A True Family Practice
Three sisters join forces to offer a new model of medical care with Coastal Direct Health & Wellness Center.
Sisters Jennifer Nomides and Kristin Pleasant are teaming up to offer residents of Brunswick County a beneficial and economical new way to receive high-quality medical care. Nomides, a medical doctor and hospitalist at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, and Pleasant, a family nurse practitioner, are both graduates of UNC Chapel Hill. This week the siblings opened Coastal Direct Health & Wellness Center, a family practice with a focus on preventative care.
“We both have an affinity for comprehensive medicine, and we value the importance of things like nutrition and exercise that can affect health,” Nomides says. “We’ve been pretty dissatisfied by traditional healthcare models and the amount of influence insurance companies have and how that’s all driven up the cost of healthcare without improving quality at all.”
What started as just a brainstorm a few years ago quickly evolved into a solid plan, and the sisters decided to open a family practice that offers direct primary care. With no insurance company dealings or third-party payers involved, patients instead pay a monthly membership fee that gives them complete access to their providers.
“We give patients our cell phone numbers, something that allows for a lot of continuity of care,” Nomides says. “People are able to contact us directly, both after hours and on the weekends, and we can take care of simple things over the phone.”
By offering direct primary care, Nomides and Pleasant hope to make healthcare more accessible to uninsured populations and those with high deductible healthcare plans as well as people who just want more quality time with their provider.
“In this kind of model, we have fewer patients on our panel, which means we can spend more time with each patient,” Nomides says. “So instead of the traditional 10-minute appointment, we can spend 45 minutes to an hour with them.”
Nomides’ and Pleasant’s other sister, Candace Wright, works as a pediatric physical therapist in town. She will be joining her siblings and seeing patients out of the new office, making Coastal Direct Health & Wellness a true family practice.
Nomides says that growing up it was never the plan to work with her siblings or even to go into medicine at all. Originally a marine biology major in college, Nomides was months away from graduation when she realized she had little desire to work in a lab or do research; instead she felt called toward a career that would allow her to serve others. As a child, her family traveled on several humanitarian trips to developing countries, an experience that gave her exposure to underserved places and people.
“I remember seeing people doing medical work on some of those trips, and I think I always wanted to one day serve in that capacity myself,” Nomides says. “The desire to have a useful skill that would actually be helpful to developing countries made me realize I didn’t want to pursue marine biology anymore, so I started exploring medicine.”
Nomides is now able to share her medical skills with patients both here and overseas. Her parents helped start a nonprofit organization in Haiti called Kythoni, Incorporated, whose mission is to serve those throughout the world who lack basic necessities. As a medical director, Nomides is able to go back and forth between Leland and the medical clinic she runs down there.
“I feel very fortunate that our parents were so intentional when raising us about making sure we were aware of what else was happening in the world,” Nomides says. “It helped instill a deep desire to make sure we use the resources we were blessed with to help serve others. It’s something my sister and I would like to explore in Brunswick County, because there are a lot of underserved areas right here. We know from working in the area that this is a place that needs quality, affordable medical care, and the population is only going to continue to grow.”
Coastal Direct Health & Wellness Center is enrolling patients now. The facility is located at 1022 Grandiflora Drive, Suite 120, in Leland. To find out more, visit coastalwellnessnc.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org