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How can we create affordable Integrative Medicine/Functional Medicine? #DirectCare=ValueBasedCare

Updated: Apr 25, 2022

Direct Care means literally physician providing care directly to patients without anyone else interfering. The most well known form of direct care is direct primary care - DPC Nation is the public facing with excellent Facebook group.

The idea is simple - in exchange for monthly membership, members get enhanced access to the physician providing care:

  • 7 days a week

  • Expanded hours (evenings and weekends)

  • Expanded Format of Visits:

    • Office visits

    • Telemedicine

    • Phone Visits

    • Texts

    • E-mails

In an essence, traditional barriers accessing your physician no longer exist. The reason for needing an office visit is for the billing purposes. Telemedicine visit coverage by insurance has improved but still has not achieved true parity with office visits in many insurance situations. Phone visits are not covered. Of course, text is not covered. And definitely, e-mail is not covered.

So, the access to physician's time is geared towards activities that they can bill - office visits. Any other form of communication takes away from billing insurance companies.

In Direct Care model, we simply take care of patients using every communication means possible. Patient experience is also better. Physician experience is better. For those who were in Georgia Integrative Medicine, one may remember paying for every services and for every time when my time and licensure was used. In this model, all of that is included.

In summary, I feel like direct practice allows for physician and patients to partner and work towards a common goal - to the betterment of our patients' wellness and health.

Integrative Medicine/Functional Medicine practices are usually cash based, because of intensive time they spend with patients and because of poor insurance reimbursement on their time. Their procedures are often not very well covered by insurance benefits. On top of that supplements are not covered by insurance. Functional medicine lab coverage is spotty at best.

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