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Part 2 in a series

As I mentioned in the first part of this series, my venture into direct primary care (DPC) has cost me more than I ever anticipated, but I have been rewarded many times over in terms of satisfaction, contentment and relationships.

The direct primary care model of healthcare delivery is based on the concept of a primary care provider being reimbursed directly by his/her patients for the health care services he/she provides. It seems obvious that an individual should pay for their own healthcare with their own money, just like they pay for most every other service or product they use, but that’s not how things work for the most part in our country when it comes to paying a doctor.

Which brings me to my number two reason for loving direct primary care…

VALUE: Ta da!

Because of the lower overhead associated with direct primary care, physicians can offer the same great (usually, better) services and care to their patients, but with much less expense. The reason for the reduced expenses is multifactorial, but not complicated.

For instance, most direct primary care physicians are able to practice with only one employee per provider. Typical family physician practices with which I have been associated in the past required at least two to four employees per provider. DPC physicians do not have to deal with all the regulatory requirements of third party payers (insurers, Medicaid, Medicare), claim rejections, prior authorizations, account receivables or insurance verifications in order to be compensated.

DPC physicians can work out of much smaller facilities and rarely require more than one exam room per provider. This reduces the facility costs in terms of rent, utilities and cleaning.

DPC physicians can choose their own electronic health record (EHR) and have a natural predisposition to choose ones that provide significantly more value and efficiencies than EHRs purchased for them by hospitals, community health centers or other large physician multispecialty groups. Superb EHRs designed with membership management and billing features included can be had for <$500/mo/provider.

Better utilization of new and emerging technologies allow DPC providers to offer better value to their patients in terms of service as well. Near immediate relaying of results, texting, emailing and secure portal messaging are services for which almost all patients long, yet are almost unheard of in traditional practices. On site medication dispensing and rock-bottom laboratory/diagnostic pricing are common features in many DPC practices.

I am convinced that if you want the best value for your primary healthcare dollar, you will need to head to the nearest DPC provider in your region.

It’s all about VALUE

So why do you love DPC?

AuthorBruce Jung
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My venture into direct primary care (DPC) has cost me more than I ever anticipated, but I have been rewarded many times over in terms of satisfaction, contentment and relationships.

Direct primary care encompasses the idea of a primary care provider being reimbursed directly by his/her patients for the health care services he/she provides. It doesn't take long to "Google" the phrase "direct primary care" or "DPC" and find plenty of articles listing the benefits of this type of arrangement between a person and their physician. And I encourage you to do so, especially if search bars are your sort of thing.

But if you're quickly flipping through the latest posts in this blog and want the quick scoop in a short snippet today, then I'll give you this doctor's brief take on the primary advantage of DPC. 

TIME: That's it! My number one reason for loving direct primary care is time.

Like most DPC physicians I can determine the amount of time that I would like to have with my patients. One hour visits for a new patient? Sure! 
Uninterrupted procedures? Of course!
Extra time during an office visit to research the latest diagnosis or treatment recommendations in the medical literature? Absolutely! 
Margin to look up the best prices on-line before writing a prescription? No problem! 
Time to develop relationships of trust with patients? Yep! 
What about all the time required for pre-authorizations, claims processing and adjusting, or billing and collecting? Not needed!

Because I have more time to listen, advise, research and price shop, I am convinced that I can provide better care and benefits to our members than I ever did before in the "traditional" practice of medicine. And I have examples to prove it. I do not have to make snap-judgment diagnoses so that I can get to the next waiting patient. I am not monetarily incentivized to deal with just one problem per visit as in the past. I am not wasting my medical assistant's time or prolonging my patients' symptoms while trying to obtain insurance pre-authorizations. I can even find time to write blog articles to encourage people to consider DPC..


Why do you like having a DPC physician?

AuthorBruce Jung
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Finding a replacement "vintage" TV for our lobby reminded me that colder months are approaching and that kids will spend less time outdoors exercising and more time indoors watching TV.

