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Time Flies

New Metro WEb Site

Civil War

Old South

Fall 2013 Tricycle

Path Through Fall

ByPass Burger


How lax is this blogger! The years flew by. Last year (2018), Brenda our beloved billing manager died suddenly from a stroke and the clinic was thrown into chaos. Meanwhile, Whitney became an ARNP and began seeing patients. We skipped by our 10th Anniversary. Also, with Whitney taking on more clinical work, she had less time for other clinic duties. Our shortage of medical assistant time became critical, despite valiant help from our part time assistants Ainsley, Hailey, and Duncan. Luckily, Kim's long-time friend Tamie came to the rescue. After easily learning and taking over billing functions, Kim is also helping out at the clinic again. On the technical side, we have added a new layer of telephone technology to allow for remote workers and transcribed messages (easier to save into charts). We also made major upgrades to our EHR (Mazing Charts, now version 10), billing system (now Premier), and our clearinghouse. While we still will welcome a new medical assistant, I believe all necessary changes are finally complete. I hope these changes will bring positive energy to the clinic and reduce back log.


It's time to bring the new 'Metro' website online. After today, you will land on the new site when you go to  However, you can still come here when you click on 'Legacy Site' at the right side of the bottom of the new home page.  This is also where I will still put my occasional thoughts in this 'Blog' format. 


I cannot believe another year has gone by.  My role as Physician Epic Champion for Highline Medical Center continues, but has become much less active.  That should leave me more time to work on things, such as this website.  I think I will update it to the 'metro' look.  Stay tuned!

However, there is a more immediate time-consuming task.  Today the whole country is converting to ICD10, as mandated by Medicare.  ICD10 is a new way of coding for diagnoses used by doctors, insurances, hospitals, and pretty much anyone who deals with medical issues.  We will see what chaos ensures.

It seems that we are leaving later every year for our annual trailer trip.  This year we are leaving on Friday October 23rd and be back for work Monday November 2nd.  We will be visiting Civil War sites, with a touch of Colonial history in Williamsburg.  Fun! 


My last few months were consumed with being Physician Champion for Highline Medical Center as it transitioned from MEDITECH to Epic as its electronic medical record.  The death of Dr. Johnson left even less coverage than usual in the clinic.  A big "Thank you" for my patients for being understanding with the weird hours and late evening (night?) appointments.  We should be returning to normal now. 

Along with other things postponed, we only had limited time off.  The annual trailer trip has been postponed as well, and I will leave Thursday October 2nd and return on Monday October 13th.  More to come!


The Affordable Care Act is here!  Otherwise known as ObamaCare, the Act mandates individuals to be covered by Health Insurance.  Each state is to set up "Exchanges" that allows you to compare insurances.  The national website is, but it direct you to the individual state sites where applicable, which is for Washington state.  You can go there to sign up on October 1, 2013.  Be patient as you try to sign up, because the site could be overwhelmed by the influx of new registrations.  Which ever plan you choose, rest assured that our clinic accepts most of them.

There will be federal subsidies to buy insurance for those reporting lower income.  The Washington State DSHS government-sponsored Healthy Options program has been expanded and renamed.  Apple Health will offer health care coverage for individuals with annual income less than $15,864, or $26,952 for a family of three; so more people can get covered.  Highline will host meetings for Apple Health Managed Plans (the ones Home Towne Family Medicine will participate in) beginning October 1st, 2013.  Contact Bonnie Jennings of the HMSO at 206-724-0869.

And yes, our fall newsletter is in the print shop.  For a sneak peak, click here.


We are 5 years old!  I can still remember the day when this clinic was only an idea in our heads as we talked about possible futures, in early 2008.  A big "Thank You" for all who have contributed to our clinic's success, our great patients, our devoted staff, and various supporting services!  I hope to continue to contribute to your health as our clinic family continues to grow.

Well, it looks like I am no better keeping this website up to date.  Chalk it up to spending all my time looking after patients?

However, My wife Kim makes sure that i do rest and have some fun with vacations, short ones to Sun Lakes, longer trailer trips to Florida. 

