What is Direct Primary Care ?
My Way Medical DPC is a new practice of Dr. Sam Urick.
My Way Medical is returning medicine to what it was meant to be - a unique bond between a doctor and patient. Dr. Urick's patients will be able to receive comprehensive health care for less than one would spend monthly on a cell phone bill.
As Benjamin Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
Its difficult to develop an individualized preventive health care plan if the appointment time with your primary care physician is limited. Too often Primary Care Physicians carry patient panels of 2000-3000 patients! From experience, Dr. Urick knows that the more patients under a physician’s care, the less access you have to that PCP. In the health insurance system at large, physicians are referred to as "providers", a term which denigrates the doctor-patient relationship and which depersonalizes medicine. With larger patient panels and paperwork required by insurance companies and government agencies, "providers" are expected to work for the system and not the patient. Its time we fixed that.
Smaller Patient Panels + less mandated paperwork/computer documentation = more time to spend with patients
If you are sick you want to be able to access your PCP, but too often there are no appointments available. You end up being told "We can squeeze you in", or you are referred to an urgent care or an Emergency Room. You incur extra cost that too often may be unnecessary. You cannot see the person who knows your medical history. It can be very frustrating (doctors are frustrated too!) and Dr. Urick is doing something about it.
HEALTH INSURANCE is NOT HEALTHCARE
Direct Primary Care is healthcare! The DPC monthly membership fee that will be charged allows for patients to have unlimited access to Dr. Urick as their PCP.
- No co-pay, co-insurance or deductible with your DPC doctor because your insurance is not billed
- Monthly membership fee encompasses preventive care, sick visits, chronic care management, phone and secure text message access to your PCP 365 days of the year (and much more!)
- No rushed 7-10 minute sick visits. Visits typically range from 30-60 minutes.
- The doctor is not staring at a computer screen to perform insurance mandated documentation - they are devoting their attention toward you!
- No insurance ? No problem.
- This is not concierge medicine - you are not charged exorbitant membership fees and then having your insurance billed by Dr. Urick. In fact, at My Way Medical, no one will ask to see your insurance card.
Why will you benefit from more access to Dr. Urick as your DPC physician ?
- No more than 500-600 patients per physician (as opposed to the normal 2500-3000 in fee-for-service medicine).
- Limited practice size = better access to same day or next day appointments
- When you are sick, save the ER copay/Urgent Care copay!
- In office diagnostic tests like Basic rapid strep tests, rapid flu test, urine dip stick for detecting infection, blood glucose checks, EKGs and nebulizer breathing treatments are provided at no extra cost.
- Ability to securely text your DPC PCP to see if you need an office visit for your medical issue.
- Video chat with your DPC doctor because let’s face it you are busy too and might be away on vacation, unable to leave work, or it’s just more convenient for you!
So I can save money in other ways?
DPC practices contract with laboratories and imaging centers to receive the lowest possible price for blood work, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and more. The prices are not marked up and in some instances may be less expensive than using your health insurance. DPC practices can also dispense certain prescription medications, at wholesale cost, without trying to make a profit. At present, Dr. Urick is working on contracts with various labs to secure the most affordable prices for patients.
Many people with high deductible health insurance plans are reluctant to see their PCP because of high co-pays - not an issue with DPC! Although one does not need to carry health insurance to be a member of a DPC practice, it is highly recommended in cases of medical emergency, surgery, or for hospitalization. Insurance can be used to pay for blood work, imaging tests and prescriptions if the patient chooses.
Will you still need to be referred out to specialists, like Cardiologists, Dermatologists, GI Doctors?
Yes, but if it can be managed by your Dr. Urick it will be! For example, when PCP practices are too busy, they often refer out diabetic patients to an Endocrinologist. If you are part of a smaller, tight-knit practice, there will be more time for your DPC doctor to manage your diabetes.
What conditions will you not be handling in your new practice ?
I do believe that patients with chronic pain require the proper evaluation and treatment. As part of the practice, I will not be prescribing narcotic/opioid pain medication. I will be referring patients to the appropriate pain specialists - Pain Management or Orthopedics.
ADHD is also a condition that affects many patients but I will not be prescribing any stimulant medications. ADHD is another condition that will need to be managed by a specialist.
Due to risk of dependency on certain medications, I would be doing a disservice to my patients by not having them monitored by experts in those fields.
What happens if I am hospitalized ?
Every possible arrangement will be made with Hospitalists - hospital based physicians who are increasingly taking care of inpatients. As time moves on with changes in healthcare, PCPs will be seen less and less in hospitals. Hospitalists are the future of inpatient care. Communicating with Hospitalists at time of your discharge would be of paramount importance to me.
I am proudly on staff at St. Clair Hospital in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and believe that they offer many great services to patients from all backgrounds.
I do plan to apply for staff privileges at Heritage Valley as well.
Can I still join if I have health insurance ?
All are welcome to join - insured or uninsured. Unlike traditional medical fee for service practices, I will not be billing your insurance company or receiving payment from them. I contract directly with my patients to be paid for the care that I provide. My monthly retainer fee will cover not only the face to face care that I provide but also access to secure texting with me, communication via video chat and email, in office testing (rapid strep, rapid flu test, urine dip for UTI, steroid joint injection, simple laceration repair, breathing treatments, etc).
If you have Medicare you would just sign a waiver not to submit any office expenses for reimbursement to Medicare. With DPC, the PCP "opts-out" of Medicare and as a result are not restricted by overburdensome requirements and documentation regulations.
What will your monthly membership fee/retainer be ?
I am still working with other physicians across the country who are already successfully practicing direct primary care. My fee schedule will be set in the coming weeks and posted to my website.
For prospective patients, there will be more information to come and then patient registration contracts to be completed. I anticipate this to be available at the end of March 2018.
But I only see my PCP once or twice a year ? Is this right for me ?
DPC may not be for everyone. Many people belong to wholesale food warehouses and shop there once a week or maybe twice a year. Many subscribe to AAA because they never know when they might need it. Others pay for monthly video streaming services and use it as little or as much as they need.
In other industries, people contract with service providers on a daily basis. Here are some averages:
1 Haircut and color = $75-$100
1 Ticket to a Pittsburgh Steelers game = $85-$150 /game
Basic cell phone bill with smart phone = $80-$100/month
Basic Cable and internet home service = $130-$220/month
If one is willing to pay for these services, why not contract directly for the one thing that we all need the most - our health. Good health.
Direct Primary Care is already working around the country and empowering doctors and patients to be the decision makers. Visit this link to learn more about such practices around the country: www.dpcfrontier.com