Here are a couple of reminders for our Direct Primary Care members and prospective members for the upcoming weeks.
Saturday Walk-in Clinic:
- Dr. Hone, our Maryville office DPC physician, will be staffing the Saturday walk-in clinic this weekend at Trinity’s Fort Sanders West office.
- DPC members may utilize the Saturday walk-in clinic as part of their membership whenever Dr. Hone or Dr. McColl are staffing the clinic.
- Walk-in clinic hours are Saturday 8:30-11:30am.
- We will continue to post which clinics are staffed by DPC physicians.
- All patients of Trinity are welcome to use the walk-in clinic for sick care as the need arises.
Direct Primary Care Presentation
- Dr. McColl and Dr. Hone will host the next DPC presentation this Saturday at 10am in the main lobby of Trinity’s Fort Sanders West office.
- They will discuss the DPC program for anyone interested in understanding how it works and the benefits of having a low-cost, insurance-free, full service primary care membership.
- They will also update you on the legislative efforts that support placing the patient back at the center of health care policy and decision making. There has been some good progress at the state level this year already.
Advantage: Patient. The benefits of DPC membership in getting things done.
by Mark B McColl, MD
In a traditional primary care office the pace can be incredible. Trinity is known in the community as an office that doesn’t have an enormous volume of daily patients. Due to the wisdom of our founding physicians, Dr. Allsop and Dr. Pardue, we have set the standard in our office to take nearly twice as long with each patient as the national average. We have fought to protect that time with our patients for nearly 25 years. Even with that extra allotment, it is very difficult to ensure that the unique needs of each patient can be addressed in the midst of busy work day.
Many times I would find myself only able to perform tasks for patients if they were face to face with me at an office visit. I’m sure many of you over the years have probably watched me type out you a letter you needed while in the exam room. I simply didn’t have the time to attend to any tasks outside of the scheduled office visit.
Direct Primary Care has changed all of that for me. Since the start of the program I have been able to do much more for my patients without them having to be present. I have coordinated three out-of-town specialist consultations for patients with unique medical concerns. I have worked through two insurance prior authorizations that required a peer-to-peer review. (This is a tactic used by insurance companies to deny payment for an ordered test or service until I get on the phone and argue my case with their hired doctor.) I have been able to arrange a records review from an outlying hospital and then coordinate further testing for that patient on a potentially life altering condition. Lastly, I have been able to personally answer the phone and provide a medication refill for Mrs. ________ in about 30 seconds, twice.
I am thrilled at what I can now do for my patients. I can meet them at the point of their need and focus my energy on solving their problem. I consider that a win for patients and for me too.
The next two Direct Primary Care presentations will be at 10am on November 21st and December 5th in the main lobby of Trinity’s Fort Sanders West office.
Please feel free to attend if you would like to learn more about Direct Primary Care and the program offered through Trinity’s Hardin Valley and Maryville offices.
Each presentation is about 45 minutes and then offers a question and answer time.
In the next series of posts I’m going to be highlighting and explaining the various benefits that are available to members of the Direct Primary Care program.
The first benefit for members, which for many people is the most drastic difference from traditional fee-for-service (FFS) offices, is the nearly unlimited number of visits available. As long as the visits are medically necessary members are encouraged to come in as often as is needed.
The idea behind this benefit is to free up patients to receive care as often or as frequent as is necessary to their situation. Why should we penalize sick people who are struggling through a concern by forcing them to deal with complex medical issues in fifteen minute allotments? When I first meet a patient that has diabetes that isn’t under control it usually results in a very long conversation. It often needs to be divided up into segments that they can process over time. If they feel pressured get it all done in one visit because coming back is so burdensome, they miss out on really important bits of information. Their success is slowed.
I’ve been told by people in the industry that I’m going to get flooded by “high utilizers”. Other Direct Primary Care physicians tell me that there certainly will be some people who come in frequently just because they can, however most people have better things to do with their lives than show up at a doctor’s office every day. The majority of people who will use the service regularly will likely be those who are holding back now. They have questions and concerns but hesitate to spend the money to come in to ask about them. All of us have a need for experts from time to time. Even today I had an unexpected question about my house. I sent an email to my go to guy (shout out to Mike Ballinger of Rock Creek Construction) and he’s already been out and given me an idea of what to do. One of the best stress reducers out there is a rolodex full of good people to call in time of need.
People ask me all the time “Can I really come in as many times as I need?” The answer is yes. Tennessee is still somewhat of a grey state for DPC programs since it has not enacted any legislation declaring how Direct Primary Care works and what it is. DPC practices are left up to their own designs to show the state that we aren’t trying to be an insurance plan or company. One of the ways we do that is to define the number of visits patients get with membership. We had to pick a realistic and reasonable number. I decided on 25 visits per calendar year. Two visits a month seems like more than most anyone is going to need and yet isn’t absurd. After that, patients are still welcome to come in as much as they want but a per visit fee will be applied.
So that’s the first and probably the most dramatic benefit available to members. Let’s take the fear and high cost out of dealing with life’s issues and develop a program that allows patients the freedom to address all their concerns over multiple visits.
Next, I’ll address the plan for increased access.
Remember to check out the Facebook page and sign up at https://trinitymedical.hint.com/signup