7 December 2018
Hello and thank you reading my blog at Beyond Primary Care and trying the BPC Good Eats recipes. This featured recipe is a Tuna Harvest Salad. These recipes are my attempt, in a way, to bridge that Doctor’s adage of “Eat Better & Exercise More.” In this post, I will showcase a healthy meal made on a budget, my pictures are pretty decent, and that is how I got into this food endeavor.
Tuna Harvest Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Adapted from: Damn Delicious
4 (2 oz) cans tuna in water, drained
1 cup greek yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup green onions, diced
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
4 leaves Bibb lettuce
2 apples, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 (16 oz) package baby carrots
1 (16 oz) package raw almonds
1 lb red grapes, seedless
1) In a medium bowl, combine tuna, yogurt, lemon juice, dijon mustard, carrots, green onions, and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2) Place lettuce leaves into meal prep container. Top with tuna mixture.
3) Arrange apples, cucumbers, baby carrots, almonds, and grapes around tuna mixture.
4 December 2018
I recently met a doctor and self-proclaimed underserved medicine wonk who bellowed that DPC doctors ‘cherry pick’ healthier and wealthier patients, leaving the the vast majority of individuals without care and fewer doctors to choose from. Nothing is farther from the truth- Direct Primary Care is not concierge medicine. I wanted to scream (I didn’t) that this perception whereby accepting a patient’s insurance somehow improves access to health care. I wanted to point out how the health care services this doctor was providing relies so heavily on third-party reimbursement systems, costs for their medical care have likely gone up. But in the end, the before-mentioned doctor was so entrenched in the health care insurance matrix, I could only use their misconceptions to help educate others.
Direct Primary Care doctors run their own business so that we can do what is right for a change in health care; Treat individuals the way everyone wants to be treated by giving patients the time and peace of mind they deserve. We have transparent pricing on the care for our memberships, and do not charge more for complicated patients, or management of difficult or chronic medical conditions that require more frequent trips to see the doctor. Our plans work great for anyone at any level of insurance or for individuals at any level of savings and income.
Direct Primary Care wants to work for you.
My goal with opening a direct primary care practice was to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to everyone in the community. I have worked in the fee-for-service system, up-billing every visit to maximize insurance reimbursement (remember, costs are passed down- ultimately to the patient). I remember the conversations about patient’s prescribed blood pressure medications that cost $100 a month, and how I felt powerless to offer alternative ways of obtaining more affordable medications. I know the gut-wrenching decisions I had to make in cutting short a conversation about a patient’s knee pain because I was already a half-hour behind, offering them to return for a subsequent visit two weeks away.
At some point, my job as a family doctor in the fee-for-service system felt more like just a title and salary. After spending the better part of a decade in medical school and post-graduate training, I wanted my role as a doctor to have value. Value for providing my patients with unparalleled access to care. Value for providing my patients with transparent pricing on health care services and helping them navigate the system when needed. Value for sitting down with my patients, spending the time with them that is needed, and being there. That is the value in Beyond Primary Care.
26 November 2018
It is fairly easy in exceeding office expectations for the area of customer service, as people have an increasingly low expectation for the service they get at the doctor’s office. It’s normal in fee-for-service office systems to have to wait an hour or more to be seen, and then get only a few minutes of the doctor’s time (if a doctor is seen at all). Many patients often find they half-day off or work or activities, just to be seen. This has left people seeking alternative facilities, such as urgent-care type setting for their ailments.
You likely scheduled a 15-minute time slot. When the doctor’s medical assistant calls you back, you are on the clock. 15 minutes includes everything: time to walk back from the waiting room to the exam room, time for the medical assistant to take vitals (eg- blood pressure, temperature), time for the medical assistant to do the office intake questions. All this, even with the best and fastest medical assistant takes 7 minutes at a minimum. That leaves 8 minutes. 8 minutes for the doctor to do any courtesy conversation (eg- how have things been, what have you been up to since we last spoke), time for the history of illness questions, time for the physical exam, time for discussing what the possible diagnosis is, and time to wrap up the visit by either dispensing medications, ordering laboratory studies, or helping to coordinate your care. By the way, the doctor is going to want to document that visit in your electronic health record. 8 minutes is NOT enough to discuss acute or chronic illness, let alone anything. This results in, at best, frustration. At worst, people avoid care they should be getting.
