Posted by: AtlasMD

May 18, 2017

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What ACA Repeal & Replace Really Means for DPC.

The house voted. The bill passed. The ACA is changing, this we know. Depending on who you ask, this is either a really good thing, or a really bad thing.

This bill would be a tremendous improvement from the current system.  And in its latest form, the bill balances concerns about high costs and limited choice with protections for pre-existing conditions.

The ACA and leading replacement proposals rely on refundable tax credits to help individual market enrollees pay for premiums, although the credit amounts are set quite differently.

Even before the vote, some Republican senators had expressed deep reservations about one of the most important provisions of the House bill, which would roll back the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

It Doesn’t Matter How You Feel.

Okay, that’s a little harsh. It actually does matter how you feel. But even so, let’s put politics aside, yeah? Because those of us in Direct Care need to think about the bigger picture. Which is that very soon, lots of people are going to need what this platform has to offer. They’re going to need transparency like never before. They’ll need a quality relationship with their physician to come up with a plan unique to them…one that can’t be conjured up in seven minutes. They’ll need the flexibility to make healthcare work for their family instead of having to make their family adapt to the rules of healthcare.

Will We Be Ready?

Are our practices ready for them? How can we get more ready? Take the pulse of your community. Talk to them and see how they’re feeling, what their healthcare plans are, what they’re frustrated about. Be the one who helps explain all the things they don’t have time to research and understand themselves. Tell them how the Direct Care model accommodates for the areas traditional healthcare falls short. (Hint: transparency, time, efficiency, flexibility, availability, friendliness, quality…just to name a few) And then maybe. Just maybe you’ll feel comfortable thinking about the possibility of expanding. Hiring a new doc. Opening that second practice.

There are a whole bunch of ways to prepare your practice for a fuller patient panel. If you’re curious about any of them, we’re happy to help. Because your goal is to grow at a pace you’re comfortable with, while maintaining the lifestyle you want, and continuing to provide the quality care you went to med school to master.

Posted by: AtlasMD

May 11, 2017

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Direct Care Docs Have This. Traditional Docs Don’t.

After writing and rewriting the first sentence to this article about a hundred times, we realized there is no way to sugar coat it.

Direct Care docs have time. Traditional docs don’t.

There, we said it. We feel better. Let’s talk about why time is so valuable, and why us DPC docs love it so very much.

Time is something we all wish we had more of. Are always trying to carve it out. We crave it. 

Think about all the awesomeness time brings to the party. It lets you sink in and do extensive research between patient appointments without being interrupted to jump to the next thing. It lets you listen to your patients and read between the lines of what they’re saying about their lives. Time allows you to transition: to put the thing you just did behind you, so you can be present in the thing you’re about to do.

It’s not just about medicine, though. In fact, time allows you to step away from medicine and live a life outside those four walls. When you’re in charge of your schedule and your patient expectations are well met (time naturally allows you to accomplish this), you can immerse yourself in…whatever you want. You can take your kid to story time at the library at 10 a.m. Go to the car show after lunch. Hit the gym when the rest of the world isn’t there (no more waiting in line for machines!).

We’re ramming the importance of time down your throat for a reason.

Look, we all get the same 24 hours in a day. It is what it is. Rambling on and on about all the wonderful things you can do with time feels a little ridiculous at this point. But even so, it remains to be one of Direct Care’s biggest assets. And one of the recurring things docs in traditional healthcare never seem to have enough of.

Let’s lay out some of the things docs get fed up with over time, yeah?

  • Rushing patients in and out the door. Seven minutes, people. Clearly not enough time.
  • Having that mountain of paperwork looming at the end of the day because there isn’t enough time between appointments to do it properly. Nor can anyone else do it for you…
  • Medicine becomes your entire life; you don’t have time to do the other things you love with the people you love.
  • Having to bend to insurance rules and regulations because it’s how you get paid. And who has time to sit on the phone and argue about technicalities with an insurance rep for three hours? You’re supposed to have seen 25.7 patients in that amount of time…

The list goes on, but you get the idea. Time is important. We want more. DPC offers more.

