LETTER TO MY FUTURE PATIENTS
Hello and welcome.
I started practicing direct primary care (DPC) because I believe it is a better, kinder, more cost effective solution while also providing a higher level of care. DPC is a disruptive innovation in medicine. It turns traditional medical access on its head.
Direct primary care (DPC) is a different model that is spreading across the nation. It's not just my clinic. However, I worked hard to be the first one to bring this amazing model of care to you here in Columbus. DPC basically offers concierge level patient attention, including your actual medical care for a low monthly fee (not merely a retainer fee to have a doctor AND THEN billing your insurance for actual medical care -- which is how true concierge medicine works). DPC is value based medicine, rather than periodic high bills that also do not offer the same level of care and service.
Thus far, the people who join DPC are not looking at the bottom dollar -- they look at the accessibility, quality of care, lower lab rates, and other services at lower costs (imaging, etc.), that other doctors would never take the time to do, or are not allowed to do, because they work for big health systems. DPC patients are looking for a doctor who can text, email, and video consult with them when medically appropriate to improve speed of care. Further, doctors employed by big systems are limited in specialist referrals, because the pressure to refer within their health care system is high; whereas, I can work with my patients to refer them to the specialist THEY want to be evaluated by.
So insurance has a place in my clinic, but it's very similar to the concept of car insurance. Insurance was created for horrible events, car wrecks, hail, etc., but was never intended for gas fillups, oil changes, tire rotations, etc. This model, DPC, is just like that. There's no reason to pay so much for basic care and improved access by billing your medical insurance.
People who have excellent insurance through their employer look at this as a bottom line cost and are uninterested because they have been gifted with low monthly costs. But that is not the majority of Americans. However, there are others with low rates from their employers who say, well that is nice -- I have a low monthly payment, but how do I ensure further decreased contained medical costs if possible? That answer is DPC.
DPC is for people who:
- Have high deductibles that they will likely never reach (on average, only 20% of the population hits their deductible -- huge WIN for insurance companies -- which means their pay out is lower);
- Have had horrible experiences with big healthcare systems;
- Are tired of waiting 30 minutes or even HOURS in a lobby, then having a 7-minute office visit for only one medical issue;
- Never talk with their actual doctor, always relaying phone messages through the medical assistant;
- Have literally had times when they waited weeks for "timely" medication refills;
- Have been incorrectly or over-billed to their insurance for office visits/procedures;
- Can never get into their PCP for actual illness and always spend additional cost going to urgent care, only to be told, "follow up with your PCP if you don't feel better" (and then can't get a followup without a wait of 7-10 days);
- Have had huge "surprise" bills that put further strain on them (cost transparency is RARELY possible with insurance billing);
-THESE are the people that get DPC and recognize the value.
Others get the concept -- they just get it.
Most people who work at a small business or are self-employed or purchased through the exchange, pay nearly $400-$700 a month just for insurance. And guess what, this is exactly why people avoid their doctor -- because then they will incur FURTHER expense when the bill comes later. What one person pays for one month in insurance, they would have unlimited care in my clinic for one *year*.
High deductible plans or "wrap around" plans work best and compliment DPC practices.
I encourage all people to google and look into the concept of direct primary care (DPC). Many doctors across America are converting to this model, and many more are considering it, because it actually allows us to be caring doctors, rather than data-entry for insurance companies. To ensure the highest level of care, we limit our total patient volume into the clinic.
Hope this helps you to understand my reason for founding this clinic providing a groundbreaking model of primary care.
All the best,
Heather Bartlett, M.D.