May I humbly make a few suggestions based on scientific research and common sense? King Solomon (not my grandson, although he does share the same name) wisely wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "There is a time for everything."

In the April 2004 edition of Pediatrics journal, a study demonstrated that for each extra hour per day of TV time a child aged 1-3 years old watches, the risk of concentration difficulties increases by 10 percent at age 7, compared with that of a child who views no TV at all. Now this study had its critics, and with good reason, as it did not delineate which type of TV programming nor did it try to correlate concentration with ADD or ADHD. And it did not "prove" that ADD or ADHD is "caused" by TV or other screen viewing. But it does give us pause to consider how we as parents will incorporate TV and screen viewing time in general into the lives of our children.

Here are some practical guidelines (not absolute rules) The Doc Shoppe suggests...
1. Limit screen viewing time to 1-2 hours per day (not counting school related work).
2. Invest in good books, board games, toys and craft supplies for your kids.
3. Don't use TV as your constant nannie. Young children's brains develop better with human interaction than with TV viewing.
4. Use common sense in choosing what to watch with your kids. Slower moving programs that tell a story over at least 5-10 minutes are preferable according to Dr. Perrin, a pediatrician at Harvard Medical School.
5. Make eating supper in front of the TV an exception rather than the rule.

What guidelines do you other parents utilize for your children in regards to TV viewing?



AuthorBruce Jung

You’ve heard the expressions “Ignorance is bliss!” or “What you don’t know can’t hurt you!”


Is a bumper sticker mentality the best way to live your life?

Sure, it may seem that “ignorance is bliss” when certain events are perceived from certain perspectives for a certain period of time, but usually ignorance just delays the inevitable and worsens the consequences.

This is especially true when it comes to health maintenance and disease prevention.

If you are 50 years old and over, it becomes all the more important to find out the truth about your health status. Routine screening tests are available, affordable and appropriate. At The Doc Shoppe we have negotiated discounted rates on recommended screening tests, vaccines and procedures. Undergoing health screening allows you to know your present health condition, be informed about disease risks you could modify and also gives you the opportunity to make more fully informed decisions.

What you do know could actually end up saving your life!

Call The Doc Shoppe to schedule your annual screening (preventative) health visit.

AuthorBruce Jung

You’ve probably considered membership to Netflix or Hulu Plus at some point, but have you ever considered membership to a doctor’s office? Probably not, but membership medicine is a growing trend in medical care. While it may not sound as fun as watching your favorite TV show to your heart’s content, a doctor’s office membership would probably be better for your heart in the long run. Let me explain why.

Membership medicine refers to the concept of purchasing a fixed set of services over a specified time period. At The Doc Shoppe people can pay a monthly fee that includes all the services that we provide. Almost every visit, lab test and procedure we can do at The Doc Shoppe is included in the fixed monthly fee. (There are a few exceptions so see our Price List page.) This is quite similar to being a member of Netflix, a YMCA or AAA. Even though all their services are available to you,  you may or may not choose to use them in a particular month, but you have the ability to access them as needed.

At The Doc Shoppe we bill members on the 5th of the month following their month of membership.* One of the advantages of a membership payment plan is that you have an easily budgeted option for your primary health care needs for the year. Additionally, it is inexpensive (less than your monthly cell phone charges in most cases). It includes so many in-office services. It allows you to benefit from reduced prices for services outside the office that we negotiate for you. There are no co-pays or deductibles at The Doc Shoppe. You don't have to delay contacting or seeing your doctor because of cost. In most cases you can be seen in 24-48 hours of requesting an appointment. You have access to your doctor through phone, texting and email. After hours and home visit options are available as well (for a small additional charge).

Many people throughout the country are now opting for this type of arrangement with their family physician. We think it provides you with better quality of care at a lower price. Let us know what you think.

