After a magical day at Walt Disney World, 4-year-old Everett Razook was climbing on his bunkbeds when he fell and cut his lip.
Every parent of a young child knows that kind of injury on a Friday evening could set you up for a long night at the unhappiest place on earth — the hospital waiting room.
Not Lauren Razook. She picked up her phone and made a FaceTime call to her pediatrician. Within minutes, she was at Complete Wellness Pediatrics in St. Petersburg and Dr. Kelli Cross was tending to her son’s wound. They were back home in the hour, all patched up.
Razook was one of the first parents to follow Cross and partner Dr. Lyssa Logue when they left Fifth Avenue Pediatrics this summer to begin a new “direct primary care” practice on Central Avenue.
For a monthly fee, patients have unlimited visits to the office as well as procedures. The doctors provide immunizations and 24-hour availability. “We provide high quality, modern medical care but with the benefit of an old-fashioned doctor-patient relationship,” reads the doctors’ website. “As a smaller practice, we have the ability to devote the time, special attention and care that your child and family deserve from their board-certified pediatrician.”
Cross, 53, spent 22 years at the previous practice. Logue, 42, worked there 10 years. Both had been looking for a slower-paced office where they could integrate some of the holistic medical approaches they embrace.
“It’s doctors reclaiming medicine,” Cross said.
Razook and her husband, Ryan, had seen both doctors at the previous practice and knew their three children would benefit from the concept of more patient-focused care.
“I feel like a lot of my friends have had experiences where you wait an hour to see a pediatrician for five minutes and you leave with more questions,” Razook said. “At the new practice there is time for us to just sit and talk and find out about what’s happening with my kids.” She said Cross has been particularly helpful sorting out the severe allergies suffered by one of her sons.
Logue said she and Cross were both getting burned out from the rigors of treating upwards of 25 patients a day.
In their new practice, the doctors see an average of four patients a day with half an hour between appointments. To date, they each have about 100 patients, compared to the thousands registered at Fifth Avenue Pediatrics.
“Our practice is never going to be based on how many patients we have,” Cross said.
“We went into medicine to make a difference and take care of children, and that’s what we are able to do here,” added Logue, the mother of an 8-year-old daughter. Cross has a son in high school.
Cross trained at the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed her pediatric residency at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. Her husband is a Pinellas County educator.
Logue got her medical degree at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine and a Master of Public Health, with a focus on maternal and child health. She completed her pediatric residency at the University of South Florida.
“We’re a mom-and-mom shop,” Cross said.
During the pandemic, Cross said it has been especially reassuring to see patients in a small office without a waiting room full of sick children. When patients have COVID-19 symptoms, Cross will meet the entire family in the parking lot and test all of them in the car.
No need to bring new babies to the office for checkups. After treating the mothers and infants in the hospital, Cross and Logue will do followup visits at home.
Razook, who gave birth to a baby girl this summer, said she was especially grateful not to have to take her baby out of the house during the recent rise in coronavirus cases.
“I’m excited to go on house calls. It’s so fun because I feel like I am part of the situation,” said Cross, who jokes that she totes a black Coach handbag rather than a traditional doctor bag. “We bring our scales and we come with all the necessary vaccinations.”
Both pediatricians also are in the process of becoming certified lactation consultants to better treat breastfeeding mothers and babies.
The doctors do not take insurance at their new practice, but recommend patients keep their policies for things like hospital stays and vaccinations, which are not included in the fees. However, they partner with a third-party vaccine provider to help cover those costs for patients without insurance.
Patients are charged a one-time $100 enrollment fee and then a monthly fee based on the age of the child, ranging from $100 to $150 a month. The two pediatricians will treat children through college or until they are 22. “The monthly payment is less than a Starbucks a day. There are no hidden fees, no copays, no coinsurance fees or bills after your visit,” says the practice website, which lists all of the services and fees.
The two women started working on their new venture a couple of years ago and officially opened July 1.
“We realized with our own families that medicine isn’t a quick fix,” Cross said. “We wanted to do things differently.”
Razook said she has been encouraging friends to make the move to the new practice.
“I feel like Dr. Cross and Dr. Logue care about my kids as much as I do,” she said.
Another parent recently dropped off coffee to the doctors on her way to work, just because.
“I never feel stressed when my phone goes off because I know it’s one of my families,” Cross said.
Complete Wellness Pediatrics
5033 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-334-8523. completewellnesspediatrics.com.