What is direct primary care (DPC)?

  • DPC is a health care delivery model that provides an opportunity for patients and physicians to enter a relationship that puts the patient first. By providing primary care services for a low, flat monthly fee, patients get same-day or next-day visits without copays. With direct access to the physician, patients can also contact their doctor by phone, secure text, email, or video chat when care is needed. DPC offers unhurried office visits, access to discounts on medications, labs, pathology, and imaging, all without the need for insurance. By removing the intrusiveness and red tape of health insurance, we are able to deliver affordable care personalized for you.

Is Direct Primary Care the same as concierge medicine?

  • Good question. Concierge medicine and Direct Primary Care are often used interchangeably but, although they do share some similarities, there may be significant differences depending on the practice. Both concierge and DPC limit patient panel size and charge a monthly or annual fee, but concierge fees are usually higher, sometimes up to $30,000 a year. Another significant difference is that concierge medicine often continues to charge co-pays for each visit and bill insurance. DPC is a model based on a direct relationship between the physician and the patient, bypassing insurance to reduce costs, making it more affordable for patients. There are no co-pays, deductibles or hidden charges at Coastal DPC and all our patients are most valued!

Is DPC insurance?

  • No, DPC is not insurance.  The monthly service fee is your payment for ongoing primary care services offered by your physician. We strongly recommend that patients do have insurance for care that may be needed beyond what we offer (specialty care, ER or hospitalization, surgery, etc.). Direct primary care couples nicely with a high deductible “wrap around” or “catastrophic” policy.

Do you take my insurance?

  • No, we do not accept or bill health insurance. In the DPC model, we contract directly with the patient, not an insurance company, to provide quality care. By eliminating the restrictions and frustrations associated with health insurance, we keep costs low and spend as much time as needed with our patients. Insurance can be helpful in catastrophic situations, and we recommend that you do have insurance for emergencies, but you will find that much of the care you receive through Coastal DPC costs less than it would if you were using insurance.

If I have insurance, can I use it?

  • If you use Coastal DPC for your primary care, we will strive to keep you healthy and reduce the need for specialty care and hospitalizations, but there may be times that you will still need your insurance for specialty care, surgery, or hospitalizations. Coastal DPC is considered an “out of network” provider but most insurances, except HMO policies, will still cover tests, consultations and procedures ordered by out of network providers.

If I have Medicare, can I still become a patient at Coastal DPC?

  • Absolutely! You will need to sign a one-time waiver declaring that neither you nor our office will directly bill Medicare for our services. You can continue to use Medicare for laboratory testing, imaging, and medications prescribed by our office, as well as specialty care and hospitalizations. You may even find that you will save money on your primary care, labs and medications through our discounted pricing.

Are my Coastal DPC service charges tax deductible?

  • Unfortunately, no. At this time your monthly retainer is not yet defined as a “medical expense” in most states and as such is not deductible. Charges for labs and medications, however, may be deductible. The laws are in flux, so please consult with your tax accountant or attorney to discuss your particular circumstances.

What happens if I need to be hospitalized?

  • By providing excellent care with virtually unlimited access to your doctor, we seek to prevent or reduce hospitalizations. Since we no longer provide inpatient hospital care, when hospitalization is necessary we will collaborate with the hospitalist during your hospital stay. We are able, however, to make social visits to our hospitalized patients and encourage you to let us know if you are hospitalized.

Do you see children in your practice?

  • Yes! We are a family medicine practice, accepting patients of all ages, from newborns to nursing home residents. We do not currently provide routine vaccinations for young children, but as volume grows we hope to include these. And in the meantime, we will work with you to arrange necessary vaccines.

What if I need medical care while I’m traveling?

  • This is one of the benefits of being a patient of Coastal DPC—because we know you well, we can usually care for you even when you’re away from home. Many illnesses can be diagnosed and treated by communication through by phone, secure text, email, or webcam. If necessary and appropriate, we can call prescriptions into the pharmacy nearest you.

Will I have access to my medical records?

  • Our electronic medical record offers you 24/7 access to your medical chart through a patient portal. Your records are your property so you should be able to access them at your convenience and download them for free.

Do you share any medical records with insurance carriers or pharmaceutical companies?

  • No, unless you specifically request it. We take your privacy seriously, and we are not obligated to provide any third party with a copy of your records unless you specifically ask that we do and sign a release of records. In DPC, we contract directly with you!

What if I’m not satisfied?

  • We care about your experience and your satisfaction, and we continually strive to improve. If you are not satisfied for any reason, please let us know so we can work to resolve any problems. Open, honest communication is vital to our continued success and we want to hear from you. We also welcome compliments!

How long is the contract?

  • Coastal DPC operates on a monthly billing basis. There are no long-term contracts, so you may terminate your patient-physician relationship at any time. But we hope you don’t—please talk to us! If you decide to leave Coastal DPC, or if your payments lapse, the fee to reregister is $300.

What is your policy on controlled substances?

  • We believe that controlled substances, both narcotics (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, etc.) and benzodiazepines (Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, Xanax, etc), have a limited role in primary care and therefore Dr. Chris prescribes them rarely and only very sparingly. We believe chronic pain requiring narcotics is best managed by a pain management specialist, but we are happy to work with you on non-narcotic options for your pain and to manage your other medical conditions. We do not treat anxiety with benzodiazepines, but are happy to offer other medications and techniques often successful in treating anxiety. No controlled substances are kept in the office.

If I enroll as a patient of Coastal DPC, when does billing begin?

  • When you register online through our billing software you will be charged a non-refundable registration fee. Your monthly billing will start on the day of your first visit with the doctor. Please note that care cannot be provided through electronic means prior to an initial intake physical exam. 

To learn more about Direct Primary Care, click here to download the free ebook "Direct Primary Care. What It Is, How It's Different & Who It Works Best For" by Richard Samuel, MD.

Still have questions?  Just ask!