Dr. Kathleen Catalano’s career path has been anything but traditional, which is perhaps why her approach to medicine is anything but conventional. The schoolteacher- turned-family-physician was teaching special education at a school in Texas when she decided to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a doctor.
“I came into medicine later in life,” said Catalano, who spent the first few years of her medical career working for hospitals. “It was important for me to take my time with patients, which is why I decided to open my own practice,” she added.
In 2001, Catalano opened the doors to a private practice in Johnstown, NY, where she practices a mind-body approach to medicine. “I realized very early on how important the mind is in creating our reality. If we have an attitude that we are sick, we will be sick.”
Mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions between the brain, body, and spirit, and a person’s ability to stay healthy and cope with chronic disease.
“Some patients can take you down the rabbit hole. When they walk into the office, they think they know what’s wrong. They’ve done the research and they request the tests. When possible, I try to focus on wellness and spirituality.”
Her approach to medicine recently hit a roadblock when Catalano began suffering “note bloat,” a common frustration among medical professionals required to meet heavy reporting requirements.
A sole practitioner with a staff of just three employees, Catalano was having a difficult time keeping up with her practice’s back office needs. It was about that time that she joined the CDPHP Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) program, a patient-centered medical home model that provides financial incentives for doctors who are successful at improving quality of care, efficiency of services, and patient satisfaction. Catalano has used the program’s enhanced reimbursements and bonus dollars to staff a full-time employee, responsible for most of her back office needs.
“If it wasn’t for CDPHP, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Catalano, who says the financial support she receives from CDPHP has been critical to keeping her practice open.