New Primary Care Option in Salem

The owner of Salem Women's Clinic expands into primary care.


May 16, 2013 – Dr. Elizebeth Harmon understands that patients want more time with their doctors because it’s how she’s run her gynecological practice, Salem Women’s Clinic, for the past 20 years; giving the women who visit the clinic time to be heard, understood, and receive meaningful and appropriate care. Being able to offer more quality time to patients in a primary care setting is what led her to open the Salem Wellness Clinic in early May.

“We’ve had patients practically begging us for 20 years to offer primary care,” Harmon said. “So we finally decided to start our own primary practice.“

Her new clinic, located at the same site as the Salem Women' s Clinic, has two nurse practitioners and will focus on helping people lead healthy lifestyles.

“Bad habits need to go by the wayside if someone is going to be our patient,” Harmon explained. “If 8 out of a patient’s 10 problems can be corrected with a change in lifestyle, then that is what we want to see.”

Salem Wellness Clinic will offer long, no-rush, same day or next day appointments, on-site lab services, a secure online patient portal, and a personal health coordinator. According to Harmon, the clinic eventually plans to charge a nominal membership fee to offset the cost seeing fewer patients.

“The membership fee will allow us to keep offering long appointments without having to see 100 patients a day to cover our business costs,” Harmon explained. “It’s impossible to talk about what will make the patient healthy if a doctor has to see that many patients in a day to simply cover costs. Three-minute appointments aren’t enough to provide care. You are sliding down a slippery slope if you start trying to do more and more.”

The addition of a new primary care option in Salem will also help combat the shortage of primary care doctors in the community.

“We are just doing our part to fill the need,” Harmon said. “We want to offer primary care and do it the right way.”

While the clinic will serve all ages, “from the cradle to the grave,” Harmon expects most of the new clinic’s patients to be women who already are seen at Salem Women’s Clinic.

“We will see anyone who wants us to be their primary care provider,” Harmon explained. “But we expect to see the spouses, partners, and children of those women we’ve heard say, ‘I want my family to have that (the same care that Salem Women’s Clinic offers).”

Joanne Scharer can be reached at [email protected].

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