R Health in Philly launched their version of direct care back in August. Mason Reiner, the founder and CEO of the bootstrapped healthcare startup, says “[I saw] an opportunity to help consumers cut down on healthcare costs through more meaningful patient interactions and 24-hour access through telehealth.”
Welcome to the “wild” side of primary care, R Health. Wild if only because we’re willing to take big risks to earn big rewards. Rewards like quality relationships with our patients, and in our case even tweets like this:
It's SO GREAT that my doctor will drop what he's doing on a Sunday morning to open his office to treat me! @AtlasMD is pretty special.
— Veronica Hill (@vrhill) November 24, 2013
R Health is still going strong through the most challenging part of an operation: year one. They opened their Center City Philadelphia offices as the first of what will hopefully be several offices in the Mid Atlantic region. It goes some way to fulfilling some of the aims of Obamacare health insurance, as Reiner sees it.
“If you take the accessibility of the urgent care center, the accountability and cost containment benefits of an Accountable Care Organization and personalized care of concierge medicine — that’s the way healthcare optimally should be delivered,” Reiner said in a phone interview with MedCity News. “Under current reimbursement practices doctors have no incentive to build a relationship with you.” he added.
Excellent point. When we break away from healthcare’s status quo, and venture into a terrain where WE the providers are responsible for excellent care, the attitude changes. Not only are we helping our patients, but we are helping ourselves. We are building a reputation as concerned and competent doctors. That’s huge. It’s antithetical to the idea of seeing 3,000 patients a year for ten minutes at a time.
R Health obviously needs enrollees. So how does CEO Reiner communicate the logic of direct care to potential clients? He sees direct care as a supplement to insurance, comparing his service with the out-of-pocket costs people pay for maintaining their homes; health insurance then, in his metaphor, is like the homeowners insurance they’d pay to cover catastrophic events like a fire or tree slamming into a house. He says, “the primary care that comes with [insurance] tends to be cursory and impersonal.”
That sounds right to us. In Dr. Josh’s case, that’s why he skipped fee-for-service primary care outright and saw his first patients here at Atlas MD.
On the R Health website, their membership model is considered, “Affordable and Predictable.” R-Health Direct Primary Care is offered for one monthly membership fee — no co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles. Individual – $79 per month : Couple – $150 per month : Family – $250 per month. They offer generic prescriptions on site, although no prices were included online.
Yes, R Health is doing it a bit different than how we’re doing it here in Wichita. But we’re rooting for anyone genuinely fighting to deliver quality care. If you want, check out R Health’s offerings, values, services and more on their website.