While there still never seems to be quite enough time to do everything I need.  I will get it together soon for the new fall Newsletter.

For those who missed it, here's the last newsletter from April 2013. 


It's time for our fall newsletter.  Aren't you impressed that I got it finished so much ahead of schedule?

One of the items mentioned in my Medical Minute is a "Taste Wirth Dying For" menu I came across in a hospital-themed grill in Las Vegas.  You can see it on the left.  Click on this link to see a larger image.  The nurse/waitress will offer to wheel you out in a wheelchair if you can finish the triple or quadruple bypass, and will give you the meal for free if you weigh over 350 pounds.  Huh?  Are they seriously trying to hasten our demise?  Actual heart attacks in that restaurant have been reported as recently as February this year. 


Happy 4th Anniversary!  Can you believe that Home Towne Family Medicine has been open for four years already?  Thanks for staying and growing with us!  In the coming years we will strive to work together to achieve more of your health goals.

It seems that I only have time to update this website once in a great while.  Rest assured that I am busy looking after patients, having fun with home improvement, and having great summer trips.  Our long time patients probably have received the spring mailing, but those who missed it can read our newest newsletter here

For those playing along at home, yes we did go on our trailer Trip.  We began with Fremont Street in Las Vegas (NV) as we prepped the Airstream, then on to gorgeous sunsets in Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Santa Fe.  The red rock canyons of Sedona, with all the vortices, were especially tranquil.  We ended the trip in Houston, where the Airstream just sweated the whole time with the humidity.  There she sits until next year!

Autumn has arrived, and it's time for another newsletter.  Please see announcements (to the right) for our technological advances, including a patient portal and payment online.  Read our newest newsletter here, but of course you will also receive one in the mail soon.


My staff say that I am a bear sometimes.  That's my excuse for hibernating from updating this website for the last few months.  But fear not, spring is finally here!  Read our newsletter here, also coming to a mailbox near you soon! 


Another beautiful summer has come and gone, and now we are into our lovely fall (flu?) season.  For us allergy sufferers, remember to get a thorough cleaning of your air ducts and replace the filters before the furnace kicks on.  Also, we are anticipating a stormy cold winter, so winterize your home now, and prepare for power outages. 

We have already seen many people with the flu.  Because of the early flu season, and because the current CDC guideline says everyone over 6 months should be vaccinated, we are going through our flu vaccine supply quickly.  Get yours soon!

Did you get our 2nd clinic newsletter in the mail?  It has a picture of our vintage Airstream trailer.  Click the link to see it.


Despite the recent 25 inches on snow at the passes, spring is in the air.  I am sure most of you have gotten over the worst tree pollen allergy season in the last decade.  Remember to continue to treat those allergies to avoid future problems such as chronic sinusitis.  Also, the H1N1 threat does not seem to be over, with new cases in the Southeast.  Get your H1N1 vaccine if you haven't done so.

I am sure most of you have read about health care reform.  Scroll to the right of this screen to see a summary of what affects you this year and beyond.

A new year, a new address. To apparently make it less confusing to patients, residents, and emergency responders, Burien City has decided to change our address.  No, the building and the clinic did not move, being still on the corner of 156th and 3rd.  However, the address is now based on 3rd Avenue instead of 156th Street.  Correspondence that is sent to the old address will still get to us for a little while, but please change our address in your contact list, iPhone, Bill Pay, etc.  Thank you, and sorry for the inconvenience.


Fall, Flu, Fun
Well, it's fall again, and the leaves are marvelous this year due to the long fall.  It's been mild, but it seems it's time for flu season.  We have not had any seasonal flu yet, and all tested cases have been presumably H1N1. 

I don't have to say much about H1N1 or flu-etiquette, as you have far too much of that in the news already.  However, let me share our experience at Home Towne Family Medicine.  Like the rest of King County, we have had our share of the H1N1 virus.  The major complication has been pneumonia, although there has been some sinusitis.  The majority of people with pneumonia were children or younger adults.  Remember, when you have flu symptoms, you should be tested and treated within the first 48 hours, if you have severe symptoms or if you can spread it to the very old, very young, or those with chronic conditions.

