Dr. Emilie Scott was only a few months into her first job when she started hearing the complaint: She was spending too much time with each patient.
Like many primary care doctors working in large medical systems, Scott was encouraged to see a new patient every 20 minutes. But that was barely enough time to talk and do a physical.
She eventually quit her job to try a new approach aimed at eliminating many of the headaches of traditional health care: tight schedules, short appointments and piles of insurance paperwork.
Instead of billing insurers, Scott now charges patients a $79 monthly fee that covers office visits, phone calls, emails, texts and certain medical tests and procedures. Scott typically sees six patients a day, down from around 30, and spends more time at each appointment. She hired two assistants to help handle paperwork compared with working with a department of billing specialists.
This approach — direct primary care — aims to leverage the extra time and money from avoiding insurance into improving care for patients.
“As far as our financial success, it does not depend upon having a team of people to figure out how to get money from the insurance company,” said Scott, who co-owns a private practice in Irvine, Calif., that serves about 900 patients. Scott said the practice has grown by word-of-mouth, without advertising.
In many ways, direct primary care is a return to a simpler time when doctors charged cash for their services. Patients say they appreciate the accessibility and simplicity of the system.
Read the full article at Times Union.