What is DPC? Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a rapidly growing membership model of personalized health care. By leaving insurance companies out of the equation, we are able to provide personalized care, unrushed office visits without co-pay, same day or next day appointments, and access to discounts on labs and medications. With direct access to the physician, patients can contact their doctor by phone, email, text, and virtual visit as needed.
Will you see me in the office if I am sick? YES. In order to adequately evaluate and diagnose medical problems, it’s often best to see people in person. Since we have a small number of patients by choice, you will never be sitting in a waiting room full of sick people. You will be evaluated, tests can be done if needed (such as strep test, flu test), and in many cases you can leave the office with appropriate medications, dispensed at our office.
Is DPC the same as Concierge medicine? Both models of patient care involve monthly membership payments and limited numbers of patients per doctor, with improved access to care. However, Concierge medicine practices usually charge a higher fee, sometimes charge co-pays for office visits, and continue to bill insurance. So the Concierge practices still have to comply with insurance requirements. With Direct Primary Care, we have eliminated answering to insurance, so the relationship is between the doctor and patient, allowing for much more personalized care.
Do I need to have medical insurance? We recommend having medical insurance to cover referrals to specialists, tests that we can’t provide in the office, or for emergency services or hospitalizations. At our DPC office, especially since we can see you when needed, we are able to provide 80 to 90% of medical care that most people need. If you don’t have insurance (or even if you do), we will work with you to try to save money for services you need outside our office.
If I have insurance, can I use it? We do not bill insurance for any of our services, but you are welcome to use your insurance for things such as referrals to specialists, medications, labs, hospital care, and visits to urgent or emergent care facilities.
What will it cost me? Please see our “Prices” and “Services” pages. When you are a member in our practice, there are no co-pays for office visits, phone calls, virtual visits, or other communication with the office. There are occasional deeply-discounted fees for medications, pathology services, labs, and others as listed on the Services page.
Can I use my Health Savings Account (HSA)? Yes. Our patients have been told by accountants that they can use their HSA for our membership fees, as well as for low-cost labs, medications, and supplies they might purchase from our office.
What if I need care when I’m traveling? That’s a great part of DPC practice. Since we know you well, many times we can take care of your medical issues by phone call, text or video visit. Contact us, and we’ll see what we can do for you.
Do you see children in your practice? YES. We love seeing children. We only accept children if at least one parent is a member in our practice. It is important to know that we don’t provide immunizations for children, since we do not accept insurance. Immunizations can be provided through the Health Department or other local providers.
If I enroll as a patient of Pine Creek Family Medicine, when does billing begin? Your monthly membership bill will begin on the day you first see Dr. Herrington in the office or virtually. Please note that care will not be provided until an initial intake appointment in the office or by virtual visit.
I am a previous patient of Dr. Herrington. Can I automatically transfer to her? We welcome our previous patients into our new practice, but officially the ties need to be severed with the previous practice. Contact Pine Creek Family Medicine to establish as a patient, and we will transfer care. In order to be established in this new office, you must have an initial visit, complete the paperwork and establish membership.
Are you accepting new patients? YES. We will have a limited panel of patients, aiming for about 500 patients rather than the usual panel of about 2000 patients in standard primary care offices. This allows us to provide more personalized care. Once we have reached capacity, you can sign up for our waiting list.
Can I meet Dr. Herrington without committing to membership? YES. We encourage you to schedule a “Meet and greet” appointment to discuss this model of care, review your medical concerns or expectations, and decide if we’re a good fit for each other. This is a free visit. Please note that there will be no medical advice during this visit.
How soon could I get an appointment? That’s the great thing about a DPC practice. Because our panel of patients is small, we are able to offer appointments in a timely manner, often same day or next day if needed.
Why do you need to know what insurance I have? We would like to have your insurance on record for when we make referrals or order tests that are done outside our office. If you don’t want to list any insurance with us, that’s ok. That’s the beauty of DPC – insurance doesn’t matter for the services we provide!
What if I have concerns outside of regular office hours? That’s one great benefit of DPC. You will have direct contact with your doctor through text, email, phone calls if needed. So if you have an urgent concern, contact us. We can help decide what the next step should be.
How long is the contract commitment? At Pine Creek Family Medicine we have a month-to-month contract. You can leave at any time, but we hope you don’t! Please talk to us if you have any concerns. If you do leave our practice and ask to return in the future, we will review the request. There will be a re-registration fee.