michael and Leigh Summer who have 40 years of experience between them. Summer Family Care has been providing personalized care to patients since opening its doors in 2005. Although Dr. Leigh Summer has her own practice, Lewisville Laser & Aesthetics, she sees patients every Wednesday at Summer Family Care, with a focus on women’s wellness. In a day where big medicine dominates healthcare, it is rare to find a practice where you feel like a member of the family. As Dr. Summer shares, “Smaller is better here!”
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
DL: What is the primary advantage of being smaller?
MS: Being smaller means we are able to build a personal relationship with each patient and gather necessary insights into their health concerns to better support them in achieving and maintaining overall good health practices. Big medicine has become more specialized and less personal over time, but we believe that trusting relationships and communication between physicians and patients result in more positive health outcomes. In fact, recent studies have shown that small-practice physicians have one-third fewer hospital admissions than larger practices.
DL: What does a family doctor do?
MS: As a family practice, we can handle a little bit of everything. I like to think our main job is to keep our patients out of the hospital, so we focus on preventive health. When patients are sick or injured, we are more familiar with them than a random urgent care. Although we routinely manage chronic medical problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and hypothyroidism, we know our limitations. When a specialist evaluation or additional testing is needed, we give our expert recommendations and try to point patients in the right direction.
Caring for Patients of All Ages the Old-Fashioned Way
DL: Do you see all ages?
MS: We don’t discriminate based on developmental stage. A commitment to providing quality, affordable healthcare for families of all ages and sizes – from newborns to seniors – is what sets us apart from larger practices. We have many 3-generation families and even some 4-generation families in our practice. We are in a position to offer medical and wellness care to the entire family, which eliminates the need for different doctors across various stages of life.
DL: What about the cost?
MS: We are “in network” with most commercial insurance and Medicare plans. If a patient has insurance, then the amount is whatever the provider tells us to charge. Unlike some larger practices where self-pay patients actually end up paying more than those with insurance, we go out of our way to have very reasonable charges for self-pay patients without insurance or who choose not to use insurance for both doctor visits and lab tests.
DL: Do you have same-day appointments?
MS: We reserve time each day for same-day “urgent-care” appointments. While we don’t routinely have “walk-in” hours or appointments (since there is usually just one doctor here), if someone calls, we can usually see him or her that day. Patients never have to wait more than a day to be seen, and we will always work in a sick child if needed. Patients with questions will likely receive a call back within the hour, but definitely by the end of the day. Also, a nurse is on call after hours of operation, so someone is always available to respond to patients’ needs. A bonus…you will always get a person on the other end of the call – no automated response system!
Fitness and Diet are the Keys to Good Health and Longevity
DL: Do you prescribe “natural” or “alternative” treatments?
MS: When this subject comes up, most people are referring to non-prescription supplements, herbal preparations, vitamins, etc. Most, if not all, of these types of treatments have no valid evidence to substantiate the claims they make, such as “supports heart health” or “promotes brain function” and since they are not subject to approval or regulation by the FDA, they are allowed to claim anything they wish. I often find it interesting that many patients who are very reluctant to use safe, proven medical therapies are more than willing to take multiple, sometimes dozens, of prescription and non-prescriptions supplements and hormones daily that either are ineffective, not necessary, or just plain dangerous. In general, we practice traditional, science-based medicine, in a very conservative, and personalized way. One size does NOT fit all.
DL: What is your number one recommendation for overall good health?
MS: In most cases, I much prefer improving lifestyle choices before recommending any medication for treatment of chronic problems, such as high blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol problems. My most common “prescription,” by far, is EXERCISE, in any form. Just ask any patient of ours and they will tell you how often I have asked how much they have been walking. So you could say I do prescribe natural treatments for overall good health – just not the type someone may be thinking.
If you’re looking for a medical practice that is committed to making you a priority, look no further than Summer Family Care. They are located at 6614 Shallowford Road in Lewisville. Call 336.945.0277 to schedule an appointment. Follow on Facebook or visit SummerFamilyCare.com to learn more!