Practicing medicine used to be about the patient. Now it has become a conglomeration of insurance nightmares, government control, and escalating costs. Fresh out of school I was excited and looked forward to the day when I saved my first life. I quickly learned that it was nothing like I expected.
The foundation of practicing medicine should be the provider/patient relationship. Some of you may remember when the doctor would come to your house, spend as much time as you needed, and do what was necessary to treat your ailment. Now you spend all day getting through to your doctor in an attempt schedule an appointment. If you’re lucky you’ll get an appointment in a reasonable amount of time. On appointment day you may get 15 minutes of their time and its not because they only want to spend that little of time with you, it’s out of necessity. Due to escalating costs and reductions to insurance reimbursement a family medicine doctor has to take on more and more patients just to turn a profit. Once that happens, their appointment lengths get shorter and they can only see so many patients in a day. After the provider sees you tests are ordered and medications may be started. In the current model the insurance company has to approve all of this before they’ll pay. No longer can the doctor decide what’s best for his patient, order it, and expect it to be covered. Why does an insurance company get to dictate what a doctor does? Did they spend the majority of their early in life school and take on a mountain of debt to keep the human race healthy? No… In most cases, they don’t even know what the diagnoses mean or why the tests are ordered. They simply say no and tell the doctor to try this instead. I could go on and on because that’s only the tip of the iceberg of what our healthcare system has become.
I’m sorry. I’ve digressed. This post is not meant to focus on our failing healthcare system. Its about the revolution that has become Direct Primary Care. I’ve worked close to 5 years in the emergency setting. Countless times I’ve seen our system fail the very people its there to support. Multiple people visit the ER daily because their doctor is too busy or due to lack of insurance and low income they cant afford to pay upfront. As I’ve seen this only get worse with the Affordable Care Act, I decided there had to be an alternative. In April of 2015, while working in the ER, I happened upon a video about a group in Wichita, KS. AtlasMd, they called themselves, was practicing healthcare without restraint and free from insurance. At first I was skeptical but the more I listened the more it made sense. They were to able to provide affordable, quality care, all while maintaining a lifestyle that didn’t require you to work excessive hours. Dr. Josh Umbehr, the founder of AtlasMD, was really the first one that opened my eyes to Direct Primary Care. I quickly discussed my enlightenment with some of my colleagues who I thought would be interested and Access Med started to form.
April 2015 was the first real conversation and the company finally got its name a month later. From there we visited AtlasMD in Kansas and our passion for this new movement only grew. Feeling emboldened, we worked through all the red tape to partner together and began our search for an office. After visiting several potential office locations we settled on one in October of 2015. Renovations began shortly after. In an effort to save money we did the majority of the renovations ourselves. My dad built houses for years so my background helped. We established relationships and built the foundation for our patients. We wanted to be ready to meet the majority of their needs from day one. The office officially opened on January 4th, 2016. We have developed several new partnerships with companies and the patient base grows daily. I’m excited to here all the buzz around the community and our patients are thrilled. Not only are they saving money but they get an hour with us and we use all of it. Their medications are cheaper and dispensed in house. Labs are also drawn in house. No one can argue with better access and better affordability.
While our practice is continuing to grow we will be sharing different stories and offering different partnerships with various disciplines. Ideally we want to be able to drop your costs for every aspect that you need to keep you healthy. Check here or our Facebook page regularly for news and updates as well as encouraging stories. I’m excited what the future of Access Med holds and I look forward to keeping everyone in the surrounding communities happy and healthy.
P.S. Visit our Facebook page and you can view the video that started it all.