7 Questions with Dr. Andrew Westbrook of Hopscotch Marion

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Published:  February 16, 2024

Meet the Hopscotch Primary Care Team—7 Questions with Dr. Andrew Westbrook of Hopscotch Marion

Hopscotch Primary Care is on a mission to offer seniors an easy path to connect with the top-quality primary care services you need and deserve. 

Our model of care also offers you longer, more frequent visits, to ensure any issues that crop up can be addressed quickly and thoroughly—before they get out of hand. 

And our team-based approach to care means you’ll get a group of healthcare professionals on your side who are dedicated to offering you the personalized care, support, and guidance you need to live your best, healthiest life. 

Another thing that can help you feel more comfortable and confident in choosing a new primary care provider is getting to know them. 

We recently connected with Dr. Andrew Westbrook. Dr. Westbrook is one of the excellent primary care doctors you’ll meet at our Hopscotch Primary Care Marion clinic location. He was happy to carve out some time to answer our questions, so you can learn more about him. 

Let’s dive into what Dr. Westbrook had to share. 

7 Questions with Dr. Andrew Westbrook of Hopscotch Primary Care Marion 

Dr. Westbrook made time in his busy schedule to join us for a wide-ranging interview. He was happy to share some information about his personal history, favorite things to do in the Asheville area, and why he still loves being a doctor after 30 years of practicing medicine. 

Hopscotch Primary Care: 

I appreciate you taking the time to chat today! I’d love to start by asking what drove you to become a doctor?

Dr. Westbrook: 

I think the underlying theme would be service. That would include military service, and also using science to serve people. 

Not including my residency, I’ve been practicing now for 30 years. I’m an MD and I have a Masters in public health. I’ve also worked in hospice and palliative care. 

Hopscotch Primary Care: 

Are you a Western North Carolina native? If not, when and why did you come to this area? 

Dr. Westbrook:

I’m originally from West Virginia. And I really came here for family. We moved from New Hampshire, where we lived for 11 years to take care of my in-laws. Once they got settled, we moved here because my brother lives in the area. 

We also moved here to be closer to my parents, who still live in WV. So our decision to live in this area was really centered on family. Family is so important. 

Hopscotch Primary Care: 

Why did you choose to join Hopscotch Primary Care to further their mission of offering better primary care options to the seniors of WNC? 

Dr. Westbrook:

I originally connected with Hopscotch through a friend who is a nurse case manager with Hopscotch Primary Care in Tryon. 

After I closed my clinic in Brevard, I was looking for another opportunity in the area. I’m in family practice, but I also have a background in hospice and palliative care. I worked as a medical director at a VNA in Concord, New Hampshire for about nine years. 

Hospice is a very team-based model of care, and this is right up that alley, but in the primary care setting. So, with Hopscotch, I get to be on the more preventative side, but still work on a team. 

What also drew me is how Hopscotch Primary Care is truly committed to the community in a way that other, bigger healthcare providers in the area aren’t demonstrating the same commitment to community needs. 

Hopscotch focuses on primary care and serving the needs of the patient. It’s just not a doc visit where the doc is going from one patient to another as fast as possible. 

And we also have this whole line up of additional offerings. Things like chair yoga and workshops and talks about navigating Medicare and we give our “Doc Talks” on anything from dementia to preventative services. I’m actually giving one on hypertension this month. 

Hopscotch Primary Care: 

How do you like to stay active and healthy in this area? How do you encourage your patients to make the most of where we live to nurture their health and well-being? 

Dr. Westbrook:

I think the first thing is to have a healthy work-life balance. You need to have a balance of both. You can’t have all of one and none of the other. 

Number two would be to listen to your body and know what you can and can’t do. 

Number three would be to encourage taking advantage of this area and all it offers. We’ve got some of the best hiking in the country.

I enjoy hiking and being outdoors. Also like to do open water swimming. I head to Lake Junaluska in Waynesville. All the pollen on the lake in the past couple of months has been giving me a stuffy nose, but it’s still worth it. 

How I encourage patients, especially with the elderly population, is to explain it’s all about listening to the body and finding that magic balance of enough but not too much. 

A general theme I offer for folks who are recovering from something is that your level of activity has to be way easier than you think. Because you don’t want to injure yourself or cross a boundary without realizing it. Because recovery, as you get older, is a huge issue. 

