Plain re-launches PrimeLife practice in Webster City
When Melanie Plain started PrimeLife Integrative Medicine in 2014, she thought she would just be doing some integrative medicine consults. Now, Plain runs two PrimeLife clinics — one in Ames and one in Webster City.
Plain, a certified physician assistant, recently re-opened her Webster City PrimeLife practice at 914 Willson Ave., alongside Mary Fortune’s Shanti Rejuvenation Center.
Plain, who spent many years working as a PA-C at the former Advanced Family Medicine clinic owned by Dr. Don Woodhouse, began to see some of conventional medicine’s shortfalls in patient care.
“Once you get into medicine — at least conventionally — you find that it’s very time-driven and not necessarily patient-centric,” Plain said. “I truly believe that every doctor, medical provider, nurse, wants to provide the best care that they can, but we are trebly limited by the amount of time that we’re able to spend with our patients and education and empowerment for making those lifestyle choices.”
Plain believes in the power of integrative medicine and taking a functional approach to patient care. Using specialized testing that “digs a little deeper than your basic blood work,” like testing saliva, gut health and nutrition, gives providers a “much better picture” of what’s going wrong.
“In order to rest those conditions, we actually focus on the root cause of the problem, versus just giving medication to alleviate the symptom,” she said.
Having more face time with patients gives Plain the time to address and treat the patient’s problem directly, often in an individualized manner.
“I love the integrative medicine approach where we use the best of all available therapies, whether that be medication, herbs, exercise, rest, sleep, basic things,” she said.
Previously, Plain’s PrimeLife practices have focused on specialty medical care, but with the re-opening of the Webster City location, she plans to add more primary care services to increase the wellness of the practice’s patients.
“I take a very holistic approach to my patient care and the best way I can do that is called a direct primary care model,” she said. “It’s quality-based, not quantity based. So we’re not tryin got get people through every seven minutes and I actually can spend a half an hour to an hour with you, just with you and focus on you. It’s very different and our outcomes are much better because we have the ability to spend that time.”
Plain is joined by staff members Emily Goldsberry, a nurse practitioner, and Liz Neighbors, a family nurse practitioner, as well as office manager Dori Gass.
As an integrative medicine practice, PrimeLife does not accept medical insurance. However, Plain strives to make the clinic’s services as accessible for people as possible.
“Our prices are very, very reasonable,” she said. “And so many people have high deductibles now that even if they saw us once a month, they would never even touch that. A typical visit is anywhere from $65 to $200 for an intake.”
Right now, the cost is per visit, but Plain said the clinic will be moving to a membership-based model for the direct primary care, which “keeps it very affordable for everybody.”
A typical visit is between 30 minutes to an hour, she added.
In addition to the functional and integrative medicine she practices, Plain is also a certified sexologist and specializes in women’s sexual health and men’s sexual health and sexual function.
“The depth of services that we’re able to provide here is remarkable in a practice this size and available here in Webster City,” she said. “The specialty care that we’re able to provide, as far as the hormone replacement, the women’s intimate health services, … I have wanted this practice to be as patient-centric as possible and to serve at the highest level, and we have actually been able to create that and it’s working really well. Our staff is happy and our patients are happy.”