It’s a simple truth you cannot and should not ignore.

Time is like a freaking breath of fresh air. You forget how good it feels until you’ve taken one. And once you have, you wonder why you didn’t inhale deeply like this before. And you want to keep doing it over and over and over. It brings clarity.

People think Direct Care is too good to be true. We’d be worried if you didn’t think that way, honestly. A lucrative career where you set your own hours and prices. Patients you get to make a real connection with. Money you get to save people on a daily basis. Healthcare you get to make accessible to everyone. A business you get to run on your own terms. Time to do it all really well.

But it is true. It’s a reality so many docs are living out today. We can’t shout it from the rooftop because, well, nobody would hear it, ironic as that is. But we can say it over and over again from this blog in hopes that a doc somewhere who’s fed up with never having enough time is looking for a better way.

Posted by: AtlasMD

May 8, 2017

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Practice From a Place of Joy.

If you look back on your time as a healthcare professional, can you pinpoint your most inspired moments? The times when you were on fire? You know, like that time you came up with a super unconventional treatment plan that worked really well. Or when you figured out how to get alternative treatment for a patient who seriously needed help but couldn’t swing it because of insurance restrictions. Or how about that time you listened to the nagging in the back of your mind, “randomly” called your patient to check in and learned they were in the middle of a medical crisis? You really saved the day that time.

Chances are you’ll recognize a common thread in all those moments of greatness. You were practicing from a place of joy. You loved your job. You were personally invested in your patients. You thought about work even when you weren’t at the office – and not in a bad way. You did what you did because it’s what you do and who you are. Your best work, your most thoughtful treatment plans, your most careful attention to detail, and your most inspired methods of communication come when you’re happy. 

What if you’re not practicing from a place of joy?

If you’re not there, if that’s not you, you’re missing out on all the good stuff. Seriously – healthcare is exhausting, challenging and rewarding all in the same five minutes, which makes for one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. But the joy. The joy makes it all worth it. It’s the why behind what you do. Or at least it should be. If it’s not, though, all is not lost so don’t worry. You can get there. There’s a way out. You can make changes in the way you practice medicine that relieve pressure, ease tension, and actually give you something to look forward to. Just ask the traditional family doc who loved seeing patients during the day but absolutely dreaded the mountain of paperwork waiting for him after the last one went home. He transitioned to Direct Care and put all that paper right through the shredder. Or you could ask the PA who was stressed from the very beginning of her morning because her first patient ran late and she knew the rest of the day would continue to spiral out of control. She opened a Direct Care practice and now gets to spend at least 30 minutes with each patient. Thirty. Minutes.

Oh, don’t forget to ask the veteran physician who had no desire to even practice anymore because of all the insurance rules and regulations (not to mention he’s tired of keeping up with billing codes). Instead of retiring, he chose DPC. Now he works when he wants to work, with patients he truly connects with, and deals directly with them instead of a mess of third party interferers.

Strive for joy. You owe it to yourself.

You were called to this profession. You may think you chose healthcare, but the really is that it chose you. You were meant for it, and you have a responsibility to do your very best work. You have an obligation to your patients to show them what genuine, personalized healthcare looks like. So strive for the joy that inspires your greatness. Do what you have to do to give your patients real value. If that means adjusting your hours to make sure you have time for you outside the office, do it. If it means getting into the office early to do extra research on the diagnosis you saw yesterday, do it. If it means reading that novel you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have time for, just do it. When you’re happy and you know it, your patients will, too. (Yeah, go ahead. Clap your hands…)

DPC paves the way for joy.

Let’s pretend you’re in a traditional healthcare environment and you’re feeling…stuck. Frustrated. Irritated. Burnt out. Anything other than joyful. You may not have the flexibility to create joy yourself, but remember that “way out” from earlier? It’s Direct Care. Direct Primary Care is the path to joy. The path to running your practice the way you’ve always wanted to. The paved road leading straight to healthy doctor-patient relationships.

