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What is Direct Primary Care?

Since I announced the addition of a Direct Primary Care program to the services offered through Trinity I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback and support.  I’m excited to see the first patients start signing up for the program even though it doesn’t start until January 1st, 2016.

Many people have asked me to provide a short summary of the program and it’s benefits for the average patient.  I could write a lot about why I like this model so much but will try to keep it brief.

The two biggest advantages of this program are the lower cost of providing care and the increased accessibility.  First, with the removal of insurance overhead this office can provide a full range of services at a very low price.  I can only do this by cancelling my contracts with insurance companies to allow a lower than allowable cost.  Most services are inexpensive enough to simply be included in the monthly membership price.  Others can be offered at exceptional discounts.  Second, having more time to counsel over the phone, communicate via email, and spend face to face with each patient allows for more personalized therapies.  I’ve long said that the most valuable thing I have to offer my patients is my focused attention on their concerns bringing to bear my understanding and expertise to their personal, individual situation.  I want to build an office that accentuates those opportunities.

Trinity Medical Associates of Hardin Valley as a Direct Primary Care office will offer the following benefits with membership:

  • Unlimited medically necessary visits in person, over the phone, or via email as appropriate to the situation
  • No per visit copay
  • Direct phone access to me and my office staff during the business day
  • Direct email access to me (mbmccoll@secure.trinitymedical.net)
  • Same and next business day appointment availability
  • 24/7 telephone coverage through Trinity Medical Associates on call physician services
  • Longer more focused visits.  The standard visit will be 30 mins in length with physicals lasting one hour.
  • Most in-office testing is included such as rapid strep test and rapid flu test
  • Most routine blood work is included such as Cholesterol testing, Kidney function, Liver function, Thyroid testing, Hgb A1c
  • Most in-office diagnostics are included such as EKG, Audiometry, and Spirometry
  • Yearly influenza vaccination

Membership is $30/month for children up to 22 years of age, $60/month for adults, and $90/month for those 65 years of age and older.  The family plan covers two married adults and all their children at $210/month.  The enrollment fee is waived with sign up prior to January 1st, 2016.  After that the enrollment fee covers the first month of membership with payment.

For those interested in aggressively pursuing better health we’ve added an increased membership level that covers VitalSigns Wellness center membership, VitalMeals enrollment (our email meal planning service), and monthly visits with Nutritional Counseling, Wellness Coaching, or Biblical counseling.  This is designed to give members all the tools necessary to make their health a success story.

I invite everyone with questions to contact me at mbmccoll@secure.trinitymedical.net or Mel Moss, the DPC office coordinator, at TMAHV@secure.trinitymedical.net.  If you already think this is something you’re interested in you can sign up at trinitymedical.hint.com/signup.

Below you’ll find a copy of our flyer.

mbm

TMAHV-MembershipBene_Menu.of.Services

Comments (4)

  1. Are the membership fees eligible to be submitted to insurance by the patient? Or can the individual office visits be submitted by the patient directly to an insurance carrier? If these fees are eligible to go toward a deductible, it could make sense for us.

    • Mrs. Harper,
      Thanks for your interest and your question. Unlike a concierge practice where the membership fee only pays for access to the clinic and a patient’s insurance gets billed as well, in a Direct Primary Care practice the membership fee pays for direct medical care. So, theoretically, these fees should be eligible for reimbursement through an insurance plan. However, insurance plans require a layer of bureaucracy using diagnostic and procedural codes that only add to the overhead of a practice by managing them. I don’t plan on trying to continue to manage the whims of insurances but rather want to focus my time and attention on my patients. Several states have legislated some favorable Direct Primary Care laws that make this process a lot easier. I am working to put Tennessee on that list and if that happens we can offer more options for patients to file their own claims. For completeness, I need to mention that Medicare makes it impossible for patients to file any claims of reimbursement for services rendered in a DPC program. Senate bill 1989 may change all that but unfortunately for now Medicare recipients can’t fully utilize the insurance plan they are required to buy. I hope this helps and thanks again.

      mbm

  2. Dr.McColl,
    Our family has been seeing you for years and will see you later this week. We are very interested in this program . However, we do have some concerns. If we were to cancel our insurance through my husband’s work what would we need for hospital visits / specialist visits? Would we be paying for those out of pocket? Also, if we canceled our insurance would we be responsible for paying Obama’s penalty fee of $1000 per person in each family for “inadequate” insurance ?

    • Great question, Mrs Johnson. The most common misconception about Direct Primary Care is that it replaces insurance or somehow we are recommending not having insurance. In fact what DPC advocates for is that insurance be used as it was intended- the accident, the unexpected, the catastrophe.

      Many people find that using insurance for the ordinary actually increases the cost of care. For instance, one visit for strep throat using insurance would cost you the same as 2.5months of membership for a child. During that 2.5 months we could have multiple visits, emails, and phone calls for all sorts of problems. DPC is about better access, long visits, and lower cost in healthcare delivery.

      I’m hosting a presentation and open forum this Saturday at the main office at 10am. I invite you to attend and hear the whole story and get all your questions answered.

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