Dr. Jeffrey Gold founded Gold Direct Care two years ago.
By SANDI GOLDFARB
Dr. Jeffrey Gold and his wife, Laura, settled in Swampscott in 2005 to be closer to their families and reconnect with the place that means so much to them both.
“I missed being by the ocean and being close to Boston. I missed the small town feel,” said Gold. Today, his medical practice, Gold Direct Care, is based in nearby Marblehead.
Gold’s North Shore roots are deep. He attended the Hadley School, Swampscott Middle School and Swampscott High School. “The majority of my friends are people I grew up with,” he said.
His parents, John and Susan Gold, still reside in his childhood home on Magnolia Street. And the former high school hockey player worked in his family’s business, Jerry’s Army and Navy, in Lynn during his high school and college years and later as a pharmacy technician at the local CVS.
In 1993, Gold left the Bay State to enroll at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his bachelor’s in biology. In 1997, he returned to the area to pursue a degree at UMass Medical School in Worcester. He graduated in 2002 and three years later completed his residency in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Gold says that helping to care for his grandmother— who suffered from early onset dementia — led him to a career in medicine.
This very personal experience prompted Gold to take what he calls “the old school” approach to primary care medicine. “I wanted my practice to be about the patients,” he said.
After working for nine years as part of the North Shore Physicians Group where he saw as many as 25 patients each day, Gold, 40, chose to develop a direct care practice (DCP) in 2014. Gold says that with this model, physicians don’t get reimbursed by insurers or the government. Instead, patients pay a monthly fee which covers office visits and annual physical exams and there are no deductibles or co-pays.
“Basically DCP is primary care on steroids,” said Gold. “I’m available evenings and weekends and see patients in my office. My patients have my cell phone number and can call or email me at any time. Rather than going to an emergency room after hours, DCP patients can see the doctor they know and who knows them.”
The DCP concept has allowed Gold to minimize overhead and maximize the doctor-patient relationship.
“From a very young age I was inspired by my pediatrician, Dr. Albert Brown,” he said. “His office was attached to his house and he was there whenever his patients needed him. That’s the kind of doctor I want to be.”
“I practice medicine now rather than practicing insurance,” he added. “I’m putting the care back in health care.”
When Gold first introduced the DCP model, 120 of his patients followed him to his new practice. His office now serves almost 600 patients, both children and adults. Though DCP is popular around the country, Gold’s is the first direct care practice in Massachusetts.
Gold Direct Care is a family affair, with Laura managing her husband’s growing practice and their busy family. The Golds are parents to seven-year-old twins, a son Cameron and daughter Isabella, who attend the Stanley School. In addition to his wife, Gold’s team includes his partner, Dr. Carmela Mancini, as well as an office administrator and a nurse.
Gold, who is on staff at the North Shore Medical Center, appreciates the fact that he has stayed in touch with childhood friends and coaches, many who are now his patients.
“The beauty of Direct Primary Care is the relationship I have with my patients,” he said. “You see people at their worst and at their best. My patients have taught me how much I am valued and they know how much I value them.”
Photos: Paula Muller