Typically, I’ll say to start at around 25% of what your normal level of activity is. Because the whole point is making this part of your lifestyle—you don’t have to get it all in one sitting. Ideally five or six days a week, you build this activity into your lifestyle. And then about every three weeks you increase it by 5-15%. It’s slow, but it helps your body catch up and prevents injuries and setbacks. 

Hopscotch Primary Care: 

Why should older adults choose Hopscotch Primary Care as their primary care provider? How does their approach to care differ? 

Dr. Westbrook:

The differences really start off at the top. Hopscotch Primary Care is very committed to the community and what each community needs. 

They look at it at both the population level and at the individual level, as well. If you have just the individual need, it can be shortsighted and can tend to be more about internal agendas than looking at people as they really are. 

The other reason I’d choose Hopscotch Primary Care would be their emphasis on creating a medical home. We’re asking “what can we do to foster the best possible health in multiple areas.” So, it’s not just about prescribing pills. And then the team helps to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system. 

It’s something as simple as when you call our office, you’ll speak to a real person. 

It’s about going deeper, and asking questions like “Why are you having difficulty getting this medication?” Or “Why are you having difficulties in getting to these appointments?” And the team spends a long time tracking things down, arranging transportation, and things like that, to remove obstacles. 

Many people have struggled with being open with their doctor in the past and have learned that the system has no time to listen to them. But they pretty quickly get a sense that Hopscotch Primary Care is different. I think people are usually pleasantly surprised and grateful that they can finally communicate in this way with their healthcare provider. 

I tell people that we’re trying to get back to the old way. When you first call, you’re going to get a person. And if you have something that needs to be taken care of right away, we’ll try to make that happen. Or, they’ll talk to the team members and find the right person to help you. 

Hopscotch Primary Care: 

What do you see as the most pressing healthcare challenges seniors in Western NC contend with? 

Dr. Westbrook:

Financial constraints, for sure. Especially the cost of medications. 

The difference with Hopscotch Primary Care is we have our Community Health Workers, who can see what kinds of programs are out there or available. We give you a point of contact and an advocate that can help you track down prescription assistance programs and do a lot of the legwork to find some meaningful options for the patient.

Here, we’re all about quality measures. We have these panel management meetings and at a recent one, our team figured out we could get a mammogram bus to come to the parking lot. Because we saw that as a need that wasn’t being met in this community, because of access. 

So we keep it individualized but also community-focused. Because we’re here for our patients and the community. 

I think the other thing is follow up. We will call you to see if you’ve gotten your test, your labs, your referral. And I don’t think patients are used to that at all.

Hopscotch Primary Care: 

What drives you as a doctor serving the healthcare needs of older adults in WNC who qualify for Medicare and those in rural communities? 

Dr. Westbrook:

I’ve been at this long enough that I’m not jaded. The medical system, itself, can be clunky and awkward. It’s especially difficult for seniors, because of all the shifting technology. 

But the medical system is full of great people. So it’s been nice to have been in it long enough to know that it’s about taking care of patients and helping them through that. 

And all of the documentation woes and all of the insurance will get done in their due time. But the important thing is to focus on that patient. 

At Hopscotch, the team model helps us do that by having people to support us with things like documentation.

And the team approach also helps our patients by having people like our Community Health Workers who can help you figure out the social determinants of health and transportation issues and any financial constraints. And we have nurses who work with patients to follow up to prevent any issues. 

Instead of just giving people lists of what they have to do, we think about how we can help them make it happen—how we can get other family members involved. We think about what your goals are and how to help you communicate your goals so the system is meeting your needs. 

So, for me, it’s about people and helping them in the way they need. 

I love math and science. I could have become an engineer. But I chose medicine because I wanted to serve people. 

We certainly loved connecting with Dr. Westbrook and getting his insights about primary care for seniors from someone who’s been practicing medicine for the past 30 years! If you’re interested in meeting Dr. Westbrook in person and having him as your primary care physician, you can find him and his team at our beautiful Hopscotch Primary Care Marion location in Marion, NC

No matter where you live in Western NC, there’s a Hopscotch Primary Care location nearby to offer you the top-quality primary care services you deserve. We look forward to welcoming you to your neighborhood Hopscotch Primary Care clinic! Scheduling your visit is quick and easy. Simply complete our contact form and we’ll connect you with the perfect Hopscotch Primary Care provider for you, or search our locations and make contact directly