“I always wanted to be a doctor. It was the only thing I could imagine being,” said Dr. Orrin McLeod, adding, “My mother always worked for doctors. So, I had that exposure as a kid.”
McLeod had a humble start, establishing himself in Moriarty in 1988, after purchasing a clinic from a friend who had to close. He said, “The rural thing happened by accident. At that time, New Mexico had a loan repayment plan for rural areas. I had friends with a clinic in Moriarty. It just worked out.” In the beginning, his clinic was run by him and one other employee, and they would see an average of three or four patients a day. Slowly, over time, the business grew.
“In the 90s, I started wanting to do other things. Rural practices were hard work but I realized within a few months that it wouldn’t work,” McLeod said.
Another expansion happened around 2000, in response to the local Moriarty pharmacy closing down. “I had a dentist friend who opened a clinic in Edgewood and also had one in Moriarty. I decided to follow his lead,” said McLeod. The Edgewood office quickly got busy and started doing well.
Another six or seven years later another expansion was on the horizon for McLeod Medical. “My daughter started attending East Mountain High School and she was a soccer player. I wanted to be able to go to her games, so I decided to open a clinic in Cedar Crest,” McLeod said.
He described the expansion into Cedar Crest as “accidental,” because it was about being closer to his daughter.
“In 2015, I retired again. I think I was getting burned out, so I decided to leave. I traveled around in an RV for a few years.”
The business was turned over to the bank under the subsequent owner and in February 2018, McLeod bought the business and all the equipment back to prevent the clinics from closing.
McLeod partnered with Duke City Urgent Care, created a new name and absorbed a clinic in Albuquerque. The entity is now named Duke City Primary Care.
“I didn’t want to have to do all the business-end work. I wanted to be able to focus on the things I really wanted to do which are things like seeing patients, helping new graduates and helping people to get trained and have success in medicine,” McLeod said. He said he was also worried about “tribalism” in the company and wanted to be one cohesive team. “We want it to be clear that we are one family and we work as a team,” he said.
The clinics are in Albuquerque, Cedar Crest, Moriarty and Edgewood.
The Albuquerque clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Cedar Crest Clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Moriarty Clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and is closed on Saturdays. The Edgewood clinic is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The clinics all offer family care from newborns to the elderly. They do preventative care, screening for illness, well cild care, immunizations, acute illnesses like colds, sprains and bone breaks and stitches, and chronic care for things like diabetes, high blood pressure and lung disease.
In response to COVID-19, the clinics are offering “telemedicine” and 50% of the care is currently coming via telemedicine. “We were geared for telemedicine from the start. It’s about encouraging people not to come in,” McLeod said.
The clinics have set up screening measures for potential COVID patients. First, an assessment is done through a video call, then if needed the patients are asked to come to the parking lot of the closest clinic to be seen in their vehicles for a COVID swab test. If the swab comes back negative, patients are checked for influenza, McLeod said.
“The interesting thing is, we have only had one positive case in our offices and that was well over a month ago. It really hasn’t been a problem so far, in part because the state responded very aggressively,” McLeod said.
The clinics are also offering a coronavirus antibody test. The clinics go through big labs like Tricore and the results are available within 3 to 4 days. They are also offering employer testing and COVID-19 PCR swab tests. The test reveals the presence or absence of antibodies to COVID-19 as soon as 2-3 weeks following exposure to the virus.
“I hope we are guided by science as we go forward. Hand washing, wearing masks and social isolation are still important things and need to continue for the foreseeable future,” McLeod said.
“I am certainly still here! I take off more time than I used to, but I’m still here,” McLeod said. “I am excited at the thought of working with my daughters. Someday I will retire, but not before I get to practice with my own children.”
With new businesses sprouting up around the Estancia Valley and East Mountains, and with others moving, expanding or making changes, The Independent is running a regular business feature to keep the community up to date. Do you have business news? Contact email@example.com to be included in a future story.