New clinic heads to El Dorado, promises more affordability

Caelin Bragg
Hope Family Medicine's building sits at the corner of N. Vine Street and E. First Avenue across from Truecare Pharmacy and the El Dorado Police Department. Dr. Christina Gonzalez began seeing patients on Wednesday, July 1 and hopes the new building will be finished by the end of the month.

El Dorado is seeing a brand new clinic open up in town, Hope Family Medicine, headed by former Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital physician Dr. Christina Gonzalez, DO.

While Gonzalez officially opened the clinic on Wednesday, July 1, the building, on the corner of E. First Avenue and N, Vine Street is still under construction with hopes it will be completed before the end of the month.

“The pandemic has made it really interesting, a lot more phone calls and less in-person things, and a lot things that we were able to just say we’ll figure that out later or things that opened a lot more easily too because people were just ready” Gonzalez said, in response to opening during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Especially in healthcare, the pandemic has affected healthcare from an industry standpoint a lot more than I think probably a lot of people have realized. … So it’s definitely been challenging, but I’ve had a great community of other doctors who’ve opened similar practices, who’ve been amazing support in helping me figure out how to do a lot of these things and work around some of the things that couldn’t be started right away.”

The model the new clinic is using is called Direct Primary Care (DPC), the goal of which is to provide a more affordable access to physicians by cutting out insurance. Through DPC, patients pay a flat, periodic rate in exchange for services according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

For Hope Family Medicine, payment is through a monthly subscription with different rates depending on the patient. Memberships are $20 a month for children, $50 a month for adults and $70 a month for seniors, which is listed as from ages 65 to 90. Special memberships include $200 for six months of service for college students, $1 a month for those years 100 and over and $175 for families under the same roof. There are also additional membership options available for people in military, missions, ministry and out of town visitors.

“I first heard of [DPC] maybe five or six years ago,” Gonzalez said. “And it was kind of always in the back of my mind, that this is something that I really like the idea of, and I thought there was a lot of value to it and something that I thought would bring a lot of value to the community too.”

Gonzalez formerly worked in Dr. Michael Rausch’s office at the Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital. Growing up initially, Gonzalez had no interest in being a doctor, but still had interest in the medical field whether it was through counseling or some form of rehab. She eventually went on a mission trip through her church to Ethiopia as a psychology student. She eventually went to med school in her home state of New York and came to Kansas to work and train at Ascension Via Christi in Wichita.