DPC Q&A with Kent Zeiser of Exactus Physicians
Kathryn Nielson · Dec 18, 2018
Dr. Kent Zieser, an internal medicine doctor, runs Exactus Physicians, a DPC clinic he opened in 2016 In McKinney, Texas. He wanted to offer his patients more value.
“The value to the patient has been and is continuing to decline,” Dr. Zieser says. “The value to me as the doctor was also severely affected. Having to see 20 to 30 or more patients a day plus decreasing reimbursements from insurance was leading to burnout, which many doctors are feeling today. So the only way out for me was to switch to a DPC model that has fixed a lot of those issues for me.”
Dr. Zieser earned his D.O. degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and graduated summa cum laude. He was also a member of the academic honor society Psi Sigma Alpha. He completed his residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida.
He adopted the DPC model in order “to care for his patients without worrying about meeting meaningless requirements set by insurance companies and Medicare.” He and his wife, Shalomi, have one son, Ronan, 6.
Here are Dr. Zeiser's answers to some questions we asked him recently.
How is your practice different than a typical one?
My practice, Exactus Physicians, is a Direct Primary Care modeled practice that practices much the same way as a regular doctor’s office with one major difference. I don’t bill any health insurance company. Instead, the patient pays the practice directly using a low-cost monthly membership typically between $50 to $100 a month per person, and with that they get direct access to me as their doctor. Typically, patients get appointments the same or next day with no waiting in the waiting room. They also get extended time with me during their appointment with times ranging from as little as 30 minutes to as long as a couple hours or more. They can also reach me by my cell phone via calls, texting, emails, or video chat. Lastly, they can get deep discounts on labs, pathology, radiology, and women’s health services by as much as 90 percent off the typical rates.
What are some of the advantages to your practice that patients most appreciate?
They love the ability to reach me personally by cell phone and being able to get much quicker and personal care. The second best thing is that they love getting testing done so relatively cheap. I can get MRIs for less than $400 and all your routine annual labs for less than $30.
What are some of the problems with regulation of health care that you are able to avoid by having a DPC?
I am not beholden to the typical insurance regulations like those who are contracted with an insurance company. Since I do not contract with health insurance providers, I can work directly with the patient which gives me the flexibility to charge a rate that is cheaper than what it would cost for a regular visit using insurance. Also, since I do not bill insurance, I don’t have to spend a lot of money on billing services to try to fairly get paid for the work I do. That frees me and my staff up time-wise and financially which means more time devoted to the patient.
Furthermore, since I love to work with health care sharing ministries like Samaritan Ministries, my patients are able to work outside the regulatory iron curtain insurance has become. They can negotiate with hospitals, specialists, and most anyone else to get the best price for their care when they need something above and beyond the regular scope of a primary care doctor like myself.
Since I love to work with health care sharing ministries like Samaritan Ministries, my patients are able to work outside the regulatory iron curtain insurance has become.
Dr. Kent Zieser
Can you elaborate on your slogan, “Comprehensive Primary Care Without All the Red Tape”?
I feel like because so many doctors still living in the regular insurance-based world are being crushed by the overload of trying to take care of too many patients and fighting insurance companies, that now I commonly see articles about doctors in the U.S. fighting burnout and depression/suicide or even quitting the practice of medicine altogether. One defense mechanism they do is many PCPs refer their patients to specialists to try to unburden themselves from the onslaught of paperwork and excessive patient volume.
Another side effect is that their schedules are nightmares to handle as they try to squeeze everybody in. It is so common for practices to double- or even triple-book their patients and try to squeeze 20-30 or more patients into a day. I don’t have any of that concern. No insurance, thus no red tape. I can slim down my practice size so a busy day for me is more than eight patients a day now, and I don’t need to refer patients unless it is really necessary for the improvement in the care of that patient. Simple.
Why did you join Samaritan Ministries?
When I left a previous practice, I left my benefits behind as well and was trying to figure out what to do to cover any unexpected health costs. Insurance was simply not an option since premiums were way too expensive plus having to overcome some ridiculous deductible that cost several more thousand dollars a year. So, I looked into Samaritan and some of the other programs and was fortunate to talk to a Samaritan member at that time who told me what a great experience it’s been using Samaritan. I was sold right then and there and signed up not long after. It’s wonderful being a part of something that is a real solution to my family’s health care needs, and that it is Christian-based is a big plus.
What has your experience been with having a need?
Experience has been great. I’ve had several people on the outside of the sharing experience say that insurance is easier since they don’t have to “haggle” with hospitals and doctors for the cost of their care. Why wouldn’t you want to try to get the best price for your care? It’s like saying I like paying someone else to go out and pay for my goods and services and paying more than twice as much as I would have paid if I would have done it myself.
The best part is with Samaritan, you’re not by yourself and you have this great program that is there to help walk you through the process and make sure your needs are met. I have been so thrilled with Samaritan that I could not imagine putting the financial care of my family back into the insurance-based world ever again.