Dr. Menocal has spent his lifetime embracing diversity. His extensive journey began when his family came to the United States in 1961, after the Cuban Revolution. They moved to Mexico after spending a few years in Arlington. From there, they moved to South America.
In July of 1982, the journey continued after Dr. Menocal graduated MD Universidad Javeriana School of Medicine in Bogota, Columbia and followed it up with his internship and residency in D.C. at Georgetown/Providence Hospital of Family Medicine.
He was brought on board at Parkview Medical Group by Drs. Hickey and Riddick in 1985. After a few more twists and turns, Menocal Family Practice opened its doors in November 2006. And, they’ve stayed wide open since the first day!
Serving The Medical Needs Of Immigrants & Their Children
About 10 years ago, Frederick started seeing a big migration of Hispanics, specifically undocumented immigrants and their children. “Only 1 out of every 7 children were vaccinated. We put a stop to that!”
Since the start of the practice, about 70,000 multiple dose vaccines have been given. “Had we not done that, Hispanic children would have been dying of things other kids would not have been dying of.”
Serving Those On Medical Assistance & Those With Zero Assistance
Although 50% of the business is commercial insurance, Menocal Family Practice serves everyone. “I would say 7 out of every 10 patients with medical assistance have come into the office. So, its been good work!”
Newborns at the hospital have no insurance. “It takes them 30 days to get it. A lot of physicians are hesitant to see them unless they pay up front. After having a baby, paying $240 might be too much. So, we’ll see them.”
Payment isn’t the priority. “If we don’t get paid, that’s fine. We’ll figure it out. If they stay as our patients, we’ll have the chance to make a career out of taking care of them.”
Making A Difference Means More Than Making A Huge Profit
That’s not to say that a caring family doctor can’t make money. It’s just not the motivating factor for Dr. Menocal. It never was. “I realized in medical school that there was so much emphasis on specialists, even in South America.” Everybody wanted the higher-paying specialties.
Dr. Menocal sensed the disconnect between what the patient needed and what the patient got. He saw the need for people to have a place to go for advice, to talk about their care needs, their special needs, their medication and where they should go to see a specialist.
He continues, “When I set out to start this practice, I promised myself that I was going to make a difference. For example, the African-Americans that were coming into the County in late 2007-2008, they could not find a physician to vaccinate their children.”
“They were being sent to Dundock, Md. on the Eastern part of the Beltway in Baltimore. We did something about that!”
“At the end of 9 years, we’ve made an impact. We’ve changed the way poor people are taken care of. And, I am happy with my career. No, I’m DELIGHTED with my career! And, I have a little money left over. I’m even able to join the Golf Club where I can tear up their fairway twice a week!”
Tearing Up The Green Is One Of Several Hobbies
This former swim coach was once a world-class swimmer. “I swam the 200 meter butterfly in the 1975 World Championships. I came in 27th and there were only 27 of us!”
He’s a former soccer coach, too! “I had to stop coaching soccer after having 5 straight losing seasons.” Add fishing, gardening and ‘all the stuff that old people do” to his list of summertime hobbies.
In the winter months, you might find him woodworking. “I’m happy to report that I haven’t cut a finger off in about 7 years. I did ALMOST chop one off!”
Getting this glimpse into his personal life puts energy into his office slogan:
Going To The Doctor CAN BE FUN! We Make Healthy Happy Patients
The 4th Country In Dr. Menocal’s Journey Is Now Called Home
“Frederick has been my home. Maryland has been my home. After living in all of these different places, this has been probably the best place to live in.”
“For me, this is the 4th country I’ve lived in; the 4th country I’ve been a citizen of. Hopefully, it will be my last country. You befriend people. You become friends with them.”
“They tell you all their projects, you see them grow; you see them go from being a kid to go to college to have a family to have a big house, have a nice successful business…and, you’re proud of them!”
Both of Dr. Menocal’s children were born in the US and graduated from TJ High School. Natalia, now working in Miami, was born in D.C. Andre was born in Frederick Memorial Hospital and currently resides in New York.
Dr. Menocal Develops A Personal Bond With His Patients
Part of his office wall decor includes hand-written notes from kids, families and single mothers. He enjoys tending to 3 or 4 generations of some families – grandparents, parents, kids and grandkids! And, their extended families! “People’s families are fascinating!”
“The patient’s family and their personal situation is always important. Another thing that’s always important is giving them the feeling that no matter what’s wrong with them, you’re going to be there to help them handle whatever situation comes around.”
“Most people are scared of the big things like Cancer. I’ve found that so many people with any complaints, their biggest fear is that they have Cancer! So, until you answer that, they’re never really satisfied.”
“What prompts them to think they might have Cancer is that there’s all this turmoil in their life. Their spouse is having a bad break, they’re having problems at work, their children are acting up, they’re having money problems. Until you discuss that with them, it’s hard for them to realize that a lot of the worries we have start in our inner selves and not anywhere else.”
An Ounce of Prevention…
Dr. Menocal firmly believes in preventive medicine. He tells patients ‘If more people listened to me, I wouldn’t be so busy.”
“There are a lot of detailed guidelines of what medical services should be performed at what ages on different people. It’s just a matter of getting people to agree to them.”
“It takes a lot of patience, and repetition, and convincing them. Usually, when there’s a family member who comes down with Cancer, then everybody wants a colonoscopy. But, apart from that, it’s hard to talk them into it.”
Dr. Menocal’s Advice On Running A Business
“Taking things personally and cranking out quality go hand in hand”, says the good doctor. “It’s always personal.”
He goes on, “If you don’t make it personal in business, what you’re giving out is junk. If you don’t take the care of your patients personally, then you’re going to allow them to have poor service and poor outcomes.”
Another helpful tidbit? “One of the ways to keep your practice busy is to give discounts. It generates a lot of goodwill in a community and people always want to bring in a relative.”
Need A Caring Doctor? Make An Appointment or Walk Right In! The Door’s Open!
110 Baughmans Lane, #140
Content Provided By Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #13