March 16th Updates

March 16th Updates: Caronavirus & Practice Transition

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DPC — Primary Care, Simplified

In light of our upcoming practice changes, I wanted to give everyone a more in-depth overview of our options.  First off, I’d like to talk about Direct Primary Care (DPC).  We have offered a DPC option to patients for the past 5 years, which has really helped to serve our many of our uninsured patients or patients with high-deductible plans well.  Come May, this option will be enhanced even further to provide increased access and more convenient ways to receive the care you need. Full disclosure — I am extremely passionate when it comes to direct primary care and truly believe this to be the best solution for high-quality, truly patient-centered care.

To begin, I think it is important to define what direct primary care means.  DPC is an innovative model of primary care that is designed to bring our focus and attention back to you and the doctor-patient relationship while reducing the barriers, delays, and headaches that we commonly experience when dealing with insurance.  Instead of billing insurance, we contract directly with you, the patient, with a monthly membership fee (similar to a gym membership) that helps to cover most, if not all, of what you need for your primary care.  Any extra labs, procedures, imaging, or other testing will have clear, up-front, affordable pricing.  No more questions about in-network vs out-of-network or what insurance will or will not cover.  No more surprise medical bills.  What this looks like for you is hassle-free, worry-free health care that is more personal, more meaningful, and specifically tailored to your needs.

Regardless of which plan you choose (Membership or DPC), all of our patients will experience online appointment scheduling including same-day or next-day visits, longer and more comfortable in-office appointments, and increased connection to our clinic through a secure messaging app. But it is this last aspect that really shines in the DPC model. As long as we are billing your insurance, most of your medical care still needs to be done in face-to-face visits.  With insurance out of the picture for a DPC patient, many (if not most!) of your visits can be completed virtually either by phone or video chat. Of course, we will let you know if you need to come into the office for a more comprehensive assessment but will always work hard to take care of you no matter where you are — at home, at work, or on vacation!

 Lastly, I want to talk about clear pricing — my favorite aspect of DPC. In DPC, your monthly fee is a fixed price and will not change based on your use, whether that means you see me once per year or 100x per year.  By setting it up this way, we are trying to reduce financial barriers to care and encourage you to seek out as much medical assistance and advice as you need.  We want you to use your clinician often to answer medical questions, to serve as your accountability partner when establishing healthy habits, and to be a true advocate in your health journey.

The idea of price transparency also extends to labs, medications, procedures, and imaging. When you take insurance out the billing process, we can provide these services at a much-reduced price (up to 80% cheaper!), potentially saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.  We will have a list of lab, procedure, and medication pricing posted on our website and in the office that is just for our DPC members ( coming out soon!). If you are on expensive medications or need expensive imaging, we can help you find the cheapest cash-pay price in town.  But if that is still too expensive, you can always choose to apply something to your insurance.  You would just give your insurance information to the pharmacy, lab office,  imaging center, or specialist office for proper billing. 

With DPC, you are given the power to better manage both your healthcare and how you spend your money. We believe that true health includes attention to physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing and promise to continue working hard to keep primary care affordable, accessible, and patient-focused.  If you have more questions about DPC or our practice changes, check out our website or send us an email.

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Vickery Family Medicine
15 Yorkshire Street, #202
Asheville, NC 28803


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