KMC Dermatology Featured in MD News
KMC Dermatology was featured in the current issue of MD News. Click this link to view the article or read below.
KMC dermatologists pursue goal of serving patients statewide
By Sarah Gooding
When Kansas Medical Clinic opened its first dermatology practice, the goal was to help meet a need in the medical community.
In the 17 years since Dr. Joseph Gadzia, MD, became KMC’s first dermatologist, the practice has taken off and the goal has grown exponentially.
Shekhar Challa, MD, a Topeka gastroenterologist and founder of the Kansas Medical Clinic, now has a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal – in the words of researcher and author Jim Collins) of ensuring no patient in Kansas has to travel farther than 50 miles to see a dermatologist.
To achieve that goal, KMC is identifying communities around the state in need of a dermatology provider, while simultaneously creating a nurse practitioner/physician assistant fellowship program to help staff new offices.
Good business sense
So why does a gastroenterologist decide to open a dermatology practice?
“We used to have a primary care base and we had quite a bit of difficulty getting our patients into dermatology,” Dr. Challa said. “It then made business sense to go into dermatology.”
Dr. Challa is an entrepreneur at heart, and he hired Dr. Gadzia to test the dermatology waters in the summer of 2000.
“We stepped into dermatology not sure that it would be a huge growth area for us, but knowing in Topeka it was definitely necessary for us,” said Michelle Meier, KMC’s COO. “We felt very fortunate to get Dr. Gadzia to come to Topeka. He was instrumental guiding us on the needs of a full-service dermatology clinic.”
Dr. Gadzia said KMC gave him the opportunity to customize the new practice from the ground up.
“When I first started, I was the only dermatologist,” Dr. Gadzia said. “There was no one here before me to set up procedures or have equipment in place. Over the last 17 years, basically we’ve built the business to become a complete dermatology provider and to offer all services to our patients that are currently available to patients with skin diseases.”
“We can treat all skin ailments and we have essentially all FDA-approved treatments for various skin conditions,” Dr. Gadzia said. “It’s a one-stop shop, and they don’t have to worry that we will have to forward them to someone else.”
For example, when Dr. Gadzia performs a procedure such as Moh’s surgery, he is able to remove the cancer and a very thin rim of normal-looking skin around it, then take it to Dr. Michael Kucenic, KMC’s onsite dermatopathologist, who can immediately read the specimen under the microscope and determine if additional tissue needs to be removed. KMC’s plastic surgeons are also available for delicate cosmetic procedures.
The Topeka practice now has five dermatology providers and a full-service path lab, which Meier said is an asset to patients
“We are able to process in our own lab with the highest of quality,” she said. “If you come to KMC, we can guarantee a board-certified dermatopathologist is going to look at your lab.”
The success of the Topeka office led to a second clinic in Shawnee, Kan. and when busy practitioners in Topeka noticed they had patients coming from Lawrence, a third location was opened.
Meier said KMC has been approached by physicians nearing retirement, and has purchased their dermatology practices, retaining the doctors and adding new ones.
“They’re people who have excellent practices who have worked for years building their patient base,” Meier said. “They just need someone they can trust to take over and add all the new requirements or sign new leases for the long term; someone who can ensure the survival of what they’ve worked so hard to build.”
This growth, which now also includes Leawood, Legends and Manhattan locations, is just the starting point.
KMC now has a total of 14 dermatology providers, with plans for more.
Developing a BHAG
“Now, my BHAG is to have a dermatology provider within 50 miles of anywhere in Kansas within the next four to five years,” Dr. Challa said.
In order to do that, he created a fellowship program to recruit nurse practitioners and physician assistants willing to live in communities such as Independence, Coffeyville, Pittsburg, Emporia or Yates Center.
“My fellowship program needs to correlate with my BHAG in a way,” Dr. Challa said. “We have picked several locations, and if we can find somebody who, after their training in Topeka and Kansas City, would go back to these areas, that’d be great.”
Dr. Challa’s paid fellowship opportunity offers one or two individuals one year of training, followed by at least three years of dermatology service with KMC.
“We are having inquiries from all over the country to be in our fellowship program,” Dr. Challa said, adding the program’s first fellow has just completed coursework and he looks forward to training more and to the fulfillment of his goal, which he measures against two criteria.
“One, is it making business sense and two, is it serving a bigger purpose?” Dr. Challa asked. “It’s making sense for us when we see how far people are traveling.”
In most types of medical practice, people heal the same, regardless of outward appearances.
But that’s not true when it comes to dermatology and hair loss, said Meena Singh, MD, a dermatologist and hair transplant specialist with Kansas Medical Clinic who has performed hundreds of hair transplant procedures.
“With skin of color, not only do we have some manifestations of diseases that are different, but we present differently and it treats differently, Dr. Singh said. “If you’re not comfortable treating skin of color or recognizing, you can actually do harm to the patient with cosmetic disfigurement. It’s very important to have a dermatologist who is comfortable in not only recognizing the differences, but also treating it.”
“With dermatology, these are conditions that really affect how you are seen to the world,” Dr. Singh continued. “With hair loss, if you can help them feel more confident in how they present themselves to the world it can really change their outlook.”
Dr. Singh’s passion and talents have earned her recognition by the National Minority Quality Forum as a 2017 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health Award honoree.
“They honor medical professionals who have helped to address disparities in health,” Dr. Singh said. “In my expertise as someone who treats ethnic skin and hair, my main focus is on cosmetically disfiguring scar and hair loss for black women.”
The latest technology and the lowest price are only two of the reasons Kansas Medical Clinic PA’s MedSpas are garnering attention.
“Our patients come first, and that is the first and foremost thing that I love about KMC,” said Ryan Wesley, MedSpa manager for the Kansas City-area Legends location. “We really focus on being the lowest price and highest quality in Kansas City in the dermatology setting.”
KMC opened its first MedSpa, under the direction of Jaya Challa, 18 years ago in Topeka. In the years since, the practices have been paired with KMC’s dermatology offices and KMC MedSpas have opened in several northeast Kansas locations, while continuing the long-term commitment to top care at low prices.
“We’re able to offer the best procedures and the best-quality services. Our patients are extremely satisfied with our services,” Wesley said. “With our market, we deal with the unwanted hair and pigmentation issues people have,”
One standout element is KMC’s commitment to purchasing technology for all skin types.
“Other lasers and technologies weren’t able to treat darker skin types, but our lasers are specific for all skin types,” Wesley continued. “That makes us stand out and we actually get a better result.”
For more information and a full list of locations and services, please visit www.kmcpa.com/medspa.