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Complete Business Care: How a Strong Banking Partnership Elevated One Doctor’s Practice

May 2, 2023
Amanda Moulliet
Amanda Moulliet

Dr. Courtney Washington understands the importance of integrated care. A premise of the osteopathic method she follows is looking at the body as a whole unit to ensure good health. The New Orleans physician - also known on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as “Dr. Nola Knows" - credits part of her practice’s current success to partners, like Hancock Whitney, who take a similar, integrated care approach to her business.


Small business owner Dr. Courtney Washington


Caring for Her Community

Following medical school and residency at clinics away from her home state of Louisiana, Dr. Washington made a plan to return to the Crescent City with the hope of serving the community where she grew up.


The first physician in her family, a single mom of twin boys, and a woman of color, Dr. Washington knew her journey to opening a private practice would come with many obstacles.


"Financial literacy and business skills are not taught in medical school," shares Dr. Washington, who tried without avail to overcome the hurdles of applying for business loans and obtaining capital to open her private practice.


She persevered, saving the salary she earned while working in the emergency room at an out-of-state facility. Once home, Dr. Washington opened an independent practice, Fleur-De-Lis Primary Care Clinic, located in the heart of downtown New Orleans.


She used most of her liquid cash to open her clinic, but there were even more obstacles to overcome once the clinic became operational. Between health insurance claims, student loan payments, and a slow cash flow, she met a hard truth: her passion for preventing and reversing medical conditions would only be meaningful with a strategic partnership with a banker to guide her into the path of entrepreneurial success.


Growing a Healthy Business

Motivated by her accountant, Dr. Washington reached out to Hancock Whitney. She knew her mission of serving the New Orleans community through preventative care depended on sound advice from financial experts equally passionate about serving. "They are in the community; I am in the community," says the doctor, who, like Hancock Whitney, partners with local organizations to better serve New Orleans. "In New Orleans, we deserve that. We've gone through a lot," reflects Dr. Washington. "Having a banker and a CPA has made things less difficult."

 Dr. Courtney Washington serving the New Orleans community


With the personalized support provided by Hancock Whitney, Dr. Washington used funding to acquire machinery and technology to position herself as a unique alternative to traditional medical doctors. "Patients are not numbers and codes," says Dr. Washington, who takes pride in the customized care she offers her patients, similar to the way Hancock Whitney provides individualized guidance for her business. "Other banks don't know me by name, but Hancock Whitney invested and supported my dreams and goals…it is stressful, but it's worth the reward if you love what you do."


Dr. Washington explains that having a strong relationship with a financial institution changed the course of her practice. “I have peace and less stress, plus it totally changed the way that I look at money, because when you make a certain amount of money, you save and you invest differently.”


Paying it Forward

The challenges on the road to her current success didn't bring her down; rather, her struggles as a woman of color in the medical profession and as an entrepreneur only fueled her motivation to mentor other women in the field.


"As a little girl, I always wanted to be a doctor. I loved my pediatrician; she was Black with an afro," says Dr. Washington, who was inspired by her childhood doctor to become one. "But nobody told me I could be a doctor." She is on a mission to be that voice of encouragement and inspiration for others.


Serving as a mentor to young students interested in healthcare as well as other practitioners looking for advice to branch out on their own, Dr. Washington uses her struggles of opening a new business without a solid financial foundation to stress the importance of beginning entrepreneurship with the right tools.


“I want to encourage more people to go into small business entrepreneurship because it's important,” share Dr. Washington. “Talking about money and finance and being financially literate is also one of my big goals in my legacy.”


Another part of her legacy – expansion. Dr. Washington recently opened an aesthetics practice and also dreams of adding specialty doctors to her private practice to serve the New Orleans community. "I want to build a shared space so my patients can see other doctors for personalized care. We believe in the continuity of health care, but in larger systems, you lose that personalized comfort," said Dr. Washington. "My grandma was diagnosed with something serious and went through many doctors, but by the time they caught it, it was too late. It is a huge motivator to do better and give back to your patients."


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