Imagine being able to see, call, or text your doctor whenever you need him. That's just one of the benefits of one of the newest trends in medicine called "Direct Primary Care."
It works like this: Instead of paying for every doctors visit or every co-pay, you pay a monthly membership fee that gives you 24-hour/7 day a week access to your doctor.
Dr. Jeffrey Davenport was the first Direct Primary Care Doctor in Oklahoma. He started in April after years of feeling fatigued seeing dozens of patients a day, and jumping through insurance company hoops.
“Physicians are sick and tired of dealing with 25 patients a day and not really getting a chance to take good care of them, just treat them and street them, and they have a third of their time on paperwork,” said Dr. Davenport.
In the last year, his practice has grown to about 400 patients including Amy Urbach and her husband.
“My husband and I are both self-employed and with that comes crazy expensive health insurance and we just felt like that was a good option for us,” said Urbach.
They each pay $50 a month for Dr. Davenport's care. The amount of a monthly membership depends on the patient's age. Kids are $10.
“I don't get paid to see someone, I get paid to take care of someone,” explained Davenport. “So I do a lot of stuff on the phone, text message, e-mail, the patient doesn't even come in.”
He only sees about four or five patients a day and spends at least 30 minutes with each one. The Doctor even fills prescriptions at cost, makes house calls, and will come into the office on the weekend.
Amy and her husband still have a high deductible insurance plan in case something catastrophic happens, but say they're saving a couple hundred dollars a month and getting better care.
“I know he is available when I need him rather than me waiting on him to be available for me,” said Urbach.
Right now, there are five doctors in the state that prescribe to this model and that number is growing. Dr. Davenport said he believes more doctors will switch to this model and then the patients will follow.