When Rebecca Berens and her husband moved back to Houston a year and a half ago, they immediately fell back in love with the community.
She wants the community to feel that same love in her practice.
“We just love the Heights area, love that it feels like a small town even though it’s within a big city,” she said. “There are a lot of vibrant local businesses that are locally-owned, and we just really like the atmosphere and community feeling of it.”
Berens is a board-certified family medicine physician with expertise in women’s health and breastfeeding medicine. After growing up just outside of Houston in Richmond, she graduated from Rice University with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in 2009 and later earned her M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in 2013. Her practice with Vida Family Medicine at 721 E. 14th St. in the Heights opened Jan. 6.
Though she specializes in postpartum care, Berens also offers primary care for all ages such as well-woman exams, annual physicals, sick visits, and pediatric checkups and has a comprehensive “4th trimester” package for new moms and babies, including lactation support and family planning services.
“I treat my patients like they’re my family, and I really want a community feel to my practice where people feel welcomed and comfortable,” she said. “I want my practice to grow by giving back and serving the community here in the Heights.”
A crucial aspect of Berens’ practice is communication with her patients. She said most practices now are overscheduled, with patients being rushed through visits because of the high administrative burden of insurance companies. Most patients, she said, spend on average about 8-10 minutes with their doctor if they’re lucky.
Berens, however, spends 30 to 60 minutes with each patient.
“Our membership model cuts out the restrictions of insurance companies and allows me to be accessible to my patients and have longer visits with them,” she said. “…I want to know them and understand their story, not just their numbers and data. I want to actually understand them as a person and be able to provide more holistic care that way.”
To that end, Berens will offer her patients same or next day visits and after-hours availability for urgent needs in efforts to avoid what she called disjointed care. Many clinics, she said, do not offer after-hours care or telemedicine, thus patients who need immediate assistance must go to an urgent care center or emergency room with an unfamiliar practitioner, complicating treatment.
Member patients would be able to call or text Berens, or even consult over video chat to make sure the appointments they need are as accessible as possible.
“I’m trying to offer more than just a doctor’s visit, I want to build relationships with my patients,” she said.
Dr. Berens’ practice is currently open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information on the practice and what they have to offer, call 713-766-4496, or visit www.vidafamilydpc.com to schedule a free meet and greet.
This article is part of the Leader Experts series, where companies pay for editorial space on topics important to the community. If you’d like to be a Leader Expert, contact us at (713) 686-8494.