Posts by Dr. Sharyl Truty:
For some direct care physicians, the idea of being available to patients around the clock may seem daunting. Who wants to be awakened every night in the middle of the night? However, most direct care physicians also find that they are able to develop a relationship with their patients that includes respect, boundaries, and established expectations.
The idea behind the direct care model is that patients pay a monthly fee and, in return, have access to basic primary care services during office hours as well as access to their physician after hours.
That is an enticement for both doctor and patient, that the patient interaction is not limited to a 10-15 minute visit during the day. The physician can spend more time during each visit, getting to know that patient more completely, and the patient feels free to ask follow-up questions and clarify instructions before and after the visit.
Direct care physicians have found that their patients do tend to respect their time and do not take advantage of their 24/7 availability, but it helps to establish expectations up front. Some direct care physicians will state that they are available by text or email – but not phone calls – between certain hours. They may also specify when it is appropriate to contact them after hours. For example, a question about scheduling or administrative issues must wait until office hours.
When the direct care physician offers 24/7 availability and the patient does call in the middle of the night, however, the physician should be responsive to continue that positive relationship. If the call went to voice mail, the physician should return the call. Likewise, a text or email should be answered promptly. Of course, all physicians direct their patients to call 911 when they have such emergency situations as a potential heart attack.
Balanced Physician Care Members appreciate the peace of mind of 24/7 care by our providers. Find out more at 904.930.4774
*Article written by Krystle Thornton | Elation Health - December 14, 2018
We’re excited to announce that our members can now join Sedera’s medical cost sharing community at extremely affordable monthly costs through Balanced Physician Care.
Sedera Health is an innovative non-insurance approach to healthcare that pairs perfectly with your Balanced Physician Care membership. Your primary care doctor is your central hub for care and Sedera is there when medical needs become extensive and expensive. By participating in a medical cost sharing community, members of Sedera are able to receive high-end quality care at anywhere from 30-50% in savings over traditional insurance. Sedera has plans starting at $99 per month for our members. Once you join Sedera, you'll receive one bundle rate each month (Balanced Physician Care Membership Monthly Rate + Sedera Monthly Contribution).
If you are interested in learning more, visit Sedera.com/DPC. To sign up, call the office at 904-930-4774 or schedule an appointment.
All the best in health,
Direct Primary Care (DPC) challenges the very definition of healthcare in America.
More and more research has shown that DPC improves the access to and the quality of care, as well as reduces healthcare cost, mostly by reducing unnecessary healthcare utilization. Unnecessary healthcare utilization is a scourge: It is responsible for upwards of 10 percent of our nation’s healthcare bill. Certainly, the tests and procedures we perform in medicine saves lives, but unnecessary tests and procedures expose patients to unjustified risks.
In February 2016, I founded Balanced Physician Care to bring this emerging model of Direct Care to Northeast Florida. Since then, my love for my profession has returned. Having enough time to spend with each patient has invigorated my passion for medicine. I’m finally practicing medicine the way I always envisioned I could and should. I mention this because the joy I now feel in the practice of medicine is in fact what makes the Direct Primary Care model not just viable but essential.
Critics have argued that widespread adoption of the DPC model will only exacerbate the primary care physician shortage because by necessity it will significantly reduce the number of patients each physician sees. In the short run, this might indeed prove true. But unless a workable solution is found to reverse primary care physician dissatisfaction, a critical shortage is already inevitable. According to a survey conducted by the Urban Institute in 2012, 30 percent of primary care physicians between the ages of 35 to 49 and 53 percent of primary care physicians over the age of 50 want to quit medicine altogether.
Primary care physician patient panel sizes haven’t risen to their current levels of 2,500 to 4,000 patients because primary care physicians believe that these sizes are optimal for patient care. They’ve risen to these levels because insurance reimbursement for primary care hasn’t kept pace with the expense of running a practice, and primary care physicians have been forced to increase the number of patients they see to survive financially. This has resulted not only in poorer access to care, poorer quality of care and increased healthcare costs, but also in dramatically increased primary care physician dissatisfaction. What’s required is a new model that attracts physicians into primary care.
Personalized, quality healthcare is not possible when physicians are handing patient panels of over 4,000 or more in size. No matter how many wellness screenings are being performed. Direct Primary Care has been proven to bring quality, personalized medicine back. According to an article in the British Medical Journal in October 2013, patients of DPC practices enjoy 65 percent less ER visits, 35 percent less hospitalizations and 82 percent less urgent care visits.
