I wanted to write a quick note as I’m getting everything together. I don’t have all the details, but should in the course of the next few weeks to one month. I will be opening my own Family Practice office in Portage, with a proposed start date of January 1st, 2022. It will be a form of care called Direct Primary Care. My office will not be associated with Aspirus at all; they will be two different businesses, so no one at Aspirus will be able to answer questions about it. As a disclaimer, I am not recommending anyone leave Aspirus nor am I soliciting any patients from the Aspirus healthcare system.
The practice I am building is a new, innovative approach to healthcare that challenges this whole concept of assembly line medicine and instead, really puts an emphasis back on the doctor-patient relationship. So what sets direct primary care practices apart is that we do not require or bill through insurance at all. The reason for that is insurance dictated healthcare comes with a lot of baggage — really opaque billing. That’s hard for families. People have high copays, surprise medical bills. There’s a lot of paperwork, administrative burden and costs associated with that…and long wait times, just for very short, rushed visits (I’m sure every patient has been through that). And a lot of that is really not at the hands of doctors or nurses, but really an insurance issue. So what direct primary care does is it tries to sort of remove that insurance middleman, to improve patient access and give people a more personal primary care experience, while also saving them a lot of money. Think $65 for an Xray paid immediately on the spot instead of $900, as I was charged the last time I got an Xray, and the bill didn’t come until 2 months later when I wasn’t expecting a bill like that. Will insurance pay for it, or won’t they? Was the diagnosis code correct? etc.
The way we work is that we use a monthly membership fee with completely transparent pricing. So a flat, affordable monthly membership fee covers pretty much everything I do at the office. Everything from routine physicals, preventive care, chronic care like diabetes, hypertension, sick visits, illness, injury, even things like procedures — all of that is included in that membership fee. What that means for patients is they have predictable healthcare costs that they can budget for just like a gym membership or Netflix or anything that’s a membership. They’re not getting those surprise bills and it also is giving them this access. I will also have access to steeply discounted medications, imaging, preventive care studies. I will limit my practice to 500 people, which allows me to let patients call me or text me or email me and they know me and I know them. And then from my perspective, it means I can see fewer patients. I can sit with them longer, and be a little bit more intentional in my visits and spend my time listening and looking them in the eyes instead of checking boxes and running room to room. It’s really something that benefits both doctors and patients.
I wanted to get this out there because I have resigned from Aspirus, and wanted to make sure I’m communicating with my community about what’s going on. Again, I’m busy tying up some loose ends but will have details soon.