Ready for some winter fun?  Make sure you get all you flu vaccinations wherever you can, because we sure have not been able to get any vaccines, either from our supplier or the government!

Happy Anniversary! 
Today is the first anniversary of the opening of Home Towne Family Medicine.   We are excited to have been able to serve our patients and the community for the past year.  We have seen growth in number of physicians, staff, and patient base. 

In the new year, we endeavor to continue to provide excellent health care to our patients.  As we move toward a new national model of healthcare,  we will endeavor to be a true  medical home for our patients.

Sumer is here.  Can you believe the 30 days of no measurable rain in Seattle?  It sure made everyone's allergies worse.  Remember to take your Zyrtec, but come in if your allergies are not controlled despite Zyrtec, or if you feel anything else such as sinuses flaring up. 

Summer is a great time to catch up on your health as well.  Go cycling, hiking, and enjoy yourself!  Get some fresh summer produce at the market.  When you get bored with that, you can always come in for your annual check-up and physical.


A big welcome to Dr. Johnson and his team, Regina and Jeanine.   Both Regina and Jeanine were with Dr. Johnson in his Tukwila practice, so they will work as a cohesive team as before, just in a different location. 

As a Doctor of Osteopathy, Dr. Johnson will continue his practice of manipulative medicine as well as family medicine.  We will gain his vast experience in medicine and osteopathic skills.  He and his staff will gain support of a larger office, with cross coverage for both clinical and office functions.  Together, we will both prosper.

As we officially move into a recession, many companies are cutting their health benefits.  Worse yet, some are cutting actual jobs.  However, health experts warn that one should not neglect health during these tough economic times.  If possible, keep tail coverage with COBRA.  Also, new economic realities may bring new opportunities for various programs, especially children.  Thank god for the recent signing of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  See for great tips.

At Home Towne Family Medicine, we will continue to do our part in keeping you healthy.  Will will track health indices, performs screenings, and treat chronic conditions so that your health is optimized.  Together, we will do more than survive.

A New Year:  Christmas and New Year has come and gone.  I hope you all have had a good holiday season.  Luckily, everything is getting back to normal after the snow and rain storms.

It's time to look at your New Year resolutions and see how we can help you achieve your health goals.   


Holiday/Snow Hours: Christmas is coming, and Santa is trying to make it all white for the Pacific Northwest.  During this winter storm and through 12/31, we will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until the last patient is seen.  We will also be open until the last patient is seen on Christmas Eve.  We will be closed Christmas Day and New Years Day.  Enjoy the snow!


Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all.  It's been 4 months since we have started.  Many more patients have found our new clinic.  The response to the new environment has been positive, and a lot of people found the evening hours really convenient for those who work.  A big thank you to all the staff for making the clinic a big success. especially through the last few days of winter wonderland.


Here we are, almost one month from our grand opening.  Many patients have found us, even with the confusion of the wrong phone number in the letter.  Stay well, but come in when you need us !


We had a great Grand Opening.  Many of our friends, family, and patients showed up to wish us well.  A big thank you to all our friends who made this opening day a special success.  We even got flowers!  Everyone loved the decor, the cucumber water, and the entertainment.  If you haven't done so, why don't you come on in and just visit?


Are you excited?  We are!  The clinic is all painted, and now we just have to furnish and decorate!


We are starting to build our website.  If there is something you like to see, please send us a message!

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Clinic LogoSince

Home Towne Family Medicine is a new style of clinic that combines the latest technology, up-to-date medicine, comfortable surroundings, and attention to personal service.  To make it easy, we offer evening hours, and can usually accommodate you on the same day if you call in the morning.

Want to read more about our philosophy? Click here
Burien Wood Welcome Sign
  • Central Burien location
  • Comfortable atmosphere
  • Convenient evening hours
  • Personalized service
  • State-of-the-art medicine


2/8/14 - Farewell Dr. Karl Johnson                
Dr. Karl Johnson
Dr. Karl Johnson, D.O. died 2/8/14 of an infection while recovering from spinal surgery.  He is survived by his loving wife Marion and daughter Julie.   

