Direct Primary Care and Concierge Medicine

Direct Patient Care: A Better Alternative for Patients

September 22, 2020

Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

“I simply don’t understand what happened. I pay my premium every month. Now that I’m really sick, I can’t go to work and have very little income. It turns out I can’t go see my doctor without paying because I haven’t yet spent $2,000 this year out of my own pocket—after paying all my premiums.”

” So, even after paying premiums which are thousands of dollars, and paying the $2,000 deductible, I still have to bring money with me for co-pay.”

This is Susan’s story mentioned in American Bar Association’s recent article, a 27 year-old from Vermont – her story is one that sounds all too familiar. If you haven’t gone through the same predicament yourself, we all know someone who has.

Like Susan, there are millions of others who have fallen victim to America’s problematic, chaotic current health care system.

The United States does not really have a health care system, only a health insurance system. - Mary Gerisch

What is Direct Patient Care?

Introduction | A Revolution for Patient-Centered Care Led by Family Care Physicians

As a patient, if you are frustrated and upset over this whole mess of a system, imagine what family care physicians must feel! They set out to complete their family medicine residency training, growing their passion for taking care of patients for three whole years, only to enter the workplace and be told they are restricted from doing precisely that. America’s health care system is truly absurd.

Health Insurance is not Health Care and America’s Problematic Traditional Family Medical Clinic is Proof!

In the traditional, insurance-based health care system, additional out-of-pocket expenses that cost about $6,000 per year on top of monthly premiums worth $240 are common. With that amount of money, you’d think the average American receives first-class patient-centered care, but the reality is lightyears away from that.

Direct Patient Care

This is precisely why a new and improved health care model called Direct Patient Care was born. Types of Direct Patient Care include Direct Primary Care (DPC) and Concierge Medicine. You can read about the differences between DPC and Concierge Medicine here.

Family care physicians have gotten so fed up with the system that they decided to take matters into their own hands and revolutionize the system by putting patient-centered care at the core where it belongs.

Third parties, such as insurance companies and corporate hospitals, have created a double-edged sword out of the current health care system, leaving doctors and patients to suffer while they prioritize their personal monetary gain. These middlemen, who know nothing about what it takes to care for patients, have feigned supremacy for so long and this new breed of family care physicians are no longer having it.

In the new and improved Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine model, patients get premium health care from their family care physicians for less than $100 a month. We mean unlimited doctor visits, same-day appointments, 24/7 consultations online or via mobile, heavily discounted out-patient procedures and medication, and many other invaluable benefits by premium health care.

Although you will still have to retain your insurance premiums for hospitalization expenses and subspecialty visits, the great news here is that you get to reduce your insurance plan to a high-deductible plan that costs a lot less each month.

After all, you only need your insurance plan to cover catastrophic health expenses and other in-patient services and your Direct Patient Care or Concierge Medicine subscription will cover everything else about routine care.

Like all things unfamiliar, trying out something new can seem quite scary, especially when it’s about your health and well-being. It’s high time you get patient-centered care the way it should be.

If you’re tired of being just another number waiting to be called at your local family medical clinic, this blog will walk you through all the reasons why it’s time to switch to Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine.

Signs That Tell You It’s Time to Let Go of Your Traditional Family Medical Clinic

You’re tired of middlemen, such as insurance companies and corporate hospitals, making you feel like you’re the third party. When you need your family practice doctor the most, they are usually out of reach or take the most taxing procedures to schedule an appointment with them.

On the other hand, family care physicians feel helpless because they are kept out of the loop and are overworked with too many appointments and unnecessary paperwork.

Robotic, impersonal appointments are the norm. “Do this, take that. Next.” If you’re used to your doctor sounding this way and are longing for appointments with family care physicians who sincerely care about your health, it’s time to look for an alternative which makes you feel secure and taken care of.

Next-day and same-day appointments are unheard of in the traditional family practice. If you wish to see your family medicine doctor, you must book at least a week ahead – and in order to do so is a whole other story.

Booking an appointment at your traditional family medical clinic is almost always tedious, frustrating, time-consuming, or all of the above. This usually entails going straight to voice mail, filling up redundant medical forms, and enduring complicated booking instructions.

A typical visit to your traditional family medical clinic involves having to wait for two hours only to spend 5-10 minutes with your family practice doctor. Have you ever heard of the “cookbook treatment”? It’s when family care physicians follow a generalized formula for every single one of their patients.

This is because family care physicians are not given enough time to understand and individualize each patient’s health state thoroughly. Traditional family care physicians are overbooked, pressured to get from one patient to the next, and rarely have time to listen to what is truly going on with their patients.

Insurance companies directly / indirectly influence medical recommendations without really having proper knowledge about a patient’s well-being. If you wonder why family care physicians’ tend to pass you on from one specialist to the next, this is what insurance companies do to upsell procedures and justify higher health care costs.

Moreover, this is also done so that family care physicians are rid of the risk of liability. Because they do not have time to evaluate their patient’s health, they would rather have them go through several expensive tests to eliminate any kind of doubt.

Why is direct patient care a better alternative for patients?

If you are sick of having to go through all the instances we mentioned above each time you need to see your doctor, we recommend looking into Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine. This all-new health care model offers the premium patient-centered care you deserve.

Direct Patient Care Eliminates Middlemen and Restores Patient Trust

Unlike the traditional, insurance-based health care model, Direct Patient Care takes all middlemen out of the equation, leaving patients with a specialized relationship with their family doctor that’s uncomplicated, straightforward, and highly convenient. For an affordable monthly subscription that’s as much as a couple of dinners out only, Direct Patient Care offers 24/7 access to your family practice doctor’s direct line.