When the surefire way to cut bureaucratic red tape and practice medicine from a place of joy invites you over for dinner, you accept. It’s just that simple. (Psst. DPC is sending you an invitation right now!!!)

So have you recalled the last time you were really, really great at practicing medicine? Maybe it was yesterday and fresh in your mind. Or maybe it was so long ago you barely remember how intense that kind of rush feels. Either way, we hope you crave more of it.

Posted by: AtlasMD

May 5, 2017

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How Do You Spend Your Pajama Time?

Pajama time. You’ve heard of it, right? It’s the time most traditional docs spend at home catching up on paperwork from the day. You can just picture it. The rest of the house is asleep, the clock on the bedside table reads some insane hour, and even though all the doc wants to do is snooze after a long day, she’s propped up on a pillow shuffling papers around by nightlight.

DPC docs still have pajama time, but it looks a liiiiitle different. There may be PJ’s involved, but that’s about the end of the list of similarities. Instead of checking off boxes and pouring over paperwork to make sure billing codes are spun the right way and hasty patient scribbles (ahem, notes) are properly transcribed, DPC docs do something else entirely.

They build their business. They schedule Facebook or Twitter posts, write articles for their blog, outline their next marketing campaign strategy. Things that add value to their practice and spread the word about what they have to offer. Or maybe they do some extra research on a treatment plan they’re scheming for an unconventional patient. Or maybe they respond to a text message from a worried mother whose two year old has a rising fever.

We don’t know about you, but if we had to choose, DPC PJ time seems like the waaay better option. Just sayin’.

Posted by: AtlasMD

April 17, 2017

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Being a Doc Doesn’t Have to be Lonely!

The Student Doctor Thompson has some thoughts on what it means to be the “Good Doctor.” We’re paraphrasing here, but essentially, the “Good Doctor:”

Puts in the extra time to perfect the trade. They’re always available at a moment’s notice should anyone need their help. They have a good reputation because, well, their life is medicine. Most of my fellow residents look at the Good Doctor and hate his schedule but love his legacy. He works well beyond the age of retirement and has little to no life outside of medicine. The life of a doctor is a lonely one.

Thier friends have moved on… that tends to happen after you’ve neglected them through 4 year of premed, 4 years of med school and then residency. And even if they haven’t moved on, you have nothing left in common with them.

Whoa.

Heart-wrenching, right? But what really got us is what someone posted in the comments:

“The ‘Good Doctor’ sounds like he’d be a terrible husband and father.”

Or “wife and mother” if we’re being totally PC. But that one strikes a chord, doesn’t it? The notion that in order to do your job well as a physician means you gotta sacrifice literally everything else? Yeah, we docs love medicine, but we love other stuff, too. We love cars. We love public speaking. We love books, running, and movies. We love our families. And we don’t want to sacrifice any of those things. Good thing we don’t have to. 

Direct Care docs everywhere watched this video, immediately stood up and hollered at their computer screens: “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!” Are we right? Come on, you know we’re right.

Med school is hard. Nobody’s saying otherwise. But you’re not suffering through it just to spend endless hours filling out paperwork as part of a way to leave a legacy. You’re sacrificing now so you can help people. So we encourage you to learn more about Direct Primary Care. DPC provides you a rock solid platform and business model that literally gives you the gift of time. Time with your patients, time for yourself. Before you click off the page because it sounds too good to be true, give DPC its due diligence and read up.

* Check out the DPC Curriculum: https://atlas.md/dpc-curriculum/
* Read more of this blog: https://atlas.md/blog
* Talk to docs around the country who are doing it, and love it. https://www.iamdirectcare.com

Posted by: AtlasMD

March 20, 2017

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What Do You Love Most About Direct Care?

It’s becoming a really well-known fact that DPC works. The business model is solid; booming practices around the country are proving it. Docs who were admittedly nervous about stepping out of their traditional shells to explore what Direct Care had to offer are now emphatically shouting it’s goodness from their rooftops. It’s easy to see why. There’s a lot to shout about.