Primary care — and with it, all of healthcare — is in crisis. Access to personalized care is limited, the quality of care is poor (despite spending more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world), the life expectancy of U.S. citizens ranks only 26th out of the 36 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and costs are spiraling out of control. Though many view the new model of Direct Primary Care with skepticism, derision and even fear, new models that ultimately prove successful are often initially greeted that way. But if we can challenge our fear, personally changing to a direct primary care model might just prove in the big picture to be the single most effective solution for the most significant problems facing American healthcare today and even more importantly, ensuring the health of the ones you love.
Optimize Your Health, Simplify Your Life,
Dr Sharyl Truty MD
Dr. Sharyl Truty is the physician-owner of a Direct Primary Care practice called Balanced Physician Care located in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. She has been in practice as both a board-certified Family Medicine and a board-certified Sports Medicine physician for over 15 years. She has completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine from the University of Arizona with Dr. Andrew Weil. She has practiced Acupuncture for over 12 years after having trained in China and completed the UCLA physician acupuncture certification. Dr.Truty is committed to finding the best solutions to help you live the best-balanced life possible.
Here are 7 reasons why Direct Primary Care health coverage should be incorporated into your employee benefits package:
It saves money. Direct Primary Care can provide substantial savings and improved cost controls for employers in managing overall health benefit expenses. The goal is to reduce utilization of the insurance plan at urgent care and emergency rooms. This approach typically saves employers double-digits over traditional group plans, while delivering a far better care experience. Also it can minimize employees’ out-of-pocket expenses and helps solve their avoidance of care for financial reasons – workers should not have to forgo healthcare because they don’t want to pay their co-pay, or their deductible is sky high.
It reduces absenteeism and presenteeism. By taking advantage of the proactive, preventative nature of direct primary care, employees stay active in the workforce and keep out of the hospital and urgent care clinics.
It’s convenient. Direct Primary Care provides employees convenient and unfettered access to their primary care physician—enjoying prompt appointments, exceptional care, and easy utilization. By having direct cell phone and email access to the doctor, employees no longer have to wait hours in a waiting room to interact with the doctor to answer a simple question, get a shot of support, or even a prescription refill.
It helps employers retain their best employees. As competition for talented employees intensifies in the coming years, small businesses will have to find ways to attract and keep good workers. So, providing quality health coverage is an important bargaining chip to give you the competitive edge for attracting and retaining talented employees.
It boosts employee engagement. Whatever an employer can do to improve morale—and quality health benefits do that—makes employees feel more positive about their work and their employer.
It heightens job satisfaction. Health benefits communicate to the employee a concern for their physical well-being and shows them a desire of their employer to invest in their total well-being, helping them achieve a better work/life balance.
It sets a good example. Placing value on healthcare in the workplace can energize workers to place importance on it at home as well. This is important for busy adults who have limited free time due to job and family commitments. But when an employer places a lot of emphasis on healthcare, that helps place emphasis at home too.
So before your next renewal, or if you’re interested in starting a health benefits program for your employees, let Balanced Physician Care provide you with a free, no obligation analysis of your current (or future) health benefits’ plan.
Many employers are converting their health insurance policies to high deductible, often with a deductible as high as $10,000 per person or family per year. For a family with members that have chronic illnesses, the costs of healthcare will be very substantial indeed at this level. Employees will arguably feel that their employer has walked away from them and saddled them with costs that they simply cannot bear. The company can partially offset the inherent anger this generates among its employees by paying the fee for a direct primary care practice. It is especially valuable for the individual with multiple chronic illnesses since quality primary care can mean much better health, many fewer tests, prescriptions, specialist referrals and hospitalizations. I suspect that employers will be the major reason for direct primary care membership/retainer-based practice growth in the coming years as they will essentially demand that level of service for their employees — and in so doing they will be reducing their company health care costs as a result of high quality primary care.
As a bonus service, we can potentially reduce your worker’s compensation costs by treating some worker injuries within our Balanced Physician Care plan, which reduces the overall costs of claims filed. Over time, lower claim costs could reduce your workers’ comp premium costs.
Optimize Your Health, Simplify Your Life,
Balanced Physician Care Membership
Give us a call at 904-930-4774 and we will setup a free, no obligation analysis of your current, or future health benefits program.
We now have Two Membership Options starting as low as $69 per month!
Dr Sharyl Truty of Balanced Physician Care presents Direct Primary Care to the patrons of the Ponte Vedra Rotary