Referencing an interesting article from WebMD, Mick Lowderman, 56, who is married with two children, ages 10 and 8, has nothing but rave reviews for his Direct Patient Care doctor, Dr. Josh Umbehr. “It’s awesome that I can call or text Dr. Josh Umbehr when my children are sick and that I have a solution before they leave for school.

For example, when one of my kids woke up coughing recently, my wife and I contacted Dr. Josh, who asked us to put her on the phone to hear her cough and then take a picture of her throat and text it to him. Shortly after, he prescribed an antibiotic, which we picked up at his office the same day.”

Mick and his family’s story is a very refreshing change of scenery in comparison to the horror stories we hear about the current, insurance-based health care system.

Dr. Josh Umbehr is just one of many family care physicians who are slowly shifting to the Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine practice.

With this new model, they are now able to provide a more personalized, comprehensive form of patient-centered care. Erin Sullivan, PhD, Research and Curriculum Director at the Center for Primary Care at Harvard Medical School, explains, “When you look at Direct Patient Care, it points to our broken system that doctors don’t want to practice in and are looking for alternate solutions -- and so are patients.”

Although you will still have to retain a high-deductible insurance plan to cover hospitalization expenses, the financial, personal, and medical benefits you get from Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine are truly invaluable. An interesting story from WebMD - Kevin Boyd, 64, one of many satisfied DPC patients, shares a positive experience from when he fell down the stairs and broke his rib. “ I didn’t have to go to the emergency room.

Instead, I called up my Direct Patient Care physician, who told me to come to his office. He referred me nearby for an X-ray and dispensed pain medications at his office. Everything cost me a total of $70.”

With the Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine model, you finally get to say goodbye to unnecessary administrative costs and exorbitantly priced out-patient services and medication.

This is because Direct Patient Care clinics have a lean executive team that consists of 1-3 people, at best, who take care of everything from booking appointments to in-house lab procedures.

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) test might cost $50-$60 at a hospital whereas it may only cost you $1-$2 in a Direct Patient Care clinic. Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine physicians also have a network of specialists. They can refer you to half the cost.

The same goes for medication – Direct Patient Care physicians source their medical supplies and pharmaceuticals directly, which means they can provide you with such at wholesale cost.

Patient-Centered Care at the Core – That’s Direct Patient Care

Compared to America’s broken health care system which ironically provides zero care to its constituents, the Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine practice is a pleasant surprise to patients, to say the very least. Here is a comprehensive list of all the benefits you can get from Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine.

  • If there’s anything that sets Direct Patient Care physicians from their traditional counterparts, it’s that they have the luxury of time. Appointments can stretch between 30-60 minutes, giving Direct Patient Care physicians enough time to assess and evaluate your health. No more rushed, robotic appointments – yes, please!

  • Direct Patient Care physicians also see a lot less patients (approximately 200-800 patients) compared to traditional family practice doctors (2,000-3,000 patients). This means that they are a lot less stressed seeing their patients.

    It’s true, happier doctors are equal to more satisfied patients. What’s great about the Direct Patient Care/ Concierge Medicine practice is that it restores family care physicians patient advocacy.

  • Front desk calls, waiting in line for hours, and being sent straight to voice mail are all things of the past. With the Direct Patient Care/ Concierge Medicine model, you have unrestricted access to your family medicine doctor’s direct line.

    You can now call or message them for advice without having to book an appointment at your local family medical clinic. Same-day appointments, sick visits at home, and teleconsultations are very much welcome with the Direct Patient Care model.

  • Because there are no third parties or middlemen in the Direct Patient Care/ Concierge Medicine practice, family care physicians no longer operate based on their insurance company’s or corporate hospital’s best interests. Instead, the patient’s well-being is front and center. It is the only vested interest that exists between doctor and patient.
  • Lastly and most importantly, the Direct Patient Care/Concierge Medicine model fosters a trusting, nurturing relationship between doctor and patient, which the traditional health care system hasn’t been able to achieve.
  • In contrast to traditional family care physicians, Direct Patient Care doctors are doting, meticulous, and sincere – factors which are crucial to patient satisfaction.

    Based on a post-discharge survey called A Case for Compassion

    .

    The study analyzes 185 unsolicited positive comments about health care, which later on reveals that only 4 comments discuss clinical competence while 120 comments distinguish their family doctor’s compassion, kindness, and empathy.

    These family care physicians can now do what they do best: care for patients and maintain their overall well-being.

Direct Patient Care in a Nutshell

Summary | Time to Switch to Direct Patient Care

A study conducted by Isaac French, DPC Product Manager at KPI Ninja, entitled Factors Impacting Member Retention, reveals that “patients who visited a DPC clinic at least once per year showed a 37% increase in renewal rate over those who did not visit the clinic at all.

This means that DPC doctors have the chance to retain patients and engender loyalty based largely on one-on-one visits alone”. Improved quality of life, priceless peace of mind, top value for money, and a tight-knit doctor-patient relationship grounded on trust and genuine care – these are key takeaways you should remember when you finally make the switch to Direct Patient Care.

In fact, this is what FindMyDirectDoctor.com stands for. Our life’s work is to improve the health and well-being of patients like you by doing well on two very important things:

  • First: Making the invaluable benefits of direct patient care and concierge medicine doctors consistently available to you
  • Second: cCnnecting you to a wide selection of direct patient care and concierge medicine physicians who are just one phone call away.

Join the movement for better health care and see a direct patient care physician near you today.

Authored by Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

Advocate of healthcare models that promote direct relationship between patients and doctors. Founder @ FindMyDirectDoctor, LLC.

Read more here.