Doctor cares for those who need it
Jeanne Savage, M.D., realizes she could see more financial rewards had she not chosen to work with low-income patients. However, she feels called to do what she does –– plus, she loves it.
“This is going to sound altruistic to the point of ridiculous, but I knew when I was a little girl that I would care for the underserved,” says Dr. Savage. “I didn’t ever consider the cost of medical school or what I would make after school.”
Dr. Savage is a family doctor and OB at Salud Medical Center in Woodburn, a clinic for low-income patients, 85 percent of whom are Latino. As part of her practice, Dr. Savage delivers babies at Legacy Silverton Medical Center.
“I love the long-term relationships with my patients,” says Dr. Savage. “Because of the trust that we have established, if I say, ‘You should vaccinate your kids,’ they do it. If I say, ‘You should take this diabetes medication,’ they take it.”
Patients can’t afford the care they need
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. The families at the clinic often can’t afford all the care they need. “I have to offer options based on what they can pay for and what is available,” she says. “We have to talk about whether to get a [test] done. Sometimes I have to suggest that they set aside $50 per month if the test is needed later.”
Transportation and child care are huge issues for her patients as well, and some of her patients can’t get a driver’s license or valid ID card, says Dr. Savage, who seeks to improve care by being sensitive to Latino culture.
Dr. Savage was influenced in choosing her line of practice by her experience raised by a single mother who couldn’t afford many luxuries. “Sometimes we would eat canned chili and chips,” Dr. Savage recalls. “It was tough, but my mom made sure I had what I needed.”