With Beyond Primary Care, a premium is placed on exceeding office expectations, and again this is done because it’s in the best interest of our clinic, but returning health care to what it once was- focused on patient care.
14 November 2018
If you are in the process of open-enrollment, consider a better plan- Direct Primary Care (DPC) with Health Insurance. This post is the second of a two-part blog post where I detail how anyone, regardless of their coverage of insurance, would potentially stand to benefit from direct primary care services. Check my earlier blog postings for the first part (and other cool things too… like the recipe for a yummy Chicken Noodle Soup).
You read my first post and have looked at your own insurance or enrollment options, and say “I am paying a lot of money for health insurance.” Maybe you are left wondering how direct primary care can fit in or rather “What kind of health insurance should I purchase with DPC?” I went on a health insurance exchange to give everyone a better idea of what pairing insurance and a membership to Beyond Primary Care would be like.
Practical & Affordable
The following slide features a hypothetical family of four, that lives in Ann Arbor, MI. Let’s say the parents are in their 40s and they have two young children. Their household income is $65,600/year, which is the median. This family has a number of things happen in the course of their hypothetical 2017, listed in the left column. A somewhat busy year medically, but not catastrophic.The family purchases either a gold (high premium, low deductible) plan, a bronze (low premium, high deductible) plan, or a bronze plan paired with Beyond Primary Care ($130 a month for family membership). Then let’s see what each of these occurrences “costs” out-of-pocket under each of the three scenarios, and then add up the total out-of-pocket expenses for 2019 in the last row.
Notice that in the last column, the family paid their bronze plan premium ($10,908 for the year) AND the monthly fee for Beyond Primary Care ($130/month, or $1,560 for the year). Despite the extra expense of Beyond Primary Care, they still came out way ahead compared to the gold and bronze plans. This is because Beyond Primary Care offers many types of out-of-pocket savings, including: no visit copays, no additional fee for stitches, and substantial discounts on labwork, medications, and radiology. These savings help to hedge against using that high deductible.
Tolerance & Values
At some point in your research of health insurance, it no longer becomes analytical but needs to revolve around a conversation about tolerances and values.
What is your risk tolerance? As example, if you pick plan ‘B,’ what monetary hit can your family afford to take if you get ‘run over by the bus?’ Health care in the US, is a service, and it is expensive. What do you value in your healthcare? As example, do you care about longitudinal care? This is where a doctor really knows you and your family. Do you value access to your doctor, or appointments that run on-time?
With Direct Primary Care, patients are paying the practice, so we are very conscious of trying to give a patient their money’s worth. If DPC can give them value (a concept that has become foreign to healthcare) and patients are happy with our care, they will continue to stay in the practice. It’s in DPC’s best interest to do this, so we do a number of things to save patients’ money:
Health Insurance can be Expensive.
Insurance is a hedge against financial disaster, not a prepaid healthcare. DPC is not meant to replace insurance, nor does the model in any way encourage patients to drop their insurance. People need a way to pay for the high-cost areas of care, such as surgery and hospitalizations. DPC doesn’t try to address paying those costs.
Direct Primary care does offer excellent and affordable healthcare that can compliment a person’s insurance. DPC focuses on decreasing their patient’s need for specialty care, ER visits, and hospitalizations by focusing on health and prevention. Doing so can (and does) reduce the need. With Direct Primary care we are delivering a higher level of care at a known price.
7 November 2018
If you are in the process of open-enrollment, consider a better plan- Direct Primary Care (DPC) with Health Insurance. I often get the question, “How does direct primary care work with health insurance?” This post is the first of a two-part blog post where I detail how anyone, regardless of their coverage of insurance our level of income would potentially stand to benefit from direct primary care (DPC) services. Check my blog post regularly for the second part (and other cool things too… like the recipe for a Dorito Taco Salad, because why not?!).
