County's Sole Pediatric Office Bursting At Seams
By Art Bukowski | Jan. 22, 2024
Leelanau County’s only pediatric practice is pausing new enrollments after a tremendous response during its first few months in business.
Stowe Farm Pediatrics opened in October in downtown Suttons Bay. Owner Dr. Phoebe Danziger wanted to emulate an old-time, small-town operation that’s close to those needing care. And while she assumed this approach would resonate with potential patients, she couldn’t be sure.
Now, at about 125 patients, she’s pausing new enrollments and taking some time to figure out what happens next.
“It’s been such a warm welcome, and I’ve been so happy with the reception I’ve gotten,” Danzinger tells The Ticker. “This definitely came more quickly than I expected.”
It’s possible that Stowe Farm will add more staff, Danziger says. Either way, it’s a good time to pause and take stock of operations after roughly 100 days in business.
Anyone who has already begun the enrollment process can rest assured that their spot is still secure. She will also still accept a “few newborns a month,” but all other interested families will be placed on a waitlist.
Danzinger, who lives in Suttons Bay on a hobby farm that shares a name with her practice, has four daughters of her own. In a Facebook post announcing the pause, she says she wants to be “very intentional about keeping the practice small and keeping the growth gradual in order to continue to provide the high level of access and quality that I want to offer and that my families deserve.”
Stowe Farm does a few things differently, perhaps the most notable of which is eschewing insurance billing and instead enrolling patients/families on monthly payment plans.
“I wasn't sure what demographics I would attract, and it’s been totally across the spectrum. I have a number of families who have no insurance, and they’re really happy for this because this is an affordable monthly thing and they can get good, broad-spectrum care for their kids,” she says. “Then I have families with high-quality insurance plans who really just appreciate the flexibility and the access and all of that. And then plenty of families in the middle; families with health sharing or high deductible plans.”
She’s far more accessible than the average doctor, especially in this day and age.
“I have families communicate with me through a messaging app, so we’re basically texting back and forth. And they can send me pictures,” she says. “There's not all the rigid rules of having to come in for an appointment.”
But perhaps her biggest selling point is her location. Suttons Bay is not all that far from Traverse City, but those 15 miles can seem quite daunting at times.
“From a practical, logistical standpoint, ‘not that far’ is relative,” Danzinger says. “When you have a sick kid, or the weather is bad, or when you have a family with multiple kids and jobs and you're balancing that stuff, 45 minutes is a huge difference from five or ten minutes.”
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