Caring for the Whole Patient -- and the Whole Physician

Dr. Jacob McKeegan
Family Medicine Physician

Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG) provides care exclusively for more than 680,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members. As one of the largest multispecialty medical groups in the state, CPMG employs more than 1,200 physicians. The organization’s size is mighty, but its mission is personal.

“I was raised in a small town in Ohio with about the same number of residents as physicians at CPMG,” notes Dr. Jacob McKeegan, family medicine physician at the Arapahoe Medical Offices. “Community is important to me, and I’ve found it here among my colleagues as we work to provide high-quality, affordable health care to our members and the communities we serve.”

The integrated Kaiser Permanente system helps physicians connect with their colleagues to provide coordinated care to members with less hassle.     

“Our electronic medical records are key to efficiently providing appropriate care,” explains Dr. McKeegan. “For instance, a nurse can help triage a sinus infection, or if it is something more unique or specialized, we can streamline access for the patient to see their primary care provider or a specialist. We don’t have to jump through hoops to navigate a person’s insurance policy, because they receive both coverage and care from Kaiser Permanente.”

“I may be the first person that sees a patient when he or she doesn’t feel well, and I can consult a specialist to confirm a diagnosis or recommend additional care. I have advice referrals at my fingertips and can see which specialists are in the office or on call. It gives me two or three avenues to get a question answered immediately and to make sure I’m sending my patient to the right specialist for his or her needs.”

As mental health becomes increasingly recognized as a main component of overall wellness, Kaiser Permanente has invested in offering robust behavioral health services with specialists embedded in Primary Care departments.

“We know that a significant percentage of medical or health issues are first and foremost behavioral or psychosocial issues. Being able to bring in a behavioral health specialist right away is very impactful. Patients don’t have to schedule an additional appointment or pay another copay. From what I’ve experienced, it’s one of the best additions we’ve made to our care team,” says Dr. McKeegan.

Patient care is the top priority, but physicians themselves are not forgotten. Since Dr. McKeegan became the medical office chief of the Arapahoe Medical Offices in August 2017, he has been driven to meet his team’s needs, as well as those of patients.

“We all can get into a rhythm with seeing patients and doing the work, but I like to think in terms of the bigger picture. How can we provide better care and service, make our team function better, and find joy in our work?”

Dr. McKeegan used one of the benefits of being a CPMG physician – time and funds for continuing medical education – to enhance the work environment at his medical office.

“I attended a Primary Care conference to look at large health systems around the U.S. I learned some wellness practices that I brought back to the Arapahoe Medical Offices. There is no doubt that being a physician can be challenging. Anything we can do to make it a less stressful and more sustainable career is ultimately one of the best ways we can ensure our members receive excellent care.”

A father of three boys, Dr. McKeegan has experienced firsthand the immense support provided by CPMG.

“I was able to take two weeks of paternity leave when my third son was born. I can’t overstate how wonderful it was to have that time to be home with my wife and kids. It was a very different experience from when my other sons were born. My oldest was born while I was in medical school, so there was little flexibility for me to care for him. Our second son was born when I was in residency and I had one day off to welcome him to the world,” recalls Dr. McKeegan.

“Beyond the support I received through CPMG’s benefits and policies, the people on my team were incredible about picking up the slack and rallying around me. I do the same for them when something comes up in their lives. We’re all in it together.”

Dr. McKeegan shares more about his journey to CPMG in part one of his story. You can also see his insights about working at the Arapahoe Medical Offices by watching this short video.

To learn more about working at CPMG, click here.