British family physician Richard Berry, MD—now living in Northeast Ohio—embraces his own brand of patient-focused health care

20230703 Maple Health 4830 723
The staff at Maple Health DPC includes founding physician Richard Berry, MD (far right) with L-R: Courtney Kozek, PA, medical assistant Vanessa Padilla (who is fluent in Spanish), and head of reception Gina Bergem. (Photography:Felicia Vargo)

By Mitch Allen

Richard Berry, MD, is not your typical area physician. You understand this right away thanks to his pleasant British accent. Not that posh, stiff-upper-lip King Charles accent, but the charming, “meet-me-at-the-pub-for-a-pint” British accent.

Second, you’ll notice his down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is style. That makes sense considering he spent six years serving as a British Royal Marine Commando prior to medical school—two tours of the Sierra Leone Civil War and one tour each of Afghanistan and Iraq. Dr. Berry is so down to earth, he is comfortable with patients and staff calling him “Rich.”

“That’s how we do it in Britain,” Rich says. “I can’t imagine my staff calling me ‘Dr. Berry.’ We’re all on a first-name basis. We keep it casual.”

Rich graduated from the University of Leicester Medical School in the United Kingdom in 2013 and completed two years of post-graduate training in England before moving to Northeast Ohio with his wife, a native of Painesville, and their two daughters. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at MetroHealth in 2018.

Like many U.S. doctors, he joined a big hospital system and—also like many U.S. doctors—he was uneasy about the quality of care patients received.

“It was frustrating,” Rich explains. “I had 2,000 patients and barely got 15 minutes with any of them. If a new patient wanted to see me, they had to wait six months for an appointment. In my heart, I found it completely unethical.”

Then Rich did something most U.S. doctors don’t do, he found a better way.

Maple Health DPC will serve up to 600 members per clinician which ensures each patient gets easy access to their doctor and meaningful one-hour appointments.

Introducing Maple Health DPC
Nine months ago, Rich launched his own medical practice called Maple Health DPC. The “DPC” stands for “Direct Primary Care,” a membership-based healthcare model with a focus on patients, including better access to the doctor, longer appointment times, and less waiting. It’s the first DPC in Lake County.

“Now I schedule my appointments hourly,” Rich says. “That means I guarantee adequate time with every patient every time.”

The DPC model works because each family physician is limited to just 600 patients, each of whom pays a monthly membership fee. A DPC doesn’t take insurance because doctor visits are included in the membership fee. Rich can also handle additional services that might otherwise require an expensive emergency room visit or a referral to another doctor.

“I do sutures right here in the office at no additional charge,” he explains. “So instead of waiting hours in an emergency room, filling out forms, and dealing with insurance companies, just come on in.”

Rich also performs medical procedures, like joint injections, skin tag removals, abscess drainage, EKGs, urine tests, earwax removal, annual physicals, etc.—all at no extra charge to members.

For blood work, there is an additional fee, usually about $20 for a basic workup. Why so cheap?

“Lab work itself is not expensive,” Rich reveals. “It costs hundreds of dollars at a traditional medical practice because you’re paying for a huge staff and large facilities. Here we don’t have all that overhead. So, yes, it’s 20 bucks.”

Who Should Join?
Patients at Maple Health DPC include people from all walks of life who care about their health and want convenient access to their doctor. However, the model is particularly attractive to the uninsured and to the vast number of people with a high-deductible medical plan.

“If you have, say, a $7,000 deductible, you really are not insured unless you need surgery,” Rich says.

The new Maple Health is so popular that the membership total is running well ahead of target. “At nine months we projected to be at 150 members,” Rich shares, “but we are already at 365 of the 600 patients we can accept.”

Patients also include independent contractors, small business owners, and others who have basic health insurance. But even if you had great insurance with a zero deductible, Maple Health is still a good value—provided you prioritize your health and want to have easy access and plenty of time with your doctor.

Patients include independent contractors, small business owners, and others who have basic health insurance.

Your First Visit
When you first meet with Rich, you’ll do so fully clothed (not in a hospital gown), and he won’t be in a white coat.

“I don’t even own a white coat,” he laughs.

You and he will go over your medical records, blood work, and make sure you are up to date with screenings—colonoscopy, mammogram, lung cancer screening, aortic aneurysm screening, etc.—as well as vaccines for conditions like shingles and tetanus.

“By the way, tetanus is a ‘misnomer’ for this vaccine,” Rich adds. “It also protects against diphtheria and whooping cough. These are things my patients understand because I spend time with them. I’m big on educating patients not just on what we are going to do, but why.”

In addition to the list of topics Rich will talk with you about, you can have your own list. “That’s the beauty of having so much time together,” he says. “You can ask any and all questions you have.”=

Meet Courtney Kozek, PA
Statistically, the patients of male family physicians are two-thirds male and one-third female, while the patients of female doctors are the opposite.

“That’s completely understandable,” Rich says. “It’s easy to see why a female patient would want a female doctor. That’s why we’re adding Courtney Kozek, PA, to the Maple Health staff.” She’s a physician assistant who can do virtually anything Rich can do. “Courtney worked with me for four years, until I went independent. She is a highly talented medical professional, and we are excited to have her join us.”

Courtney earned her undergraduate degree from Pitt and her professional designation at Seton Hill. She, too, specializes in family medicine.

Rounding out the staff is medical assistant Vanessa Padilla (who is fluent in Spanish) and head of reception Gina Bergem.

The Doctor Shortage
Rich says 10 years ago quality health care was directly proportional to your quality of insurance, but not anymore—due largely to a shortage of doctors. “In the past few years, many Lake County physicians have retired and there is not a sufficient pipeline to replace them,” he explains. “So today, not even the best insurance will make any doctor available to you. There is still a six-month wait. But not for us. Call me on Monday and you’ll see me on Wednesday. If you’re already a member and it’s urgent, you’ll probably see me in a couple of hours.”

Maple Health DPC is located at 7259 Center Street in Mentor. For more information or to schedule a visit with Dr. Richard Berry, call 440-655-8017 or visit