Important Message from Dr. Vecchiarelli June 9, 2015
As many of you know, I have become increasingly frustrated with health insurance companies and government interference in the practice of Medicine. Insurance rates, as well as deductibles and co-payments, continue to increase, while actual insurance payments to physicians have been declining to the point where private physicians can barely stay in business. Private family doctors are being forced to see more patients and spend less time with them; or they can choose to sell out to large hospital systems with huge bureaucracies. Many are just closing their doors completely. Insurance companies dictate which hospital a patient can use, which meds you can take, and which specialists you can see. More and more of a physician’s time is spent trying to get insurance approval for diagnostic tests and authorization for medications-usually from a non-medically trained person reading from a flow chart. In truth, I currently spend more than half of my day doing useless paperwork for the insurance companies, when I could otherwise be spending this valuable time treating my patients. Because I can no longer afford to continue to practice Medicine the way I want, I have had to consider other options, such as selling my practice to Memorial or Penrose Hospital, working as an employee at an urgent care center or clinic, or fully retiring from the practice of Medicine to pursue a different profession. However, none of these options would allow me to provide the care I believe my patients truly deserve.
In response to these inefficiencies, rather than remain an impaired participant in the problem with healthcare, I have decided to become part of the solution. After careful consideration and extensive research, I have found a way I may continue to practice Medicine, and in the way I believe will serve my patients in the manner they deserve.
Beginning September 1st of this year, I will no longer accept ANY insurance contracts, including Medicare. I will be converting my practice to a “Direct Primary Care” (or DPC) model. This means that we will no longer collect co-payments or bill the patient’s insurance company for any medical services. Instead, my patients will pay a monthly membership fee that includes unlimited office visits and direct access to me, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The enclosed brochure lists the many other benefits available to members.
This innovative type of practice is a rapidly growing trend that is getting national attention because it delivers superior care to patients and saves money for both the patient and the entire healthcare system. I will no longer be dealing with insurance companies, and for this simple reason, will be able to spend more time with my patients, offering greater access for appointments, and handling concerns personally. Your health care should be between you and your doctor, with no interference from the government or any insurance company. The DPC model eliminates these middle men in the doctor-patient relationship and allows me to spend more time with my patients, assisting them in getting the medical care they need in a much more relaxed, personal and cost-efficient manner. With DPC, I will have sufficient time to listen to you and focus on how to optimize your health, without being rushed.
The cost of joining the DPC is surprisingly affordable and may be covered by your employer or flexible spending plan. You may also use an HSA account to pay your monthly fee. The following details the low cost per individual:
- $19 for children 0-20 when one parent is enrolled
- $10 for each additional child
- $49 for ages 21-40
- $69 for ages 41-64
- $99 for ages 65 and over
There is no long term contract; you can cancel at any time if you don’t feel that this model is right for you. If you decide to join my DPC practice, I would still encourage you to keep a high-deductible or catastrophic insurance plan for hospitalization or surgery. You may be able to reduce your monthly premiums by a few hundred dollars by converting to this type of plan, and your savings will more than offset the low monthly fee of DPC. Also consider that a typical ER visit can cost thousands of dollars, but as a member, you have access to me 24/7 for minor emergencies.
On our website, pineridgefamilymedicine.com, there are a few links to websites which explain Direct Primary Care in more detail. In addition, you can:
Print a patient contract and make your first payment to reserve your membership: pineridgefamilymedicine.com
Arrange to have your medical records transferred to another medical provider: firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail any other questions: email@example.com
I am honored that you have trusted me to be your doctor, and in order to serve my patients at the highest level of care, I will not be able to accommodate everyone in my current practice with this model. However, my current patients will be prioritized above new patients on a first-come, first-served basis. If I have reached full capacity and you would like to enroll, you will be placed on a wait list for the next available opening. If you decide not to join the DPC we will be happy to assist you in finding another primary care doctor and transferring all of your medical records at no charge.
I will be hosting two informational meetings at the Liberty High School auditorium to provide a more in depth look at how DPC works. Please join me on Friday evening, June 26th, at 6:00pm; or Saturday morning, July 11th, at 9:00am. Please RSVP by calling our 719-550-5180 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.Click here for maps and directions.
I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this letter. Please contact us if you have any questions, and please note we must hear from you as soon as possible if you’d like to become a member in this revolutionary approach to care! With over 25 years practicing Medicine, I see this is the future of premier medical care and I am confident this endeavor will provide the care you deserve at a cost we can all afford!
Anthony Vecchiarelli, MD