Posted by: AtlasMD

December 20, 2013

Wichita Eagle Spreads Direct Care Cheer

Thanks to reporter Kelsey Ryan who shared a touching Atlas MD story in her recent report on our model of care. She focused on one of our patients, Michael Scheidt, who’s been enrolled in our practice since around the time we opened up. His wife was extremely sick and practically bedridden when he signed them both up for Atlas MD care. Dr. Josh was able to drive to their home and check up on her, which helped them tremendously. Even after the passing of his wife, Scheidt told the Wichita paper that he keeps coming in to see us because it’s “just so darn cost effective.” This was a real tearjerker. Thanks for your kind words, Michael.


The article also features interviews with other direct care players. Family practitioner Renae Schuler was considering leaving medicine before she started practicing cash-only medicine at Performance Health. Tom Blue, chief strategy officer at the American Academy of Private Physicians, a direct care professional organization based in Glen Allen, Va. shares convincing figures: there are about 5,500 private physicians nationwide and the number is rapidly growing at about 25 percent each year. Dr. James Seberger, also of Performance Health, says that direct care encourages consistent visits. Excellent point. He adds, “In [the direct care] model, we’re paid to prevent things like heart attacks. … We don’t bill based on a disease code.”

The piece mentions that the average price of direct care nationwide is about $135 each month. We think that number can definitely come down over the next few years. Two things are going to happen, in our opinion — one, more practices are going to open. More competition means lower prices. Two, as more practices open, more people will experience what direct care IS. As more people realize the viability, recruitment costs should fall (currently, part of a new doctor’s budget is spent acquiring new patients — and explaining WHAT direct care is). In the end, marketing will always factor in. However, the type of marketing will definitely shift away from awareness (hey, THIS is direct care) and into competitive advantages (hey, THIS is what we offer in OUR direct care clinic).

We’re glad that Ryan included our stipulation about insurance in her article, too. In light of the ACA, we prefer not to be dismissed as anti-insurance. We’re actually not anti-insurance. We’re against a third party billing system responsible for paying for everything through meticulous billing codes. We encourage our patients to have some form of insurance and as Josh was quoted in the article, “You don’t have car insurance to buy gasoline.”

Cheers to optimistic, and informative, media coverage. Just in time for the holidays.