We have a new doctor! We are very happy to welcome Susan Mellinger, M.D., to CovenantMD. She begins with us on Monday, September 11. Dr. Mellinger brings a rigorous commitment to evidence-based care, and a passion for developing a true doctor-patient relationship, characterized by ample time in the exam room and a love for patient education. These are qualities that were tough for her to pursue in the world of insurance-based managed care. So she is very excited to now practice under the Direct Primary Care model, with all its benefits both for doctors and patients.
Dr. Mellinger earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University, her M.D. from the University of Virginia, and she completed her residency in Family Medicine at Lancaster General Hospital. She has worked for many years in the Lancaster General and Wellspan systems. She and her husband, Don have three children. She comes enthusiastically recommended by former colleagues and patients.
What will this look like for those considering joining CovenantMD as patients between now and Sept 11, when Dr. Mellinger starts? I will serve as your physician until Sept 11, at which point your will be transitioned over to Dr. Mellinger's patient panel. I will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis. I will also continue to accept new family members of my current patients at all times.
There are also a number of questions that I anticipate our current patients will have as we transition to a two-doctor practice. Let me try to anticipate two of them and answer them for you.
First, what will CovenantMD be like as a two-doctor practice? Will it mean that sometimes I won’t be able to see my doctor? Are you guys returning to the dark side? Nope and nope. CovenantMD will best be described as two solo practices under one roof. We will continue to schedule my patients with me, and likewise Dr. Mellinger’s patients will only be scheduled with her. We may at times see each other’s patients on an acute basis as the need arises, but we anticipate this will be rare. Dr. Rohal and Hannah’s patients will continue to call 717-287-1983 to reach us during the day and after hours. Dr. Mellinger’s patients will call another line (717-288-1302) to reach our office during business hours, and this number will ring to Dr. Mellinger and her nurse after hours, weekends, and holidays. That way, our patients will continue to interact with the doctor and nurse that knows them best, at all hours. I and Dr. Mellinger will cover the entire practice for each other while the other is on vacation or trapped under something heavy.
Second, will I be able to keep Dr. Rohal as my doctor? Absolutely! But I will be seeking to downsize my patient panel by moving some patients over to Dr. Mellinger’s panel. To do this, I will take volunteers (and only volunteers — I will not force anybody) to move to Dr. Mellinger’s panel. Please let us know sometime in the next two months (before Sept 11) if you would like to make this move. For any that would consider this, please rest assured that I will not take this personally.
Thank you, our patients, for making us a successful practice and enabling us to bring on another physician just 18 months into the life of CovenantMD. We are excited for what the future holds. We welcome any questions about these coming changes.