Figure out your Monthly Costs: Known as a Premium
Premiums are what you pay on a monthly basis to be insured. Premiums vary on the type of plan you choose. As example, you’ve done your homework and picked a health plan that costs $150 per month. You are paying $1,800 for essentially an insurance retainer, a cost to keep your insurance active. You’ll need to pay your premium on time every month.
Direct Primary Care has most membership fees are between $50-$100. The pricing for membership fees at my clinic, Beyond Primary Care, can be found here. This gets you full access to your doctor, regardless how many times you need to be seen. You could pay around $600 a year. The cost of a DPC membership is often significantly less than just the cost of having the insurance, let alone using it.
Reaching your Deductible
Deductibles are what you have to pay out of pocket before your health care plan kicks in. You may also have different annual deductibles for different types of care (as example: hospital care, laboratory tests, medications, etc). As example, you pick a plan with a $1,000 deductible meaning you are on the hook for all medical bills up to that amount before insurance kicks in.
Direct Primary Care provides you with with primary care services without government or insurance involvement. Your membership to a DPC practice does not influence your deductible. As example, you see your DPC doctor because of a mysterious symptoms. That visit was covered by your membership. When a person goes to a traditional fee-for-service practice, they won’t know the cost of care upfront, and labs and medications are potentially much more expensive than we offer. The predictability and transparency of cost is what makes DPC appealing.
Understanding the Relationships between Premiums and Deductibles
If you are healthy, you may want to dish out as little money as possible on the monthly premiums (to keep more in your own pocket), but still have coverage in case of an accident, sudden illness, or life change. Be aware, the less you pay for that monthly premium, the higher your annual deductible. Some folks may want a low deductible, but your premium will be thousands of dollars a year.
Direct Primary Care offers these healthier people improved access to care. Just because you are assigned a doctor by your insurance doesn’t actually mean you get to see your doctor, let alone in a timely fashion. DPC does not charge more for complicated patients, or management of difficult or chronic medical conditions that require more frequent trips to see the doctor.
This is a fixed percentage of your medical bill you share with your insurance company once you have reached your deductible. As example, you have a 80/20 plan. This means if you have a doctor visit after you reached your deductible, and their fee is $150, you are on the hook for $30 while your insurance covers the rest. You still have your copayment though.
This feature is just as important as premiums and deductibles, and is a term for the total amount your insurance plan will require you to spend on medical care in a single year. If you reach this amount, your health insurance will cover the rest of your care. Note, you may have reached your deductible, but are below your out-of-pocket maximum, you will still be required to pay some of your health care costs.
Seeking Transparency in Health Care Costs
No wonder health insurance is so frustrating and confusing for most people. Using automobile insurance as a parallel, health insurance has done the equivalent of paying for gas, oil changes, windshield wipers, and other car repairs in addition to covering collision and liability. Using insurance would allow these things to have artificially set prices which are unreasonably high (since it’s covered by insurance). The cost of your routine maintenance would go up, and insurance could dictate what shop or gas station you could go to for service. But in reality, consumers are already motivated to do those things and will pay out of pocket to maintain their car so as to avoid needing to use their auto insurance at all.
Health insurance is suppose to be a hedge against financial disaster, but people are seemingly are using insurance to cover every ache, pain, anxiety, and pill resulting in artificially inflated prices. How can a outpatient clinic charge $600 for 1-hr procedure? Or $90 for a generic medication? Because unlike bananas, Americans and most doctors have NO idea what an one hour procedure or generic medication should cost- and ultimately how much they will be on the hook for- until they decide to get it done. For better or worse, this has created a demand for transparency among individuals. Direct Primary Care can help fill that void. Check back soon for part 2 of this blog post.
17 October 2018
Beyond Primary Care is hosting an open house this month and next month!
