EUGENE, Ore. – Across the country, Direct Primary Care is growing in popularity. It’s an alternative means of care to the normal health insurance model for doctor visits. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, Oregon is one of 18 states where Direct Primary Care is legal. Other states are looking to join in the trend. Direct Primary Care means there’s no third-party insurance when it comes to doctors’ appointments. Patients can still use their health insurance for other things. But for the visits, they just pay a flat, monthly rate.
“If you can afford a cell phone, you can afford this kind of healthcare,” said Dr. Priya Carden from Internal Medicine and Maple Tree Healing. There are three direct care practices in Eugene. Carden said it means she has more time for her patients and they get more for their money. “It’s all about the doctor and the patient and bringing it back down to that relationship,” Carden said. Carden’s patients will tell you her office is much different from the traditional experience. “It’s like sitting down over a cup of coffee with your girlfriend who happens to be a wonderful physician,” said Carl Falsgraf, a patient.
Namely, it’s personal. “It’s somebody we can talk to, communicate with, email and get a response the very same day, sometimes within the hour,” said Stana Knez, a patient. And it’s cheap. “We can see Dr. Priya for three months for what one office visit used to cost. It’s a no brainer,” Knez said. Carden said that’s thanks to her business model – Direct Primary Care. “There’s no third party pair. There’s no health insurance,” Carden said. “The patients pay a monthly fee that varies anywhere from $50 to $100 a month usually.” No co-pays. “Given the health insurance we had at the time, an office visit was $225 bucks a pop,” said Knez. No deductibles. “Vicki has a number of conditions that are hard to manage and I have really, really crappy insurance, so the first $7,500 is out of pocket,” Falsgraf said.
It’s a practice that’s been legal in Oregon for two years and patients say it’s life-changing. “I think of probably the tens, hundreds of thousands of dollars she is going to save me in the future because of this approach,” Vicki Falsgraf, a patient, said. Though, it can be unconventional at times. “Some of my patients actually even trade,” Carden said. “They’ll pay with meat or with vegetables for their monthly fee.” Carden said it makes sense in light of a national healthcare crisis. “This is one solution that’s actually a really good solution of getting really good care at an affordable price,” she said. She said it’s the future. Direct care providers also have access to wholesale prices when it comes to lab work or medicine. So their patients can go through them instead of their insurance.
Carden said some of her patients even pay her extra to help lower the cost for other patients. Read full article: www.nbc16.com Learn more about direct primary care and what it can do for you.