If you want your business that’s here today, to be here tomorrow, embracing change is key. Dr. Delicia Haynes, CEO & Founder of Family First Health Center in Daytona Beach answered our questions about the Direct Primary Care movement and how implementing this innovative model of care has changed her business.
Tell us about the “Direct Medical Care” movement and why you made the decision to transition your practice into this model of care?
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is an innovative way of providing highly personalized primary care and simplifying health care delivery. Patients sign up as members to a DPC clinic and get unlimited primary care services (physicals, sick visits, chronic disease management, well-woman exams, etc.) at a predictable monthly investment. There are no co-pays, deductibles or insurance hassles. Our patients enjoy same or next day appointments, longer 1:1 time with the Doctor, convenient virtual visits and more. It even includes basic lab work!
Do you believe this is the model of the future and if so, why?
I believe this model of providing direct care is the future of health care delivery. When we are able to cut out the “middle man” for routine primary care, we can lower the cost of care, increase cost transparency, and keep the patient in charge. Insurance is important to have for unexpected catastrophic events (i.e. hurricane damage, car wrecks, major surgery), but it’s not needed for more routine life events (i.e. broken windows, oil changes, sinus infections). When you file insurance claims for every little thing, it drives up the cost. Health insurance is not health care.
Even specialists like the Oklahoma Surgery Center are offering transparent fee schedules available online www.surgerycenterok.com.
What were the business decisions that led you to move to this model of care?
In 2014, I was at a crossroads. The area’s largest insurance company threatened a 40% pay cut and my biller was pouched by a larger organization. I Knew in order to stay in business I would either have to double the number of patients I saw per day, fire staff, sell to a larger organization and risk not being able to practice medicine in line with my values, leave clinical medicine altogether, or change my business model. I had built an outwardly successful fee-for-service insurance based practice but was feeling like I had to work for the insurance companies instead of for my patients. In 2015, I took a stand for the doctor patient relationship and became the area’s first Direct Primary Care Clinic.
How does providing this model of care impact the way you run your business?
DPC has greatly simplified the running of the practice and enhanced the patient and employee experience. Member fees are sent monthly and patients have enhanced access to the clinic. We spend 30 minutes to an hour with patients. DPC reduces the need for administrative overhead. The business side of medicine is running in the background and providing top quality care is our #1 focus.
How are you planning for growth?
We are planning to grow by adding satellite locations and additional doctors as our membership grows. Members are surveyed on what they want and those results fuel additional services. We have partnered with area businesses to provide high quality comprehensive primary care for their team that is cost effective. Business owners can offer our service as a meaningful health benefit allowing them to attract and retain talent, decrease absenteeism, increase productivity, create a healthier workforce, and decrease their overall health care spend. Employees can get care without having to leave work.
What factors will allow you to be successful over time?
Keeping the patient‑doctor relationship at the forefront keeps us successful. I draw on the negative experience I had as a patient to create the type of practice I wish I had. We are fierce patient advocates. At the end of the day, people want to know that you are going to take care of them. We are tired of spending a lot on health insurance and not being satisfied with our health care.
What other emerging trends do you see in the way in which medical care is delivered?
Tech should never fully replace touch, but I see that we will continue to leverage technology to enhance care. Wearable devices allow for easier transmission of data to physicians who can then intervene early on. It can also improve accountability and communication in between office visits.