All open house events start approximately at noon. Dr. O’Boyle will discuss his clinic Beyond Primary Care, and the movement of Direct Primary Care, for approximately 10 minutes. Afterwards he will take questions from anyone. If your question is really good, it may end up on our FAQ page!
Can’t make these dates or times but still interested? Don’t worry, just contact us or call 734-395-2850. We will work with your schedule to arrange a time where you can visit the clinic and discuss your health care!
Hearing about Beyond Primary Care for the first time? Beyond Primary Care is a family medicine clinic and a part of a new way for patients to access medical care called ‘direct primary care.’ The model is membership based health care, where the patient pays a monthly fee directly to the clinic. The doctor provides the patient with primary medical care without insurance or government involvement. The patients get great access at a low, predictable cost, about the same as a cell phone or cable plan. This model allows the clinic to offer innovative services to further add value to the membership.
16 October 2018
Did I mention that at Beyond Primary Care in Ann Arbor Michigan, we aim to bring affordable blood work to you by being 100% transparent about our pricing? I have mentioned this before about individual medications, but after all, there is more than just medications to be transparent about.
Can you remember an instance where a doctor advised you to get blood work done, but they didn’t know if your insurance would cover it or even how much it would cost? There are examples of this occurring all the time in the news. Such as a $17,000 bill for a urine drug screen or owing $478 dollars for a complete blood count and comprehensive metabolic panel (Our shameless self-promoting plug, Beyond Primary Care’s total price for these tests is $17.28). As a personal example, my wife recently got blood work for what the doctors described as a nominal cost. Yet, the explanation of benefits we received stated the insurance would not cover the tests, which are priced at 4-figures! Upon discovering this and discussing with both the insurance and the doctor’s office, no one has yet to give us reassurances or answers. No transparency there.
The jury is still out on my personal experience, but you can avoid the headaches and uncertainty of this type of disjointed healthcare. At Beyond Primary Care, if lab work is needed, Dr. O’Boyle will discuss with you the reason for the blood work and discuss the total costs of the blood work before beginning. Dr. O’Boyle performs his own blood draws (naturally at no additional cost to you), and then finally sends them out to be interpreted at those agreed upon reduced costs.
What about those affordable blood work results? Dr. O’Boyle will communicate with you what the laboratory study means, perhaps in office, through a phone call, or a text- just to give you peace of mind. That is comprehensive family medicine.
24 September 2018
Beyond Primary Care, a new direct primary care clinic serving the Ann Arbor area has launched!
Unlike traditional primary care practices, Beyond Primary Care is a direct primary care facility. It’s unique business model makes quality healthcare affordable to people whether they have insurance or not. Direct primary care brings healthcare back to what it once was- a service dedicated to patient care and not paperwork or hassles.
Beyond Primary Care does not bill insurance companies. This means Dr. O’Boyle is free to work directly with the patient without worrying about billing codes and the ensuing insurance battles. Patients will receive high-quality care without the high-quality price tag. No insurance codes, no long wait times, direct communication, no worries. Beyond Primary Care offers most labs and medications provided in-office are offered at greatly reduced prices for the members.
To learn more about Beyond Primary Care’s DPC facility or to take a tour of our facility, contact or stop by the office. We are located at 2500 Packard St, Suite 105, Ann Arbor Michigan. Our phone number is (734) 395-2850.
13 September 2018
11 Days from today Beyond Primary Care will officially open its doors!
11 Days from today I will have the chance to practice affordable and comprehensive family medicine.
11 Days from today the people of Ann Arbor and surround towns will have an option to get that price transparency and peace of mind we all seek in healthcare providers.
As you can see, the office space is coming together. I still have to hang a few pictures and equipment on the walls.
If you are interested in making a pre-enrollment appointment to learn more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
22 August 2018
Thank you for visiting my website and taking the time to go through the pages. As we continue, the Beyond Primary Care blog will feature commentary on the latest health news, recipes, health information articles, daily happenings in the Ann Arbor Michigan area, as well as snippets of work at Beyond Primary Care and Dr. Jeff O’Boyle. Stay tuned!