More member doctors join growing Direct Primary Care trend
Kathryn Nielson · Sep 24, 2018
For resources to find DPC doctors near you, visit SamaritanMinistries.org/dpc
The Direct Primary Care model is gaining traction. Those fortunate enough to have DPC doctors in their area benefit in numerous ways.
In many cases, DPC practices with a flat monthly fee give patients:
- Direct, 24/7 access to their doctor—in person, if necessary, or by video, text, or phone call if not.
- House calls.
- Rock-bottom pricing on labs, procedures, and medications.
- Extended, personal, one-on-one time with a doctor.
Samaritan members Drs. Matthew McCarthy, Chad Savage, and Dana Mays all offer the DPC model in their respective communities. All are driven by the same goals: to be able to spend more time with their patients, offer services and medications at pennies on the dollar, and to work for the patient rather than an insurance company. And all three will say that the driving force behind their goals is rooted in a desire to serve Christ to the best of their abilities in the field He has chosen for them.
Dr. Matthew McCarthy: DPC saves time and money
Dr. Matthew McCarthy likens joining his DPC clinic in Blacksburg, Virginia, to that of paying for oil changes and tune-ups for your car. Rather than expecting expensive insurance to cover wellness visits and non-emergency treatment, Dr. McCarthy encourages the DPC model as both a cost-effective and time-saving option.
“Essentially, patients pay a monthly fee ($75 or less; we have pretty awesome family discounts!) and we take care of them: without copays, without hidden fees, and with transparency,” Dr. McCarthy says. “Membership in my practice is an agreement between you and me; communication and clarity are key.”
And, just like car insurance pays for catastrophic events, Dr. McCarthy recommends patients make provision for unforeseen situations. For the nonemergencies and the cost of less than a monthly phone bill, though, membership in his clinic takes care of nonemergency care when the patient needs it, not days later when there’s an opening.
Because he has kept his patient load light, Dr. McCarthy can give this personalized care he desires for his patients and do so in a timely manner.
“In wellness and therapeutic care alike, our great ally is time—large amounts of precious, irretrievable time given to you as you wish,” he says.
Dr. Chad Savage: Put patients at center of medical practice
Dr. Chad Savage opened Your Choice Direct Care, the first DPC clinic in Brighton, Michigan, after spending 12 years practicing medicine in the traditional model. His goal is to “return the patient to their rightful position as the center of what we do,” offering the best medical care possible without interference from government and insurance companies.
“Primary care medicine is the foundation of good health and wellness, and a close partnership with the individual who provides primary care improves the patients’ chances at wellness,” Dr. Savage says.
That means he gives his patients the time needed to get to know them and identify their specific needs as well as come up with a treatment plan that both he and the patient agree to. It also means direct access to him 24/7 and services and medications at much more affordable prices.
“The current health care system does not emphasize wellness, and certainly does not promote individual partnership/relationships between patients and the doctors who care for them,” says Dr. Savage.
When he’s not practicing medicine, Dr. Savage serves on the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce and as a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. He has also been a featured guest on news and radio programs and in political forums talking about the benefits of the DPC model.
Dr. Dana Mays: Respect patients’ time, treat them as individuals
When Dr. Dana Mays opened her central Louisiana practice in 2014, she started out just making house calls. When her patient panel became too big and she needed an office, YaphaMD was born.
Dr. Mays has two main objectives for YaphaMD: to respect her patients’ time and to make sure her patients don’t feel like cattle being herded through her clinic when they come to see her.
To that end, she offers multiple options for patients needing care. House calls, virtual video appointments, phone consultations, texting, and in-person appointments are available to members as part of the monthly membership fee. When visits are warranted in her Pineville office, they can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
“Patients know that they are not charged any additional fee for an office visit,” she says. “So if I ask them to come in, it’s because I really need to see them. Their time is just as important as anyone else’s time.”
Like most DPC doctors, Dr. Mays is wanting to restore the personal touch that has been lost over the years with insurance requirements and government mandates.
“Modern medicine in the USA has become depersonalized and unfriendly,” she says. “My desire is to make medicine personal again, recognizing that patients are people who have lives and responsibilities.”
All her goals—respecting patients’ time, keeping costs low, bringing back the personal touch—are rooted in the overall goal of living out the meaning behind the name of her clinic; “Yapha” is the Hebrew word meaning “to shine out or forth.”
“My simple yet lofty, overriding goal in life is to shine the love of God into all that I do,” she says. “I know I often fall short, yet this is my desire.”
Editor’s Note: This post is not an endorsement of a particular medical provider. Samaritan members are free to choose their own providers.
Members may be able to have some of their Direct Primary Care membership fees shared when they are receiving treatment for an illness or injury. Contact Member Services for more information and see the “Direct Primary Care” item in Section VIII.B of the Ministry Guidelines (SamaritanMinistries.org/guidelines).