Typical Questions About Membership Medicine (Concierge Medicine)

What is direct primary care?

Direct primary care is an exciting and rapidly growing model for providing health care without the costly interference of private health insurance companies. Instead, our patients pay us directly through a convenient and affordable flat monthly fee.

This allows us to reestablish the doctor-patient relationship by keeping our practice small and provide you with highly accessible, personalized and preventive health care when you need it. It’s like having your doctor available at the touch of a button. Our focus on ensuring a strong and satisfying doctor-patient relationship is the key to helping you stay healthy.

It's the way I've always wanted and expected to practice medicine!

How does our private practice differ from the average doctor’s practice?

You will see and feel the difference immediately when you visit us at Continuum Care at Mecca. Our reception area is calm and inviting, and our office staff is friendly. You will experience very short if any wait times to see me. Office visits will never feel rushed, so you can address all of your health concerns and questions with me. Because my practice is limited to just a few hundred, not thousands of patients, I have the privilege of knowing all of my patients and can take the extra time for a proactive approach to your wellness.

My goal is to provide you and your family with an experience that will not just meet but exceed your expectations for a doctor’s office.

What does the membership plan include?

Your membership covers all of the primary care services we offer in our office. This includes in-office visits, home and extended facility visits as necessary, hospital visits, minor office procedures, EKGs, diagnostic and wellness exams, phone calls, video conferencing and arrangement to see specialists with direct doctor to-doctor communication. 

I will be available nights and weekends and you will have my personal cell phone number so you can reach me wherever you are and whenever you need to via phone, email or text messaging. And when you call our office, there will be no long waits on hold only to be blocked by a receptionist, and your messages will be responded to promptly.

In addition, you will have direct access to your medical records and, at no extra cost, advanced diagnostic tests and onsite blood work.

You will enjoy greater convenience and peace of mind, and you may also find a reduced need for visits to specialists and the emergency department.

Click here for a list of the many services you will receive.  

Who does this membership plan work best for?

 It works especially well for those who want to participate in improving their health and staying well, including:

  • Patients desiring easy and direct communication with their doctor
  • Patients who want a doctor to address the root cause of illness, not just treat the symptoms
  • Those with high insurance premiums, high-deductible health plans or no insurance
  • Self-insured businesses seeking to provide their employees with affordable health care while improving their well-being – while simultaneously reducing health care spending

How is this better than traditional primary care?

Direct primary care is considerably more patient-focused. It allows your doctor to spend more quality time with you and provide the best possible care and treatment without health insurance restrictions. No more time wasted waiting for appointments, and you have 24/7 access to your doctor.

Is my membership fee tax-deductible?

Membership fees are not yet defined as “medical expenses” in most states and are not deductible. The American Academy of Private Physicians is lobbying to change that. Check with your tax consultant to clarify your particular circumstances.

How will I know if the doctor at Continuum Care is right for me?

Meet the doctor face to face. Schedule a free visit to discuss your health care needs. It’s the best way to begin what we hope is a long, productive, healthy relationship.

Is this the same as concierge medicine?

The concept is the same, though “concierge medicine” is sometimes associated with higher fees. That’s not necessarily the case. “Direct primary care” and “membership medicine” are different ways to say essentially the same thing. 

How appointments and referrals work

Do you see me if I’m in the hospital?

Yes, I will. Hospital admissions for serious medical problems are stressful and often confusing for patients and their families. During hospital admissions, you will be assigned to a hospitalist. These physicians are available in the hospital 24 hours per day and specialize in hospital care. I will discuss your case daily with the hospitalist, review your plan of care, answer questions and make recommendations to make your stay as comfortable as possible. I will assist in serving as your health care advocate and communicate with you and your loved ones.

Do you make home visits or nursing home visits?

Yes, I do. I will see patients in their home or nursing facility, rehab facility or ALF in medically appropriate situations. The decision is made on a case-by-case basis.  

What if I need a specialist?

As your primary care physician, my extensive training allows me to handle most of your health care needs. However, in the event that you do need to see a specialist, we will find the right doctor for you and make sure you know who you are seeing. This referral process will include direct physician-to-physician consultation prior to your appointment with the specialist and direct coordination of your visit.

And after your appointment, if you have any questions or concerns about your visit with your specialist, I will address these issues at an office appointment or by phone, email or video conferencing.

What if I need urgent care?

For problems that are not medical emergencies, you can contact me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In many cases, I can diagnose and treat your need without a visit to the ER. In fact, private medicine has been shown to result in fewer ER visits for members because we can discuss your medical needs any time of the day or night.

If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately. A family member or caregiver can call me later to alert me of your situation so I can be in contact with the emergency room.  

What if my doctor is on vacation?

As a member of Continuum Care, you are never alone. Even when out of town, I will still be available by phone for your urgent needs. You will be notified by email prior to any vacations. If I am not available, I will always have another trusted physician available to assist you for any urgent matters or to be seen in the office.

What if I have an emergency and I’m admitted to a hospital?

Our goal is to prevent or reduce hospitalizations. If you are admitted to a hospital, we will continue to treat you during your hospital stay or work closely with any hospital specialist.

How insurance works at Continuum Care

Do you bill insurance plans?

No. Our practice is designed to be unencumbered by the constraints and limited reimbursement of insurance plans so that we may better serve and care for our patients. You will NOT be charged for office visits or co-pays. You only pay the membership fee.  

