Can I Tell You A Quick Story?
Thanks for taking the time to visit our website. I’d like to share an interesting story that might help you understand my vision for taking care of people. Early on, I worked for a large medical group that hired doctors to manage a big pool of HMO patients in Atlanta. The system incentivized doctors to spend as little time as possible with patients. The HMO paid the doctor’s group a set amount of money each month. Any care you gave patients came out of that pool of money.
“Can’t You Listen Faster?” That is the not-so-subtle message we were given. It was more profitable to cut patient visits short, to rush them in and out, as if we were working on an assembly line.
“Can’t You Get A Nurse To See Your Patients?” Actually, it was even more profitable if we avoided patients altogether and let the nurse take care of issues over the phone.
“Request Denied.” And on top of that, additional outside testing and medicine was almost impossible to get approved. I couldn’t in good faith practice this way. It violated every reason I had for becoming a doctor.
My conscience would not let me be part of a system that puts profits over patients. I became a doctor to run a practice, not a factory.
So I started my own practice and concentrated on serving the LGBT community.
By locking themselves in a medical closet, gay men increase their risk of contracting HIV and other diseases. (Who else is going to tell you about safe sex or the importance of hepatitis vaccinations?) When doctors don’t know important things about you, they can miss opportunities for early detection and increase the chances for misdiagnosis. After all, how do you tell your straight doctor that you hooked up on GrindR and are worried about an STD? Would he understand? Would he judge?
Although I am one of the few out, gay doctors in Atlanta, I am hetero-friendly and welcome all to our practice. Being gay, I know the importance of having a physician you can trust with information you may not have even told your family. Having a judgment-free practice is important to me. If you are not out to your doctor, silence becomes an untreatable condition.
I also became an HIV expert and fierce advocate for people living with this condition. If you are diagnosed with HIV, it is important that you go to a doctor who specializes in treating it. The experience of seeing many HIV patients allows me to keep up with the relentless pace of new medicine and protocols and understand what is likely to work in each unique case.
I am often the first and sometimes only Atlanta doctor with technology that significantly improves people’s lives.
We also have life-saving technology not found anywhere in Atlanta, with the exception of Grady Hospital. We are the first Atlanta medical practice with an in-house anal cancer detection system. We have heavily invested in High Resolution Anoscopy (HRA), a system that allows us to screen and treat early-stage anal cancer.
For gay men, this means our practice is on the leading edge of screening, detecting and treating a cancer that is steadily rising in our community. For everyone else…it means exactly the same thing! Remember, Farah Fawcett died of anal cancer.
If you are suffering from low testosterone, we offer Aveed and Testopel as simple in-office procedures. Aveed is a long acting injection of testosterone that only requires 5 shots a year! Testopel is the only FDA-approved testosterone treatment that can normalize levels for up to six months in one dose. It is a slow-acting pellet implanted under the skin.
We have the skills, the equipment, and most importantly, the certification to do the procedures. Most other doctors refer their patients out to urologist. You know what that means- more paperwork, longer waits, more insurance plan approvals, and more hassle.
I am happy to say that leaving an HMO system that practically required me to spend less time listening and treating patients is the best thing I have ever done. It helped me concentrate on the right thing (patients), with the right tools (technology), with the right people (an expert, caring staff). Today, I have a thriving, growing practice trusted by patients, admired by peers, and respected by insurance plans. It would be a privilege to become a partner in creating a healthier life for you.
To your health,
T. Douglas Gurley