Q. Tell us about Birmingham Direct Primary Care and how it’s different than other primary care clinics?
Birmingham Direct Primary Care (Birmingham DPC) is a family medicine clinic providing comprehensive medical care to patients of all ages, ranging from newborns to the elderly. What makes our clinic unique is that we use a membership-based model that allows me to provide direct and individualized care for my patients as opposed to the complicated, insurance-dictated practice operations that limit patients’ time and access to their primary care doctors. Our patients get unlimited, no-rush clinic visits with extended time up to an hour or more if needed with their physician, around the clock convenient access to the doctor via text, email or doctor’s cell phone.
Q. How does Birmingham DPC work?
My patients pay Birmingham Direct Primary Care directly in the form of a monthly membership fee in exchange for the care I provide. This simple and affordable model allows me to spend more quality time with my patients instead of dealing with complicated practice operations and insurance dictating care provided. It also allows me to be much more accessible to them when they actually need me.
Patients get unlimited, no-rush clinic visits with extended time with physician (up to an hour if needed), around the clock convenient access to the doctor via text, email or doctor’s cell phone.
So, just like at the gym where in return for the monthly membership you get unlimited visits, at Birmingham DPC you get unlimited interactions with the doctor, whether that’s in person or through telemedicine, which includes texting, video chatting and after hours coverage by your very own doctor. You can still use your insurance for specialists, labs, imaging, and meds at pharmacies.
Q. Ok , so you don’t take insurance. That’s like a concierge practice, right? Isn’t that pretty expensive??
It’s not expensive at all. It is similar to concierge medicine however a key difference is we keep it affordable to give this chance to everyone. A patient literally gets concierge-like medical care that is unrushed, individualized, and comprehensive. If a person can afford a cell phone plan, then they can afford good accessible primary care.
Q. So if someone has insurance, is this for them? If all of above sounds good, should they just get rid of insurance to join your practice?
Yes, this is for very much for them, and no, they should not get rid of their insurance. I don’t take insurance so that I can provide individualized, accessible and unrushed primary care that is just not possible through the fee for service insurance system. One should still have insurance to protect his or herself from unforeseen catastrophic events or other high cost medical expenses. However, when you try to use insurance for your primary care needs, your allotted time with the physician and often the care you receive is dictated by the insurance company. You often end up spending 2-3 hours for a doctor’s visit even though only 10 minutes is spent with the doctor. Sometimes you delay care because of how inconvenient insurance makes it for you. Sometimes you can’t even be seen when you need to be because the insurance makes the doctor have a patient panel of 2000-3000!
Q. Why should someone join Birmingham Direct Primary Care?
Birmingham Direct Primary Care is a great fit for you if any of the following applies to you:
- If you want to be part of a patient panel that is 1/5th the panel size of typical primary care clinic taking insurance (ie 600 vs 3000 patients, respectively) where your doctor really gets to know you as a patient and person and you get to know the doctor
- If you don’t have to wait 2 hours in the waiting room as there is no or minimal wait.
- If you like the idea of being able to be seen the same day or next day instead of being given an appointment two weeks later
- If you feel like you’re busy all the time and the clinic’s time never meets yours for an appt.
- If you like the idea of a doctor really listening and spending up to an hour with you instead of the average 5-7 minutes.
- If you like the concept of being able to email or text your doctor when you have simple question or just needing refills without having to go to the doctor’s office each time
- If you can’t physically see the doctor but are able to do a telemedicine or videoconference with you doctor (I’m happy to see that this is becoming an option in other practices too and really hope insurance allows them to keep that option once the pandemic is over).
- If you have a lot of medications and feel like you’re spending a lot of money just on meds- we have generic meds at wholesales prices dispensed in house.
- If you often have to pay all of your lab fees out of pocket per your insurance’s policies- we draw blood in house and the prices are negotiated at greatly reduced prices (check out our website!)
- If you are tired of paying co-pays each time you go to doctors office
- If you often have to pay significant out of pocket amounts until you can actually use your insurance deductible just from regular primary care visits, labs, imaging, medications.
- If you don’t want to see a different doctor after hours for something not actually requiring an ER or Urgent Care visit
- If you want after hours advice without talking to a different provider who lives elsewhere in the state that you’ll never meet in person.
As you can see Birmingham DPC is ideal for just about any type of patient because of the direct care model we use. This includes generally healthy people of any age, people managing multiple chronic conditions and medications, people beginning to experience age related illnesses, families with kids, college students away from home who may be too busy with school to wait at doctor’s office but have access to their doctor via the tech gadget in their hands, and young people just getting off a parent’s insurance plan due to age are all suited perfectly for DPC.
Read about how we help small businesses in the second section of this interview by clicking here.