Our model results in significant savings: money, paperwork and time. The membership fee allows us to keep our overhead low, our practice small, and we work directly for our patients, not the insurance company!

Can you still see me if I have Medicare or health insurance?

Absolutely. Our healthcare model is particularly well-designed to handle the more complex medical issues and medication management often associated with older patients.  We can spend the time necessary to manage chronic disease and optimize your health and wellness.

Medical insurance is necessary for patients in the event of an unforeseen catastrophe. Still, many people are finding they can lower the cost of their total medical care by combining a high-deductible health insurance plan with a membership-based practice, thus making private medicine quite affordable. Expect your insurance to pay for lab tests, mammograms, X-rays, durable medical equipment (DME) and specialist appointments. My services will be covered in the membership fee.

Do I still need to have health insurance?

Yes, you do. My medical practice is NOT a health insurance program. It is very important to maintain insurance (and/or Medicare) to cover expensive, unusual and unpredictable events such as surgery, emergency care, hospitalization, labs and X-rays. BUT NOT for everyday preventive primary care!

The current insurance-based healthcare system actually makes primary care MORE expensive, difficult and less effective, too. Our practice does the opposite. By charging a set fee, I can spend more time with you and focus on your individual health needs to maintain and improve your health. I want you to see me as often as you need to, because my goal is healthy and happy members!

Can I still join even if I don’t have insurance?

Yes, although we recommend that you have health insurance to cover potentially large expenses from things such as cancer treatment, heart attacks or auto accidents in which you are injured. 

Why should I join when my insurance already covers primary care?

Health insurance typically offers partial reimbursement for care and you are responsible for copays, co-insurance and deductibles. As your doctor, I dedicate my time to your health to the extent that you may feel like you are my only patient.

Are there any additional fees, copayments or deductibles?

There are no copays, deductibles or additional fees.

Does membership replace my health insurance?

No. Membership medicine gives you 24/7 access to your own personal physician, attentive care, longer appointments and a stronger focus on preventive health care. We recommend that you maintain your health insurance to cover catastrophic health problems, major hospital bills, special medications and expensive imaging such as MRI.

Why don’t you accept health insurance?

My goal as your doctor is to work for you, not your insurance company. By not accepting health insurance, I can treat you to the best of my abilities in a way that benefits you most without interference from insurance companies.

How to join

Can joining Continuum Care actually save me money?

For many of our patients, it is very likely. As a primary care practice, Continuum Care at Mecca can handle the vast majority of your health issues and concerns. 

Studies show this direct model of care reduces the need for unnecessary medications, more expensive testing and unnecessary referrals to specialists. It is more likely to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations. This results in saving you money and providing you better care. 

By switching to a high-deductible, low-premium plan, we can actually help many of our patients save money. We have also arranged to provide many of our patients with an onsite lab service at no cost to them. For even more convenience and cost savings, our medical assistant will draw your blood free of charge at our office. In addition, you shouldn't have any hidden costs or bills that come to you after-the-fact from the office or insurance company.

How will I benefit from membership if I don’t need frequent medical attention?

Absolutely. Many people believe they should only treat illness when it happens, instead of identifying and preventing disease before it starts. The focus of Continuum Care at Mecca is not to only see you when you are ill, but to concentrate efforts on long-term health and wellness. We will carefully listen to you to understand how your life, work and family may be affecting your health. And we will work with you to come up with a personalized plan to achieve your optimal health and maintain your health goals. Plus there are advanced diagnostic tests that can help us identify risk factors and health issues before they cause disease, saving you money, time, suffering and higher costs in the long run. Unlike the traditional practice environment, we have the time to deliver this type of comprehensive and detailed care. 

And if you're looking for convenience and peace of mind knowing your doctor is easy to reach, talk with and/or visit when something comes up unexpectedly, maybe even averting a trip to the emergency room, that is an invaluable benefit, too.

Is there a limit to how many patients can join Continuum Care?

Yes. One of the most important aspects of private medicine is limiting the practice size to be able to devote more time and energy to each patient. Therefore, once we have reached our ideal practice size, a waiting list will be established.

What if I want to stop my membership?

You are welcome to cancel your membership following six months, as long as you give us 30 days’ notice. We will refund memberships paid for the full year at a prorated rate.

What if I want to join but I just can’t afford it?

We offer a special waiting list for those patients who would like to join but are unable to afford the full monthly membership cost. We offer options for bartering services (anything you think you can offer) and third-party donations. We also offer partial discounts for patients in need of financial assistance who receive donations.

Contact Us

How We Differ

"Comprehensive Family Medicine Minus the Red Tape"

The doctor patient relationship is the core of the practice. A true partner in your healthcare.

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Personalized Care

From a physician who takes the time to get to know you, by limiting the practice size to a few hundred, we are able to tailor your treatment to you.

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Your own personal physician available 24/7. Contact your doctor when you need in the way that suits you best; text, email or skype. Same or next day visits guaranteed.

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Our Patients Say it Best

Unfortunately, not everyone has you as their doctor. When I leave your office, I know you took the time to thoroughly look in to all scenarios and solutions and the root cause. But besides that, you make me feel like I'm visiting my family and someone who gives a damn. I don't feel like a number. Keep doing what you do and never change. I am blessed/lucky to have you as my doctor.
Tom F

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