But we’re curious what you love most. What’s the thing that still gets you up in the morning, excited to go to work? What do you think about even when you’re not at the office? When your friends ask how the practice is going, what do you gush about?

Is it…

The Freedom?

You keep a limited patient panel so you have plenty of time to spend with each person. None of that shuffling in and out of appointments in record time nonsense. You set your own hours. Your time is yours, with which to do what you want. You’ve literally been given the gift of time.

The Way You Can Truly Help People?

You know it’s true. You didn’t go to school to fill out paperwork. Now that you’re utilizing DPC’s framework, you have to do less paperwork than you ever thought possible. That’s because when you clear out all the distractions, red tape, bureaucratic rules and third party interference, you’re left with the only thing that really matters: your patients. You can help them the way you know how, the way you always thought you would. You can spend extra time helping them with their ailments, following up on their progress, and coming up with proactive ways to keep them healthy. You can truly build relationships with them!

All the Savings You Get to Dole Out?

Part of helping your patients is saving them money – making their healthcare honestly affordable. You don’t have to swipe their card for a copay at each visit. You offer diagnostic and procedural benefits at no extra cost. Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

January 6, 2017

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The DPC Myth-Buster, Courtesy of the AAFP!

When the AAFP takes it upon itself to “dispel myths” about DPC, you do a little happy dance. You also pump your fist in the air and yell, “FINALLY!”

Look, we get it, DPC carries with it a bit of an educational learning curve. It used to be that healthcare without insurance wasn’t a natural concept for many people – both patients and physicians alike. But we knew it was the better way and we’ve watched the DPC movement explode. Like any truly good product, DPC continues to sell itself. The AAFP proves it when they say things like this:

“ [DPC]…creates transactional efficiencies and reduces administrative burdens for primary care physicians.”

and

“…DPC is actually an ideal strategy to provide our nation a robust family medicine physician workforce in the long run.”

and

The normal workforce economics that naturally occur in the unregulated DPC environment mean that physicians gravitate to a panel size of 900 simply because that’s what is sustainable for healthy physician-patient relationships.”

DPC isn’t in bed with the AAFP, obviously. But we know the medical community takes what they say very, very seriously. And so the kind, bold and factual argument displayed here makes us blush with pride.

Honestly, there is so much logical goodness in this article that you might as well just read the whole thing for yourself. Well, go on then.

Posted by: AtlasMD

November 4, 2016

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These Prices are INSANE. #IAmDirectCare

There’s all kinds of talk about how much money Direct Care can save patients. You know, DPC practices who offer wholesale prices on meds, and pile on coupons on top of that. Oh, and that the cost of a monthly subscription is way less expensive than the cost of an insurance policy they may not even need. All true. All good. But have you ever seen the numbers? Like, really really looked?

Dr. Ciampi did the work using lab prices as a baseline. Called around, got some information, and laid it out. And may we just say. Whoa.

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Why Isn’t This a Bigger Deal?!

It’s just crazy when you look at the markup across the board. So why don’t numbers like this raise more eyebrows? We don’t know exactly, but we imagine it’s just what consumers have come to expect to pay. The problem feels so much bigger than they can handle, and maybe they feel like the fight isn’t theirs. Just think of all the third parties, and political motivations behind markups (do we need to remind you about the whole EpiPen thing?) But Direct Care is leading this fight in our own way. Because we look out for our patients at all costs – and that means drastically reducing their costs while providing excellent care. We don’t want to take down big pharma, stand up to big government, or face big anything else. What Direct Care does want, though, is to be the alternative that patients and doctors are searching for. That better way. That breath of fresh air. And with prices like this, who can object that we’re headed in the right direction?

Posted by: AtlasMD

October 19, 2016

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Quality of Care vs Third Parties.

Quality of Care Third parties are supposed to be helpful. But when they’re not, the result can be incredibly detrimental.

