Good luck trying to pin down Austin family medicine specialist Georgeanne Freeman, DO.
“I just offer a lot of services. ‘What is she doing?’ Well, I don’t know. What am I not doing? Let’s start there.”
In truth, it’s easier to talk about what Dr. Freeman is doing at her Downtown Doctor primary care practice, which she opened after moving to Austin about 10 years ago.
Full-service family medicine? Check. Osteopathic manipulation? Preventive medicine? School and work physicals? Walk-in urgent care? Check, check, check, and check.
Downtown Doctor also offers services such as Genesight and genetic testing;
allergy testing and treatment; Botox/Xeomin and cosmetic fillers; and intravenous hydration.
The idea is to improve her patients’ overall well-being while increasing and diversifying the clinic’s revenue. The result feels more like a spa than a doctor’s office — a place where patients come to feel better from the inside out.
Texas Medicine caught up with Dr. Freeman to ask her about the IV service, a separate business called Hippo Hydrate® that’s run out of the clinic. Below are her answers.
I’ve been doing IVs in Austin for seven years. We also do house calls for IVs where an EMT- (emergency medical technician) level provider will come out and give you the bag from 8 am to 8 pm, 365 days a year. We also provide services for marathons, ultramarathons, triathlons, swimming races, and endurance races.
Most people don’t know about IVs from an outpatient perspective. People mostly know about IVs because they got surgery, so I wanted to help bring it to all people because you feel so much better in so many ways.
I don’t remember the exact moment, and I don’t know if I got the idea or maybe I read about the anesthesiologist who started Hangover Heaven in Las Vegas. But I started thinking I can do it here.
It was more of an uphill battle at first, just explaining the concept to people of chronic dehydration. Acute dehydration was never a hard sell. Let’s say we have a patient who is making kidney stones every year around summer because he or she gets dehydrated, but now they’re coming in getting IVs starting in April, or starting in May, staying on top of their hydration.
Kim Kardashian helped. Three and a half, maybe four years ago, she started getting IVs for her skin. After that people were coming in asking, “What is a Myers cocktail?” “Can I get Vitamin C IVs?”
There was a lot of criticism. I took a big hit, even from an anesthesiologist in town who claimed giving people IVs to help their hangover symptoms was encouraging drinking. And my response to that is that people say encouraging condom use just encourages risky sexual behavior. No it doesn’t. It reduces sexually transmitted disease. Guess what? Most people drink in our culture. Most people who drink will have a hangover in our culture. So I just call it out for what it is.
As a physician my job in this world is to decrease human pain and suffering and to do no harm. That’s my oath, that’s my mission, even if it is for a hangover. If you’ve ever suffered from a hangover, that’s human suffering, and I get to make that better.
Insurance companies’ job, their goal in life — it’s not to decrease human pain and suffering, by the way — is to increase profits. So they don’t want to pay. But if they understand that a little bit of payment here could offset a big payment later, then they’re probably in. They’ll pay for an IV because if you’re dehydrated, they don’t want you to go into renal failure or get kidney stones — many of the things that are sequelae of dehydration.
We don’t do that many IVs for hangovers. That’s actually the least-common reason we do it for, which might come as a surprise.
The summertime is a huge spike. Also during the high school football playoffs. You know, the boys can get really dehydrated.
If I’m your primary care, I want you to know all the services that I can provide for you — that you don’t have to go looking elsewhere. It’s a one-stop shop, and I take care of my people. That’s more of where I’m coming from.
Tex Med. 2018;114(11):14-15
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