By Michele Gero, MD
Can you imagine calling your doctor and getting a same-day appointment for your urgent needs? What about sending a picture by text to your doctor, discussing diagnosis and developing a treatment plan without ever leaving your home? Can you imagine not being rushed when you see your doctor, with the ability to address multiple concerns in the same visit? Direct Primary Care makes all this possible.
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a growing model of healthcare delivery where the patients contract directly with their doctor for their primary care services for only a monthly fee. Doctors wanting to practice more personalized and comprehensive medicine without the burden of dealing with insurance in a traditional fee-for-service system are choosing this model of care for their patients. The freedom and ability to truly care for my patients drew me to Direct Primary Care in 2018. I had been feeling increasingly torn between providing an exceptional level of care and the burdens of administration from my hospital owned practice. Not to mention, the requirements of the insurance companies and the cost that kept a lot of my patients from accessing healthcare the way they needed.
When I decided to become a physician, it was to become a partner in the health care and goals of my patients by helping them live long and healthy lives.
Unfortunately, that cannot be achieved in 5 or 10 minute visits. In my practice, Aspire Direct Primary Care, appointment lengths are 30-60 minutes long, allowing me to take the time that is necessary to know my patients and work with them to be healthy and stay healthy. Like most DPC offices, I am on call 24/7/365 for my patients. They can contact me via text message, phone or email. I can even come in to see patients in the evening or weekends, so I can try to keep them out of the ER or urgent center.
DPC practices have patients with all types of insurance and those patients without insurance as well. We work within all budgets to provide exceptional healthcare to our patients and families. Often times saving money for our patients because we are able to manage illness before complications occur. Prices are based on age, and at my office, children are $25 per month with a parent membership.
Adults range from $55 to $100 per month depending on age. Additionally, like most DPC offices, we have contracts with local companies that provide greatly reduced prices on imaging and laboratory testing for our patients. Aspire DPC patients pay about $50 for a set of yearly screening bloodwork, compared to the $700 that most insurances bill. Furthermore, DPC patients save on the cost of prescriptions that can be dispensed through their physician office. At Aspire DPC, I have kept several of my Medicare patients out of the “donut hole” by filling their prescriptions in our office at significant savings over their contracted insurance prices at the pharmacy.
Direct Primary Care is a model of care that allows me to practice medicine that benefits my patients the most. At Aspire DPC, I am able to provide the level of care that I would provide my family with the luxury of time and personalization. Additionally, I can save them money and assist them in accessing the often confusing healthcare system in the U.S. I truly feel DPC is the way primary care should be delivered – direct primary care is modern medicine with an old-fashioned delivery.
Dr. Gero graduated from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2001 with her MD and completed her residency training there as well in 2004. Her office, Aspire Direct Primary Care, is located at 415 Commercial Ct, Ste. C in Venice FL.
She can be reached at (941) 800-1630 or firstname.lastname@example.org