Home » Business Values Profile Dr. Gary Goin, M.D

Business Values Profile Dr. Gary Goin, M.D

By Diane Altman

Often, navigating the medical community involves a seemingly complex maze of phone calls, waiting rooms and challenging vocabulary. Unless, of course, patients are fortunate enough to connect with Dr. Gary Goin, one of only four 2011 Thurston County Health Care Champions and president of the Physicians of Southwest Washington, a collaborative network group founded in 1995.

“I enjoy the challenge of every different person and adapting what I know to meet their medical needs. It’s a lot like theater, where you have adaptability in each room,” says Goin, who classifies himself as a solo medical office owner. With training and board certification as a family physician, Goin manages a myriad of experiences from the birth-to-death process and helps people manage chronic illnesses as well as providing preventative care. “Everyday has variety. It’s a bit of a roller coaster some days,” says Goin, who manages everything from well-child check-ups to minor surgical procedures and balances it with the modern changes in how physicians communicate and use electronic medical records.

In recent years, physicians’ practices have been encouraged to establish electronic health records. “We were on the early side of that discovery,” says Goin. He believes it’s valuable when computers can be used to improve the health care of patients, rather than just the billing systems. Therefore, three years ago, Goin and his four full-time support staff began rebuilding medical charts electronically rather than the previous paper files. As all business owners know, making such innovative shifts adds additional time to the day, in this case another three hours after a full-load of patients. “It was essential we preserve the personal touch and remain engaged with the patient 90 percent of the time in the room with them,” he said. Electronic records provided a learning curve and different way of thinking. “It’s part of the modern change in how physicians care for people and organize the information,” he said. For example, someone with diabetes can have their information in a registry that is more comprehensive because it creates lab efficiency, balanced with their own self-management and the ability for them to adhere to their medical goals. “So, as a team, everyone has a role in the health care and it becomes a collaborative effort where we can monitor and share results,” he said.

With his strong emphasis on patient care and wide-range of family practice experience, it’s no surprise Goin was elected president of the Physicians of Southwest Washington at its formation. The 250 member network includes all local hospitals and several other service providers throughout Thurston and Lewis counties and has re-elected Goin every year. “It’s valuable to work in community and collaboration with other physicians. I’ve tried to build a sense of team and community among peers,” he said.

“I think there are some natural fears with as much change as has happened in health care and government health plans,” Goin said. However, he believes collaboration is of greater value in health care than competition. “Our experienced medical community is finding progressively better ways of working together. There’s plenty of work to go around,” he said.

While he no longer delivers babies, those little ones from the past are bringing their own children for care. Of the 20-30 daily patients, some are second and third generations of the same family, according to Kathy M. Montgomery R.N., the family practice nurse for the past 25 years. “We are nearly at fourth generation care with some of our patients,” she said. Goin sees patients four days a week, does hospital rounds twice daily for any of his patients and spends some time on call for urgent care. He reserves one day a week for nursing home visits and record keeping. “Of course, I’m not opposed to a golf game fitting in there,” he mentions with a laugh.

However, Goin also finds health insurance is not a laughing matter, especially when treating people in the Medicare age group. Motivated by the ideal that patient needs come first, Goin and the PSW developed the first new health plan in more than a decade in Washington, Soundpath Health; a Medicare Advantage plan. Goin said the plan is reliable because it was founded on the principle of being better stewards of finances and meeting patients’ needs, along with keeping doctor’s individual businesses afloat. “We value local decision making and if a local premium is handled by local health coverage it allows the Medicare people to be treated by local doctors who can also remain in business,” he said.

Denise R. Crawford, who has worked as a receptionist and assistant with Goin the past eleven years agrees with the descriptions people use when they say Goin is caring, compassionate and kind. “He really cares about his community too. When the office needs supplies, they are purchased locally from other independent business owners,” she said.

Really, the Golden Rule applies, according to Goin. “When working with people, society just needs to remember to speak to each other with respect, provide affirmations and treat others as you would prefer to be treated – in whatever business we are in.”

Goin appreciates his 26 years in this community and understands the stress of owning local businesses. “Whatever business you are in, it can consume you if you allow it. So, other than remaining physically active, eating well and surrounding yourself with loving and supportive relationships, the best advice is to be of service to others. Being of service to others is the only real reward in life,” Goin said.

Of all the accolades, Goin says his greatest success comes from his 31 year marriage to his college love, Anita, and together they raised three children who are now healthy contributors to society.

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