This study from The Physician’s Foundation threw out a number, associated that number with docs who felt third party elements actually took away from their ability to provide quality patient care, and that number is quite staggering.

About two-thirds (72%) said third-party intrusions detract from the quality of care.

Without generalizing too much, it’s saying that pretty much everyone agrees with the whole “direct is better” concept. Think of it this way. On some level, we all want to pour a foundation for the next generation to build upon. To leave footprints in which others may follow, right? In the epic battle between quality of care and third parties, third parties are winning. So sad. But it gets worse. This study also says nearly half of physicians polled wouldn’t even recommend this profession to their own kids. Dang.

“Enough!” Says Direct Care.

Enough with the depressing stats. Enough shattered expectations. Enough putting up with a system that breaks doctors. The story Direct Care tells is different. It’s one of hope. Passion. Freedom. Direct Care puts its foot down, and cuts out the middle man. You know, outside stuff that gets in the way of you doing your job. Direct Care essentially acts as a bulldozer for all those things. What traditional healthcare says is vital and can’t be worked around, Direct Care says isn’t more important than patient care. Forget about all the stuff that trips you up and leaves you wishing you had another 15 minutes to spend in the exam room. Or cursing at a mountain of paperwork every evening. Wait, wait. Shhh. Listen.

Can you hear them? That 72% who just heard that they don’t have to deal with third party anything if they don’t want to? They’re popping corks and throwing up confetti. They’re celebrating. Oh, we know how they feel. It’s amazing to know there’s a better way. To know that the alternative to your broken dreams are new dreams you never even imagined before. Not only helping patients on your time and their time at the same time (wrap your head around that one…) but not having to jump through hoops to do it.

Practice Direct Care. It’s the solution to third party madness, and it just might be the ticket to preserving a healthcare industry the next generation actually wants to be a part of.

Posted by: AtlasMD

June 17, 2016

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How to be the Best Problem Solver Your Patients Have Ever Worked With.

ImageForProblemSolving01

As a DPC provider, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the doc, sure. But sometimes you’re also the nurse, pharma, scheduler, accountant, and cleaning person. All important. All over the board. So what’s the single most important thing you do? Solve your patients’ problems. It’s probably easier than you think.

How to be the Best Problem Solver Your Patients Have Ever Worked With.

Patients come see you for all sorts of things. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you’re totally perplexed by the reason one of your patients sits in your exam room. It’s commentary you thought only existed on that Reddit thread about what should be considered medical common knowledge. (You’re searching for it now, aren’t you?)

You are, by trade, a problem solver. Honestly, when was the last time you got an email from your patient saying, “Hey doc! I feel amazing. Have some time today to chat about it?” Your patients have a lot going on in their lives, and they rely on you to be their problem solver. They rely on you to confirm their sneaking suspicion (ahem, Google) is right and their child’s skin condition is, in fact, eczema (and treatable!). Alternatively, they lean on you to advise them to stay far, far away from the internet because one minor headache doesn’t mean brain aneurism.

Okay, in all seriousness (and because we feel a little guilty for laughing at the expense of our patients!), in a world where people are drug through the mud to attain and maintain their health, you have to be their voice of reason – and that means doing one thing very, very well.

Listening.

It’s that simple. And it’s the single most important thing you can do to be the best problem solver your patients have ever worked with. They might be distressed about their condition. They might be worried about an impending diagnosis. They might be unaware a problem even exists. They might be in pain, literally. They might be confused about their symptoms. Problems come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter how they’re feeling about their health, the important thing is to get them talking so you can listen very carefully. Because the answer to your patients’ problem lies right there in between the complaint and side note anecdote of what they did last weekend.

Hopefully you’re not rushing through your day as a DPC doc (your business model is set up to give you the gift of time, after all). But if you happen to be feeling the burden of wearing all those hats at the moment, stop for a minute and remember the only thing you have to do to keep patients coming through the door is… listen. Your incredibly well-trained and compassionate mind will take over from there. Problem, solved.