*We do not want people to consider us insurance (we are not) that they pay for ahead of time. Being a member of The Doc Shoppe does not exempt anyone from not having insurance under the ACA. So, we still strongly urge our members to have health insurance of some kind (most find high deductible health insurance plans, or HDIP, to work well with a Doc Shoppe membership) or else consider a Christian healthcare cost sharing arrangement. Both of these satisfy the ACA requirements.

AuthorBruce Jung

DPC stands for "Direct Primary Care." This means that a person pays directly for the primary health care he/she receives at their family doctor's office. The major benefits of this type of payment arrangement with a physician include not only reduced cost for services, but more time available with the physician at encounters, increased convenience of services and a more personal relationship with the doctor.

Because a DPC physician does not need to hire a bunch of extra personnel to file insurance claims, match diagnosis codes with procedure codes, deal with rejected claims, bill patients, collect payments due the office, on top of dealing with private and public health insurance regulations, the physician has a lot less financial overhead, stress and subsequent need to see an endless backlog of patients just to make ends meet.

The advantages to patients are multiple. Today we will discuss the first one.

The cost of services at a DPC physician's office are typically way lower than they would be by using a third party payer. In the "old" system, a patient would have to pay a "co-pay" at the time of the doctor's visit. This is usually around 10-20% of the eventual bill. Then the patient would receive a statement in the mail (called an "EOB" or "Explanation of Benefits") which is supposed to "explain" what the insurance will and will not pay based on the contract the patient has with the health insurance company. Most insurance plans have a "deductible" which is the amount the patient has to pay of all "covered" medical services before the insurance will pitch in and pay anything. Nowadays it is not uncommon to see deductibles range from $1,000 for an individual up to $12,000 for a family. Basically this means that the average person will eventually receive a bill from the doctor's office showing that he/she is liable for the entire cost of the office visit (until the deductible has been met for the year). Because a DPC doctor does not have to go through with all these insane steps, or pay someone else to do them, a DPC doctor's prices are generally quite a bit cheaper. Most DPC physicians actually post their list of prices right up front in the waiting room and on their websites just like we do. There are no hidden "surprise" charges which many patients discover later on when they receive their "EOB."

Some DPC physicians (like The Doc Shoppe) offer a "membership" model of primary health care payment. This is not insurance, but a payment plan that offers a package of available primary care services at a fixed regular (usually monthly) price. More on that next time...

AuthorBruce Jung

I hope I didn't scare you with that title! Of course we are not the ones raising rates. It is your health insurance company...again.

If you take the time to read the brief AP article my wife kindly cut out of yesterday's Time Tribune, (which can also be accessed here... you will notice that all but one health insurance company in KY are requesting that the Insurance Commissioner's Office allow them to raise their premium prices in 2016. I hope this news has not caught any of our Shoppe Talk readers unawares.

There are a multitude of reasons, a multitude of people and a multitude of organizations that have varying degrees of responsibility for this situation. I could elaborate at length on my opinion as to who and what is to blame and why, (and maybe some slow clinic day I will) but for now let me point out a silver lining to this cloudy news.

Have you heard of The Doc Shoppe?

As a Direct Primary Care facility, The Doc Shoppe offers low-cost, understandable and transparent pricing of our services. We do not contract with any insurance companies or government agencies to collect money for what we do. This saves us a ton (namely 3 extra people) of money, time and aggravation. And then we get to pass on the majority of those savings (and time) to you, our members. Plus we negotiate on your behalf to get cut-rate prices for ancillary services which saves you (and usually your insurance company, too) a ton more money.

So while health insurance premium rates rise across this great Commonwealth of KY, you can be glad that you live in the Knox-Laurel-Whitley tri-county area and have access to fixed primary health care prices at The Doc Shoppe. (No one else in KY has this deal yet.) You have the luxury to get that high deductible, low premium, healthcare plan and combine it with a Doc Shoppe membership. For even better savings, check to see if you qualify for a Christian healthcare cost sharing ministry program and combine that with a Doc Shoppe membership.

Now go out there and enjoy this beautiful weekend weather! The temperature is rising, too!


AuthorBruce Jung