Dr. Johnson and Dr. Choi enjoyed a great collegial relationship and friendship since he joined Home Towne Family Medicine in 2009; after he retired from Highline Medical Group.  Dr. Johnson's expertise in musculoskeletal medicine will be missed by his patients.  Dr. Choi will try to fill in the void for non-osteopathic needed, along with help from local Doctors of Osteopathy (DO) for OMTs. 

8/18/13 - Goodbye Tiffany, Hello Maddie

After years of service as our main billing person, and later Dr. Johnson's Medical Assistant and scribe, Tiffany has decided to move on to other opportunities and challenges.  I would like to thank her for her service to this clinic and her devotion to the patients, and to wish her well in future endeavors.  We will miss her.

To fill the void left by Tiffany, Dr. Johnson has  a new Medical Assistant (MA) Madeline, a.k.a. "Maddie".  Billing functions will be taken on by Brenda.  Whitney, who has become the clinic manager, will also share in Dr. Johnson's MA duties.  A big thank you to all for helping us through this transition.     

8/18/12 - Welcome Dr. Griffith's Patients

We are excited to be chosen by Dr. Griffith to be one of the clinics where his patients can go after his impending retirement.  We might has seen some of you over the years, as we have been in his call group for years.  For the rest of you, we extend an enthusiastic welcome.  While our style of practice may differ, we will strive to help you as Dr. Griffith did all those years.  To help the transition, we have been getting charts as new patients are seen.  Because our clinic is fully electronic, the first visit may involve a lot more typing of data and flipping of the old chart.  This is better done by Dr. Choi, who is a little faster in his keyboard pecking.  For those who are not yet ready or needing a visit with the doctor, you are welcome to come to our clinic, look around, have a beverage, and chat with our patients and staff.  If you want, you can even grab one of the doctors to say hello and shake hands.

Our clinic is at the northeast corner of 156th Street and3rd Avenue in Burien.  From Hwy 509, there are exits at both 148th and 160th.  Head to 156th on 1st Ave.  From 1st Ave, turn left at 156th Street if are heading north from 160th, or turn right if are heading south towards 160th.  At 3rd Ave, unfortunately, there is no sign other than the clinic name "Home Towne Family Medicine" at the corner, in amongst dentist names. Turn right at 3rd Avenue, and the driveway is the first to your right.  Enter off parking lot.  More detailed instructions and pictures are at the Contacts page.

7/16/12 - Welcome Whitney, R.N.

She's still our same old Whitney, but she has a new title. Nursing Commission Newsletter As of 7/16/12, she is now a bona fide Registered Nurse in the state of Washington.  Congratulations on this important milestone!  We recognize what hard work and dedication went into this honor.  We wish her every success in her future endeavors, on her way to becoming an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and beyond.

From the Washington State Nursing Commission,

"The registered nurse performs acts that require substantial knowledge, judgment and skill based on the principles of biological, behavioral, health, and nursing sciences."  Please see WAC 246-840-705, Functions of a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse.

9.26.11 - Our Sympathies to Whitney

Mason JamesAfter a great pregnancy, Whitney gave birth to a 7-pound baby Mason. Unfortunately, a few days after his birth, Mason fell ill. Despite the best efforts of the pediatric intensivists at Swedish, he passed away at ten days of age. We were all shocked and dismayed as we share in Whitney’s sorrow. We will miss our little angel who gave all of us great joy for such a short time. Our hearts and prayers go out to our dear Whitney and her family.

9.1.11 - Online Payments

We have changed to a new vendor, Solveras, for merchant processing.  These are the folks who process your debit or credit card payments for us.  With this new vendors comes new capabilities to accept payments over the phone and on line.  If you want to use the online payment option, please click the Online Payment link at the right bottom of this page.  Currently, Solveras can only accept Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.

