What is a Direct Primary Care (DPC) clinic?
To streamline clinic operations and provide the best care for our patients, we have made a conscious decision to cut out red tape and bureaucratic nonsense. For this reason, we don’t accept insurance of any kind. This allows us to provide accurate, up-front pricing for which our patients can easily budget.
Is this "concierge medicine?"
We strive to provide the same level of service that someone would receive with a concierge practice, but at a price-point that most people can afford. Many concierge-style practices charge a $5,000+ per year retainer.
Do I still need to carry insurance?
A membership with Sartell Family Medicine is not a replacement for insurance and a membership does not fulfill the insurance requirement mandated by the Affordable Care Act (AKA “Obamacare”). Most of our patients have a high-deductible insurance plan. We do still treat patients without insurance, but we highly recommend carrying insurance for catastrophic events (ER visits, surgeries, hospitalizations, etc).
Can I use my HSA account to pay for membership/services?
Some HSA/insurance providers do not allow patients to pay for monthly membership fees using their HSA money. The membership fee within a DPC practice is currently viewed as a “supplemental insurance,” which by definition, may make the patient ineligible to save money in an HSA account. HRA or FSA accounts are usually acceptable for payment of membership fees. Laws are changing rapidly, so this may change soon.
It is the patient’s responsibility to check with their HSA/insurance provider before using their HSA for membership fees.
HSA, HRA, and FSA accounts are indeed able to be used to purchase medication, as well as laboratory and procedural services.
Are there any contracts or commitments to joining?
There are no minimum term lengths for membership. You remain a member as long as you remain up to date on your membership fee. If you decide to cancel your membership, we will retain your membership fee for the remainder of the month. Your membership will expire on the last day of the month.
Can I restart my membership after cancelling?
Yes, you can rejoin the clinic after canceling. This is dependent the clinic’s capacity to accept new patients. All members who resume their membership are subject to a $250/person membership reactivation fee.
What if I'm healthy and don't visit the clinic? Can I get a refund?
We’re happy that you’re healthy! That means we are both doing our job! In addition to the services that are provided at your clinic appointments, the membership fee also pays for medical management services (making sure you stay up to date on screening tests, immunizations, etc.). If we started to reward patients that had fewer visits, it might encourage patients to second-guess making an appointment and seeking care when they need it. We prefer pro-active medicine, rather than waiting until it becomes an emergency.
Can I be seen in your clinic if I'm not a member?
Can I visit your clinic and learn more before joining?
Yes, of course! Stop by our clinic during business hours. We’d be happy to introduce you to the staff and give you a tour of the clinic!
Are there any patients you do not see?
We do not provide prenatal or obstetrical care. We do see pregnant/OB patients for non-pregnancy-related concerns. We’d be happy to see your new guy/gal in clinic after they are born!
We are also currently closed to all Medicare patients. Federal guidelines require that providers who are currently enrolled within Medicare must accept payments for medical services. Because we do not accept insurance, we are unable to treat Medicare patients at this time. (Laws are rapidly changing and this may change in the future.)
How long are appointments?
- Urgent Care/Injuries: 30 minutes
- Preventative Medicine: 60 minutes
- Chronic Disease Management: 30-60 minutes
How do you handle lab work?
We have a good number of laboratories tests at our clinic that are available for an additional fee. If we are unable to perform a laboratory test ourselves, we will collect the specimen at our clinic and send an order to an outside laboratory.
How do you handle imaging/radiology studies?
X-rays are referred to CDI in Sartell. Patient pricing is $60.50 for each x-ray study. All other radiology studies (ultrasound, mammography, CT, MRI) are referred to CDI, but must be paid for by the patient directly (or through their insurance). Bedside ultrasound is also at our clinic for an additional fee (for selected studies).
How do you handle vaccinations?
We currently only carry vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (TDaP/DTaP) and influenza. We notify you about which vaccinations your child needs. Most of these can be given at local pharmacies. As we expand our clinic, we may also expand the number of vaccinations we carry.
What is your policy on vaccinations?
We believe that the benefits of vaccines outweigh any potential risks. Most vaccines are very safe. If you object to vaccination, we will continue to see you (and your children) as patients. However, we will use every appointment as an opportunity to provide you with additional education on the matter.
What is your policy on opiates/pain medication?
There are very few indications for opiate pain medicines. Chronic pain or back pain are typically not treated with opiates. We prescribe these medications very sparingly. Pain is experienced differently by individual patients. We believe in a more holistic approach to treating pain (function, psychological, organic).
What is your policy on benzodiazepines/anxiety medication?
Similar to opiate pain medicines, benzodiazepines have a very limited use within our clinic. We do not prescribe them for chronic anxiety. This should be managed with non-addictive medications and psychotherapy. Benzodiazepines will provide a “band-aid” for anxiety (on which patients become dependent), rather than having them learn coping skills.
What is your policy on sleep disorders/sleep medication?
We don’t typically prescribe medications such as Ambien ®, Lunesta ®, or Sonata ®. Studies are very clear about these medications: they only help you get to sleep a few minutes earlier than normal, they don’t provide any more restful sleep, and they have potentially dangerous side-effects. We recommend other treatment modalities, such as good sleep hygiene, non-sedating medications (such as melatonin), and exercise.
What is your policy on ADD/ADHD/stimulant medication?
Our first-line treatment of ADD/ADHD is with non-stimulant medication (Strattera ®) and psychotherapy. All patients who are seeking treatment for these conditions must have a diagnosis from a psychologist or psychiatrist.
I know what's wrong with me. Can I just get a prescription/lab test?
Operating as Direct Primary Care clinic [where some patients may be paying out of pocket] does not enable patients to make their own medical decisions. We encourage an open-discussion with our patients regarding their symptoms and concerns. Whenever possible, we strive to practice evidence-based medicine – meaning that our decisions are supported by medical research.
State/Federal guidelines will not allow us to see patients who are receiving Medicare or Medicaid benefits.