Direct Primary Care FAQs
What is Direct Primary Care?
Direct primary care is a healthcare model that connects the doctor and patient more closely by removing payment through insurance companies. Instead, the patient pays a monthly fee, or retainer, for services. Direct primary care practices take on fewer patients than traditional doctor’s in order to provide more personalized attention.
What is different about The Golden Stethoscope?
We started this practice to do medicine differently, by starting with the patient.
We had a few simple goals when starting our direct primary care practice:
- Change the focus of the practice to the patient
- See and communicate with patients according to their schedules
- Offer a variety of convenient ways to communication with the doctor, including in-office visits, phone calls, text messages, email or virtual visits
- Offer great value for your money
We are also open to and excited about change. We want our DPC clinic to be the best medical experience you have ever had. If anything could be done in a better way for a patient, we’d love to hear about it.
Does your direct primary care practice accept insurance?
We don’t accept any insurance including commercial, Medicare or Medicaid. In order to keep our costs lower and, thus, monthly fees as low as possible, we don’t accept insurance.
How many patients do you see?
Our practice is limited to 700 patients per doctor. This number is very low compared to traditional doctor’s offices, which accept over 2,000 patients per doctor. Having thousands of patients makes individualized care like we provide nearly impossible. Once our doctor reaches the patient limit, no new patients are accepted for that provider unless another patient leaves the practice. We keep this low number to make sure we can provide top quality care to you.
I only see a doctor once a year for my physical. Will this be worth it for me?
Even if you are very healthy, you may find yourself using your direct primary care doctor for things you didn’t previously imagine. You may find that you no longer make a long list to present to your doctor annually. You can just call, email, or text when you have questions about supplements or trying a new diet.
Additionally, our goal will generally be to have you on as few medications as possible, so there may be ways to clean up your medication regimen and improve your overall health. We would far prefer to see your general health improve by helping to improve your lifestyle rather than adding a medication to decrease your blood pressure.
It is impossible to guess when an unexpected accident or illness will take you to the Emergency Room. Many of these issues can be handled in the office instead avoiding crowded, expensive ER or Urgent Care visits.
Members will also receive discounts on other health related services as they become available.
What does direct primary care cost?
The cost of direct primary care can vary depending on your age and provider. At The Golden Stethoscope, our goal is to keep your healthcare costs as affordable as possible. Learn more details about our direct primary care fees.
What does my direct primary care membership cover?
In addition to nearly 24/7 communication access, our patients can schedule up to 20 doctor’s appointments a year to address their health. You can find out more about the services included in your monthly membership on our Direct Primary Care Services page.
What if I need to cancel my membership?
When you join the practice, you sign a contract for a year membership. If you leave before the end of those 12 months, you will be responsible to pay the remainder of your 12-month membership or the or the difference between services already rendered and payments already made.
If you need to cancel your membership, you will not be eligible to join the practice again for a year. If the practice is full when you desire to join again, you will be placed on a waiting list in the same manner as a new patient.
What is your policy on narcotic pain mediation?
We prescribe narcotic pain medication (opiates) only for conditions that the FDA has approved. This means that we generally don’t use these medications to treat chronic pain unless it is due to cancer. We do not prescribe these medications even if another doctor has prescribed them for you before. We feel that these issues are best handled by pain specialists.
We believe there are many other ways to treat chronic pain and are happy to work with you to figure out the best options for you.
Can my direct primary care doctor serve as my women’s health provider (OB/Gyn)?
We are happy to see you for your women’s health related needs. We are able to perform pap smears and provide other exams and testing. There are some things for which we do refer patients to see an OB/Gyn doctor like pregnancy and abnormal pap smears.
Can my direct primary care doctor replace other specialists I currently see? (for example, an ear nose throat doctor or an allergist)
Dr. Amber is Board certified in Internal Medicine. She has a great knowledge of different areas that specialists often cover. Because our appointments are longer than a standard doctor’s office, she is able to spend more time working with you and sometimes avoid referrals to specialists. When a patient prefers to see a specialist for an issue, Dr. Amber is always happy to refer them. However, if a patient wants to work through the steps of solving an issue here with us, they are generally better prepared to see the specialist when and if they need to be seen.