Direct primary care is new and confusing for a lot of people. We’ve received lots of comments addressing concerns, and will use this post as a “Mythbusters” style–showing questions and comments people have had, and our response. Without further ado:

“Since Grand Teton Health isn’t in the insurance world, how is the doctor held liable?”

All doctors are regulated by the Board of Medicine, which is the government body that licenses doctors to practice medicine. An insurance company is a business, not a regulatory body. Their objective is to make money by 1) taking in premiums and 2) NOT paying for your healthcare. Dr. Figg is liable directly to his patients because they pay him directly, and could choose to leave the practice if they aren’t satisfied. His incentive is to provide excellent care and to keep his patients satisfied and healthy.

“He has chosen NOT to seek hospital privileges–why would you not want to have privileges to admit to even one hospital?”

Hospital privileges come with financial and time requirements that we feel do not improve the care that Grand Teton Health provides. Current medical staff bylaws at our local hospital would actually require Dr. Figg to admit a certain number of patients to the hospital every year to maintain his admitting privileges. This seems counterproductive, since Dr. Figg strongly feels his job is to keep his patients OUT of the hospital as much as possible. If our patients do need to be admitted to the hospital, they will be cared for by the excellent hospitalists employed by the hospital, and Dr. Figg will coordinate your post-hospital care with them.

“The patient agreement states this is not a substitute for health insurance. Who can afford to pay him and for health insurance coverage?”

By choosing a high-deductible plan, short-term catastrophic plan, or health-sharing ministry, in addition to our membership fee, monthly healthcare costs can be very reasonable. It is often jarring to me how much people are willing to spend on their phone or cable when compared to what really matters: their health.

“In our current corrupted healthcare for profit system, the PCP is a drug dealer and a profitability screener for institutions and insurance companies. Our system is upside down.”

I really hate finding out how badly our healthcare system overcharges people by masking the true cost of things, but I love showing them how much money direct primary care can save them. Today we saved a patient more than $4000 per year, just by changing where he gets his medications and lab work. He was paying more than $500 every few months for labs that cost us less than $30. His medications were more than $2000 per year because everything was going against his $6000 deductible. Our wholesale price for the same is just under $240 per year. Total cost through insurance: $4400 per year Total cost with Jackson Hole Direct Primary Care: $360 per year

Is this the new thing in medicine?

We really believe this is the new thing in medicine. There are many reasons why. The focus on wellness and preventive care, the discounts on labwork, telemedicine availability, and the stronger relationship with your physicians are among the best reasons to switch.

Can I see Dr. Figg if I’m enrolled in Medicare?

Yes. Medicare patients need to sign a one-time waiver agreeing that neither you nor the practice will bill medicare for our services. Medicare will still cover other services outside of our practice including things like medications, labs, and imaging that we prescribe.