Q&A - Sandra D. Dickerson MBA, MD, RPVI, FACS

Diplomate American Board of Phlebology.
Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery.
University of Michigan.
University of Michigan Medical School.
State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine (General Surgery Residency Program).
Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Texas Tech
University (MBS for Physicians and Dentists).
Practice in Lubbock, TX.

What is something about you that would surprise your colleagues?
I’m a Colonel in the US Air Force Reserve and was deployed to Iraq in 2007.

What made you decide to work in phlebology and what do you wish you had known before you did?
I have always been interested in venous disease and care of venous stasis ulcers. I am fascinated by the mystery
of the venous system, and have always puzzled over the fact that one-third (if you count the lymphatic system as the other third) of the circulatory system could be so poorly understood. I wish I had known how little most physicians and patients knew about venous disease.

What is it about your practice that sets it apart from others? Why should a patient visit your practice?
My practice offers the “soup to nuts approach” to venous disease diagnosis and treatment. Unlike other physicians in my area, I have training specifically in venous disease – both prevention and treatment, and don’t try to make my patients fit the technology. Rather I offer individualized treatment programs that may include several types of invasive and non-invasive treatments.

A patient should visit my practice because we, my staff and myself, are concerned about providing care to the entire patient. We don’t just look for procedures to be performed; rather we evaluate the whole patient and together come up with an individualized treatment plan.

Right now we are building a new facility. It is located in a convenient part of town and has more parking and is more easily accessible than our current location. It will be about 2100 square feet and have an electronic medical record.

How would you describe your Practice Philosophy?
We treat the whole patient – not just their venous disease. We adhere to the AACP guidelines, my nurse does a lot of teaching, and we always encourage our patients to participate in our follow up protocol.

How does the current state of health insurance affect your practice and what are the pitfalls?
I spend a lot of time writing letters and my staff spends a lot of time arguing with insurers. We have a few who review every request for a procedure and take their time about it. Patients end up waiting for a procedure, rather than having it quickly. The biggest pitfall is an insurer looking to cut costs. With all the new procedures being done, the insurers are seeing more of their money being spent on Phlebological care. That draws more attention, and more reviews to requests for these procedures.

What efforts have you been actively involved in for the advancement of the diagnosis and treatment of venous disease outside of the office?
I’ve given CME and public talks on the subject. My colleagues are always welcome to collaborate with me and I’m always willing to work co-operatively with them. I’m a member of the ACP and the AVF. I try to attend both organizations’ meetings. And I’m part of a new effort to let Phlebolgists know what good literature is out there being published in journals other than Phlebology. I am also involved in the AVF screening program and with multiple health fairs.

If you could share one bit of advice with a rookie, what would it be?
Learn about all the different techniques. Have a toolbox with all the tools you are able to gather. Don’t limit yourself to one.