8.15.11 - UpDox Patient Portal

For those patients who use the internet and email, we now have a secure method of sending you messages and attachments, such as lab results.  In order to use this service, make sure you give your email address to the reception staff next time you come in.  Once you receive your email from us, we will email you to activate your UpDox account and start receiving messages and documents from us.  You will be notified by email each time we post a message for you in UpDox.

At this time, we will not be monitoring UpDox for incoming messages.  For administrative matters, please email our director at  For clinical matters, please call and leave messages for our medical assistants. 

3.1.11 - Annual Wellness Visit

This year, Medicare is providing an opportunity for Medicare recipients to review their preventative care.  This benefit, called the Annual Wellness Visit, provides a planning opportunity for covered preventative services.  These visits may stand alone, or can do done in conjunction with a problem-focused visit.  If you have not already done so, book yours today!

9.1.10 - Welcome, externs!

We have partnered with area schools such as PIMA Medical Institute as a site to provide much-needed real-clinic experience after the completion of their classroom learning in their medical assistant certificate program.  We hope this will help with this area's medical assistant shortage. 

4.9.10 - Health Care Reform: Patients

Have you read all the pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed in to law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010?  Here's the link if you want the entire bill, or here's the summary.  If not, here's the short version of how will impact patients.

It bars health insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions – the ban takes effect for children six months after enactment, and for all others starting in 2014;

Within six months after enactment, it will prohibit health insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick;

Within six months after enactment, it bans health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage;

It eliminates cost sharing on recommended preventive services delivered by Medicare and all insurance plans available in the Health Insurance Exchange;

It begins to close the Medicare Part D coverage gap for Medicare beneficiaries who have surpassed their prescription drug coverage limit;

It establishes 50 state-administered insurance marketplaces to allow small businesses and people without employer sponsored coverage to buy insurance that meets new federal standards; and

 It expands Medicaid to cover everyone earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $29,327 for a family of four.

11/11/09 - A New Phone System with Voice Menus

Those of you who called recently might have noticed a change - a new phone system.  I know, it's always nice to have a real person answer the phone.  However, since we are a small family-style clinic, the one person who sits in the front is often busy doing the other real-person thing - helping actual patients in the clinic.  That means that she is often interrupted if she has to answer every phone call, even if just to transfer it.  And of course, we do not like to be put on hold either.

So, the compromise is that we have installed a new phone system with initial voice menu to direct the call to the appropriate person.  We hope this initial triage will lessen the load for the front person, so that she can better serve both in-clinic patients as well as those who truly need her services.  If you know the number for the person you wish to speak to, you can press it as soon as you hear the menu, so you should not be much delayed.  Thank you for your understanding and indulgence.

The Patient-Centered Medical Home

The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model of healthcare call for us primary care physicians to do more than treat today's problems and serve as gateways to specialist care.  Instead, we will partner with our patients to adopt a strategic approach to guiding patient care, in a coordinated and holistic manner, with quality enhanced by evidence-based guidelines and appropriate use of information technology.  Home Towne Family Medicine is built on the same principles, and has been acting as the medical home for many patients who believe in the same philosophy.  Together, we will usher in a new era in national healthcare.

PCMH click here to go to the National Center for Medical Home Implementation website.



Dnagling HITECHOur clinic is ready for the HITECH Act.  We are already using an Electronic Health Record (Amazing Charts) and electronic prescribing (DrFirst Rcopia).  We use and share health information from Highline Medical Center.  We hope to help bring more clinics in our community to the same functionality by 2011.

Dr. Karl Johnson                
Dr. Karl Johnson
Dr. Karl Johnson, D.O. and his patients have settled into our new clinic.  They enjoy the fresh new look, friendly atmosphere, and cozy surroundings. 

Dr. Johnson and Dr. Choi are also enjoying a great collegial relationship.  Dr. Choi likes to work in metabolic medicine and psychiatry, whereas Dr. Johnson is expert in musculoskeletal medicine.  Hallway consults are common.  Their patients also often visit the other doctor to get the best of both worlds.