THE DOCTOR IS IN—NewCare MD Direct Primary Care

By on January 31, 2017
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NewCare MD Direct Primary Care

 

Explain the basics of Direct Primary Care and what drew you to this model?

 

Direct Primary Care is reminiscent of the way medicine used to be practiced, where patients had a strong relationship with their physician. In a Direct Primary Care practice, the physician is paid by the patient through a nominal monthly membership fee just like a gym.

 

By not accepting insurance and government payors, Direct Primary Care removes the middlemen and all the hassles that they bring. Most doctors must run from room to room just to keep the lights on every day. With Direct Primary Care, we limit the number of member patients assigned to each physician. It’s a win-win for patients and doctors. Our patients enjoy same-day appointments, little to no waiting, and 30 minute visits.

 

In return, we have the time to do what we love: take care of our patients. We do not have insurance companies dictating to us how patients should be cared for, which medications they should take, how a medical record needs to be entered, or how an invoice needs to be billed. Direct Primary Care makes being a physician enjoyable and fulfilling again.

 

What is included in the monthly fee and what is the general range of costs for a family of four?

 

We make two promises to our member patients—access and transparent pricing.

 

Patient-centered care means the doctor’s undivided attention and listening. Patients are scheduled for 30-minute time slots.

The monthly membership fee gives you access to a pretty long list of benefits including, unlimited office visits with no copays or deductibles, typically same or next-day 30 minute with little to no wait, call, text or email our physicians when needed, over seventy medications dispensed in-house at cost with new meds added every day, annual wellness + prevention, flu shots, women’s and men’s health services, and access to deeply discounted prices for lab work and imaging. We also offer discounted aesthetics services for our members. For example, Botox is $7.50/unit.

 

If you need an additional service that we offer, you know exactly how much that service will cost before the care is given. That’s unheard of in our current medical system with confusing pre-negotiated rates between insurance companies and their network of providers. We offer discounted rates for labs and imaging that are some of the lowest in the area. For example, a Hemoglobin A1C test is $7 and an MRI is about $480. Our patients could easily save the cost of membership with one expensive test.

 

Our monthly membership fee is based on age. Adults 26-50 years old are $60 per month, and adults 51 and over are $75 per month. Children up to 26 years old are $30 a month (in addition to the adult member). The family membership is $150 per month, which includes 2 adults and up to two children under the age of 26. Additional children are $15 per month with the family rate capping at $180 per month. We feel like if you have more than four children, you need all the help you can get.

 

How does the dispensing of meds directly in your clinic work?

 

Amy Hervey handles administrative tasks. Heather Walker is an RN and Dr. John Vanderloo is one of the physicians on staff.

Our clinic currently stocks over 70 medications and that list is growing every day. Let’s say a patient comes in with a sinus infection and needs an antibiotic. Instead of calling your prescription into a local pharmacy, we dispense the medication in-house and save you a trip down the road. From the patient’s standpoint, the process is easy—they just got their Z-Pak for $3 in the exam room and are now on their way home to recover.

 

If you take medications for a chronic illness like diabetes or high blood pressure, we also offer many generic medications at cost for our patients. If we can get your medications cheaper than your pharmacy, we will add them to our inventory and pass the savings on to you. If we can’t get your medications cheaper, we will point you to the lowest price in town.

 

It sounds very much like a win-win for both patient and physician. What do you feel are the greatest benefits for each?

 

It’s absolutely a win-win for the patient and the physician, and for many of the same reasons. Direct Primary Care puts the doctor-patient relationship back at the center of healthcare, where it belongs. Time is a major benefit. We provide 30-minute visits and strive to eliminate wait times; our patients never feel rushed once they are in the clinic. Our physicians focus on keeping patients healthy and happy through disease maintenance and prevention. Likewise, our physicians have the freedom to spend as much time with the patient as necessary to ensure proper care. Convenience and access are also benefits. We utilize technology such as secure messaging, telephone, and video conferencing to provide care when appropriate, and patients are guaranteed same-day or next-day office hour access to the physician when needed.

 

Suppose a patient needs to be referred to a specialist. In that case, would a patient need some kind of “wrap-around” insurance policy to cover that?

 

We are true primary care and can take care of about 90% of your medical needs. For the other 10%, including specialty referrals, we recommend having a plan in place to cover costs. That plan could be traditional health insurance, a high deductible plan or medical cost-sharing program like Liberty HealthShare, Medi-Share, or Christian Healthcare Ministries.

 

It’s been interesting. Since we’ve opened, we’ve seen a good number of our patients drop their expensive big insurance plan and save money with a medical cost sharing program. Most people don’t know that medical cost sharing exists but once they find out there is another option in the marketplace, one that more closely aligns with their Christian values while saving them hundreds of dollars a month, they get excited about healthcare again.

 

If a patient has to be admitted to the hospital, are you able to stay involved in their care?

 

While our goal is to keep you out of the hospital and the emergency room, we do have admitting privileges at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson. We work with the Baptist hospitalist group while you are admitted and will visit you at the hospital as well. After your discharge home, we can see you as soon as needed in the clinic to make sure your follow-up care is appropriately coordinated.

 

What are the steps to enrolling as a “member” of your patient group?

 

Signing up is simple. You may access our online enrollment form at newcaremd.com or come to our office and fill out an enrollment form in person. All we need is basic contact and billing information for you to become a member. The medical history can wait until your first visit, since you will have plenty of time with the physician to cover everything needed.