This year has seen quite the “health care” debate. Members of Congress believe they have the solution to make health care affordable and keep health insurance markets from collapsing. But the so-called health care debate in Washington has nothing to do with actual health care, it has to do with health insurance. To solve the problems with actual health care, it’s time to work with the providers and the “boots on the ground,” because dealing with the insurance system is not the answer.
Over the last few decades, we have seen health care go from a doctor-patient relationship to a corporate, insurance-based, fee-for-service model that seems to increase fees and shorten visit times which could, in some cases, equate to less service and lower clinical outcomes.
It is time to switch that model. We all should have health insurance for catastrophic events, like knee surgery or a heart attack. But instead of tapping into insurance for every ear infection, strep throat and rash, people should consider a membership-based primary care model where the doctor-patient relationship is number one.
Solving Health Care
A membership-based primary care model becomes the solution because it eliminates the barriers that keep people from seeing their doctors.
Barrier #1 – Extra fees
$40 co-pays and regular fees of $100-$200 per visit to cover what insurance doesn’t, is something most people experience every day. But it shouldn’t be happening. These extra out-of-pocket expenses keep people from going to the doctor. How many times have you said about yourself, your child or another family member, “Maybe just wait another day and see if the symptoms improve,” in order to avoid one more medical payment?
The membership-based primary care model is like a gym membership. Pay a flat fee to see a primary care provider as many times as you need every month. That way, when a patient has nagging ear pain or sore throat, they stop worrying about “how much this is gonna cost them” and focus instead on seeing the physician to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Barrier #2 – Lack of doctor connection
Since insurance took over the health care delivery system, doctor-patient visit times have shrunk significantly to what now is a 10 to 15-minute average visit. To talk with the patient and examine them, even for the most basic diagnosis, it usually takes longer than 10 to 15 minutes, which instantly puts the doctor behind schedule (see barrier #3 below) and leaves no time for patients to address additional concerns, questions, preventative care and education.
But affordable monthly family medicine does allow for that. Our doctor visits are approximately 30 minutes to one hour. This gives the patient time for their exam, to ask questions about their illness, but also if they have other concerns they can bring them up at this time. Because we allow for more time with a physician, the level of trust and connection increases between the doctor and our members.
Barrier #3 – The dreadful “waiting room delay”
We have all been in a medical clinic waiting room, where the wait ends up longer than the visit with your doctor. With dozens of people in a small space, some are actively sick, some are not. No one wants to catch an illness like the flu or a cold simply by sitting in a waiting room.
The economic model for membership-based primary care allows for doctors to stay on schedule, ending the waiting room experience. At PeakMed, when members check in, they are quickly brought into their exam room for their doctor visit.
Health insurance is not providing solutions to eliminate these barriers; neither is the “health care debate” in Washington. The solution is at PeakMed, where health care providers have produced an alternative experience for health care. People are taking notice. Recently the Colorado Springs Gazette wrote an editorial about how health care professionals, like the ones at PeakMed, are becoming the solution by breaking away from the status quo. Patients rave about their experience at PeakMed, both in their treatment as well as in the customer courtesy and convenience they receive. We are in the midst of a revolution to solve health care in the United States and we invite you to join us.