To Top

Community Highlights: Meet Sumbal Khan of Aroha Medical

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Sumbal Khan.

Hi Dr. Khan, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After completing my residency in Internal Medicine in 2005, I worked as a primary care physician for almost eight years. I worked in Alabama until 2013 and then moved to Texas to be close to my family in Houston. I fell in love with Austin where I first worked as a primary care physician and, later as a hospitalist. Having worked at various healthcare facilities in different clinical settings, I often felt frustrated with how broken healthcare system is. The fact that focuses on the volume of patients rather than the quality of care. And while there’s been a push lately for value-based care, I have felt that so far this concept is merely semantics, while the root causes are not being addressed. I became a physician to help my patients optimize their health and be an advocate for them in their health journey. The current system rewards volume over quality and quality metrics when set are to maximize insurance reimbursement rather than emphasizing individualized care that every patient deserves. Insurance companies drive the care by requiring prior-authorization for medications and tests rather than the doctors who are most qualified to make those decisions for their patients. The documentation burdens imposed by insurance companies and physician employers to achieve their bottom lines take away a significant portion of a physician’s time from their patients and families alike.

Hence, physician burnout has been growing while patients only get rushed visits after waiting long periods for appointments. Often times, patients do not get timely or comprehensive care that can potentially help avoid ER visits or hospitalizations. The end result is an increased cost of care. All this led me to join the movement of Direct Primary Care (DPC). It is a grass-roots movement by physicians nationwide to bring about change in the healthcare delivery for the better. The idea is to have a local doctor offer primary care to their community with no insurance middleman involved. For a flat monthly fee, member patients can receive both preventative care such as cancer screening, wellness checks, as well as acute and chronic disease management with no hidden costs and no copays or deductibles. They can pair this primary care model with a low monthly premium/ anhigh deductible insurance for their major medical needs like accidents, surgeries, hospitalizations, or other specialty care. Moreover, there are alternatives to traditional health insurance carriers, such as health-share companies that they can consider. Direct Primary Care allows for proactive, timely, personalized, and comprehensive care with doctor-patient relationship at its core.

It was truly a leap of faith for me to follow this path and start my direct primary care practice. As a resident of Pflugerville, I also noticed that while DPC practices are already established and growing in the northwest and south Austin and suburbs, Pflugerville did not have one. Thus, I chose to open Aroha Medical here in Pflugerville. And since I strongly believe that compassion and empathy are as much a component of the art and science of Medicine as is the knowledge and skills we spend years to acquire as physicians, I named my practice ‘Aroha’ which is a Māori word with layers of meanings including compassion, empathy, kindness, and of course, love. I hope to provide comprehensive care to my patients with compassion and a commitment to excellence.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
During my various jobs, it was challenging to balance the high volume of patients while providing a consistently high quality of care. I was leaving work late, addressing inbox for various patient requests like refills, reviewing test results and sending follow up plans and instructions, completing documentation etc, during after hours and weekends. In other words, I was an overtime physician and a part-time mother and wife.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Aroha Medical?
I would like to highlight, not only is my practice the first DPC in Pflugerville, but also it allows for those in the community without insurance to have access to a low cost high quality primary care.

Any big plans?
I hope to expand services at my clinic to include injectable medications and immunizations, and blood draws for send out labs. I plan to get secure interpreter phone service for various languages. Also, would consider offering employer packages for small business owners so they can offer an affordable health coverage to their employees.

Including a complete physical with sole basic labs on the initial visit; and in-house point of care labs and EKG always (when indicated/ available) for our members:

  • 18-45yr $75/month
  • 46-64yr. $95/month
  • 65+yr $105/month
  • One time enrollment fee any age: $99

Contact Info:

Suggest a Story: VoyageAustin is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Local Stories