CostCare Direct is up and running!
The first month has been very busy and exciting for us. We truly believe this is the way forward for primary care and cost savings in health. Our emphasis on disease prevention and early disease detection is critical in keeping the costs of healthcare down. Maybe even more critical is providing the access a person truly needs, when they need it. CostCare has always attempted to maintain lengthier visits for our patients to know them better and discuss ways to keep them healthy. With our direct primary care we will be taking that even further. No more calling the front desk and being told you need to go to the urgent care or schedule 2 weeks down the road. As frustrating as those words are for our patients, it is frustrating for the providers as well. We want to take care of our patients when they need us. We know your health needs the best because we know you the best. With DPC, our patients now get access to us via email, text, phone, or voice call. You bypass the front desk and text us directly. We will let you know if the symptoms you are having require a visit today or if we can do a watch and wait approach. Think you need an ER visit that on average will cost about $2400? Call your provider and discuss your symptoms before making that expensive trip for a condition that might not require it. Tired of hearing you need to go to the ER because the clinic is closing? We have you covered then as well.
In a direct primary care model, the monthly fee covers your primary and urgent care needs under one roof and you do not have to pay for any office visits. The fee covers it…….as well as many other services. At CostCare Direct, we see the future of primary care being the most pivotal point in healthcare savings. We can provide care cheaper than any other specialty and, with direct access to your provider, we can do it 24/7. DPC practices have also shown to increase primary care utilization by over 50% (see the report from Qliance here). Primary care utilizations are by far the least expensive way to get health care and with better access comes more utilization. We also think the tipping point for global health care savings will come from small businesses and self-funded groups. Once the savings can be seen, it will be a win for patients, primary care providers, employers, and even government-based plans (another example is here).
Traditional Model vs. Direct Primary Care
We know DPC can work on a small, community-based scale, but can it work nationally? That is the biggest question. Do we have enough primary care providers to limit their patient panels to 600 or fewer? And what about rural states such as Montana? How can DPC services work in those settings? More students will go into primary care if they know they can make a decent wage and not get burned out caring for thousands of people with 5-10-minute visits. The system is set-up currently to reward specialty care, paying salaries that are often much higher than what a general practitioner can make. If students know they will come out of school with crippling debt and then get paid the lowest wage, why would they choose primary care? Wages need to be better and DPC can do that. Spending more time with patients needs to increase, and DPC takes care of that as well. Those two items are critical in attracting prospective family practice residents. Regarding the rural questions, our DPC allows providers to use telemedicine techniques to care for patients when feasible. That expansion of care delivery allows more access to rural individuals without them leaving their homes and traveling great distances. The big insurance companies (BCBS, Medicaid) are starting to push this as well, allowing providers to charge for the virtual visit. Our monthly membership gives you virtual visits for free. There is no extra charge!
Over the coming months we will share in-clinic stories of cost savings our new model is producing as well as national news in which DPC is saving others money. Educate yourself about this growing primary care movement and give us feedback with questions or suggestions on how to make our practice even better. You can also check out the DPC website at www.costcaredirect.org. Finally, we will continue to see all our family practice patients until the DPC practice fills up. So, please do not worry as we will continue to take care of your health care needs. Our urgent care services will remain unchanged and will see all patients as they did prior and continue to bill insurance. Our Boot Camp and wellness have not changed either. You can view all our services through www.costcare.com.
Josh Smith, FNP