Advocates say this new model of primary care will — among other things — help doctors spend more time with patients.
Thomas Gounley, News-Leader
With the start of October, the number of specific codes doctors use when diagnosing patients increased five-fold, to about 70,000.
Doctors use the codes to classify the care they provide when billing government programs and private insurance companies. The addition of the more specific codes will result in an influx of new data, which the federal government hopes to analyze to improve health care. But the additional codes will also further complicate the workload for the nation’s doctors.
They don’t accept insurance. But they’d be happy to see you for a standard monthly fee — although you can also just text. In return, they say you’ll get longer, more personal visits, and quicker turnaround for appointments.
“The classic analogy of direct primary care is auto insurance,” said Dr. Shelby Smith, who will open Equality Healthcare with two fellow doctors in December. “Everybody needs auto insurance for a car wreck. You don’t use auto insurance for a car wash, or an oil change or new tires. Sort of what we’re doing in the primary care realm is saying that primary care in this country should be accessible, it should be affordable and the pricing should be very transparent.”
At the beginning of 2014, there was one local practice open to the public locally that classified itself as direct primary care. Now there are five in Greene and Christian counties. And three more plan to open by the end of the year.