Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Committed to compassionate care, Dr. Samir Abdalshaheed puts the "family" into family medicine

by Cristi Sanchez

From left: Robin Lebo, NP, Samir Abdelshaheed, MD, and Avery Eriksson, PA of Family Medicine Healthcare.

From left: Robin Lebo, NP, Samir Abdelshaheed, MD, and Avery Eriksson, PA of Family Medicine Healthcare.

For those with fixed incomes, tight budgets, or no insurance, navigating the world of ever-rising health care costs can be frightening.  The dark cloud of non-affordability looms heavy overhead, often keeping people from getting even the most basic and sometimes life-saving screenings or medications. This situation is all too relatable for Dr. Samir Abdalshaheed and his wife and practice manager, Graisse, of Family Medicine Healthcare in Chesapeake. It is their mission to try to bring affordable healthcare to their community.  

Growing up in Alexandria, Egypt, Dr. Abdalshaheed had a love for medicine which was heavily influenced by his mother, a nurse, and his cousin, an internist. "I would listen to my cousin talk about his work and his patients for hours on end," he recalls with a smile. "I was absolutely hooked at a very early age.  I always knew I would enter the medical field."

While he was in medical school at the University of Alexandria, however, his life was forever changed, and his approach to medicine was cemented.  His mother succumbed to breast cancer, and a few years later, his father to colon cancer because they did not have access to proper preventive care.

Driven by this devastating turn of events and his compassionate spirit, Dr. Abdalshaheed was determined that others would not have to endure the same tragedy as his parents. He committed himself to providing patients with access to a wide range of affordable, high-quality healthcare options.  At Family Medicine Healthcare, an independent practice, Dr. Abdalshaheed leads a team of healthcare professionals who share in this very personal commitment.

Because of his personal experiences, Dr. Abdalshaheed is disheartened when patients are reluctant to seek care because of the cost.  When one of his elderly patients lamented not being able to afford the prescription medication she needed, he responded quickly by personally contacting her insurance company to work with them on reducing her monthly drug costs.

"He was on the phone with the company for an hour, but we were able to lower the cost of her drugs from $100 to $30 a month," Graisse explains.  "Many seniors live on a very tight budget.  If there is anything we can do to help patients with their health care costs, we will work with them.  We accept a wide variety of health insurances to try to accommodate our patients."

"Patients come first," Dr. Abdelshaheed adds emphatically.  "That's what good medicine is all about.  It's that simple, especially when it comes to prevention. It's so important to us that patients know that we will work with them to help them obtain the highest standards of care available.  That's why we offer a broad array of services not typically found in many primary care practices," he points out. "We want to spare our patients the anxiety of entrusting their medical care to someone else, so we perform our own in-house ultrasound exams, and sleep studies. The latest in state-of-the-art medical practices and equipment allows us to perform these diagnostic tests in-house, eliminating the cost associated with having the procedures performed in a hospital. It provides same-day results, and most importantly, provides greater continuity of care by keeping results within the practice."

"Patients come first.
That's what good medicine is all about.
It's that simple, especially when it comes to prevention -
we will work with them to help them obtain
the highest standards of care available."
                               - Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed 

Dr. Abdalshaheed's empathy, compassion, and dedication to helping patients drew him to family practice from the start. For some, "family practice physician" might just be a title, but for Dr. Abdalshaheed, it's a calling.  

"One of the reasons I was drawn to family practice medicine is because I didn't want to be in the position of an emergency room physician who treats patients but then never gets to see them again," he explains. "I always wonder how patients are doing after seeing them.  That's what makes family practice medicine so meaningful. You see your patients throughout the year and build a relationship with them. That's what I like the most about practicing medicine," he explains with a kind smile.  

Dr. Abdalshaheed is devoted and dedicated to his patients for the long term. Committed to providing continuity of care, should his patients be hospitalized or enter a nursing home, he follows them and coordinates their care with that facility's doctors and staff. It is a personalized approach that harkens back to the old-fashioned practices of bygone years.

"Our hands-on approach is similar to old-fashioned medicine," Graisse shares. "We're a practice that knows the patient and the patient's whole family. It's not uncommon for us to see children, their parents, and even their grandparents. Dr. Abdelshaheed and our team are committed to providing a friendly environment and complete personalized medical care for the entire family."

Indeed, with their emphasis on investing in their patients, all doctors and nurses on staff are dedicated to going the extra mile to give the personal time needed to cultivate the type of personal relationships that so many patients consider vitally important.

"Since we know our patients personally and know what's going on in their lives, we can maximize the value each time they visit," Graisse says. "We always do what is in the very best interest of our patients, and because we know them, we can take it a step further. Whether it's referring them to a lab that is close to their home or recommending a specialist who can see them in a timely manner. Only a practice like ours can provide this level of patient care."

"We know and understand our patients on a personal level, and this is one of our greatest strengths," Dr. Abdelshaheed agrees. "That's what allows us to provide the best possible care to each of our patients and their families."

With his natural compassion and a desire to improve access to healthcare rooted in his very personal experience, Dr. Samir Abdalshaheed with his wife Graisse have gone above and beyond to ensure they provide personalized, affordable health care to all of their patients. With their hallmark personal approach of doctor/patient relationships, they put the ‘family' in Family Medicine.

Family Medicine Healthcare

6111 Portsmouth Blvd.
Portsmouth, VA 23701