WICHITA — Amy Short’s Prairie Gynecology abruptly closed last week, but Short says that doesn’t mean her attempt at gynecology and functional medicine wasn’t a success.
“The clinic was a massive success with filling a specific need in the community,” she says. “However, under an insurance paradigm, functional medicine is not profitable.”
When Short first revealed her plans to open a clinic at the Collective near 21st and Greenwich two years ago, she explained to Have You Heard? that functional medicine is about “going to the root causes of imbalance, whether that’s chronic illness or hormone imbalance, and solving it from the ground up rather than dealing with it … once the disease process has already manifested.”
She says it doesn’t work with a conventional billing system, though.
“The time we spend with patients, you simply can’t bill for,” Short says. “You just can’t recoup that time, but that’s what’s required to do the job.”
She says patient visits averaged 30 to 60 minutes. New patients generally took at least 40 minutes.
“It takes that long to get a good history,” Short says.
“It’s not that the medicine is invalidated by the practice closing. It just has to be rethought.”
Short says patients are “extremely sad and upset because they feel they have finally found a type of practice that fits their needs.”
In the end, malpractice insurance is what Short says caused her to have to immediately close.
“There’s absolutely no way for me to pay that.”
She says it’s like buying two Mercedes Benzes in the middle of a financial crisis.
“We tried to do something really unique in an already difficult … medical financial environment,” Short says.
“The hope is we can be part of a rebirth of something that will work with longevity,” she says. “It will look a bit different but in a lot of ways the same.”
The biggest difference is she won’t be able to be a part of it.
“Because I put my heart and soul and entire finances in this, because it was a financial failure, I have to make money.”
Short is seeking work elsewhere – most likely out of state – as an obstetrician. She hasn’t given up on functional medicine, though.
“There’s a significant need for this kind of medicine,” she says. “The patients are telling me this has been a healing experience.”
Short says she regularly saw what she calls “medical miracles.”
“When you can get to the underlying root cause of the problem, they get their life back.”
She says her practice was an intimate experience that she felt a privilege to be part of.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Short says. “I have no regrets. It was an amazing blessing to walk through the lives of the women who have come here.”