10 Benefits of Membership-Based Family Medicine in Wilmington, NC
Finding an independent primary care or family care practice in Wilmington where you are not just a number, is difficult, but not impossible.
If you’ve never heard of direct primary care, we hope you’ll read on! We have compiled a complete guide on the top ten reasons to consider making a switch to a direct primary care practice—sometimes called membership-based primary care–and how it can benefit you and your family’s health (and bank account!) in the long run.
1. Comprehensive Care
When searching for “Primary Care Practices Wilmington” or “Family Practices Wilmington”, one of the most important considerations is the scope of services offered by the practice. While many family practices list that they provide everything from preventative care to disease management, most providers in traditional (non-direct primary care) practices are constrained by time, and don’t have the capacity to manage more complex health issues. They may also have less time and resources to help patients make changes that require more support and frequent check-ins such as quitting smoking, starting exercise habits, or losing weight. As a result, patients are often referred out of the practice to a specialist, and costs for the patient can add up. Not to mention the headaches that can come along with establishing care at another office.
Direct primary care practices take a different approach. Generally, direct primary care physicians spend more time with their patients because they have far fewer patients in their panel compared to those in a traditional practice (600 vs. 1,200). This means they don’t have to rush through appointments and are also able to offer more comprehensive care. Our family medicine practice in Wilmington, Promina Health, offers comprehensive care for women, pediatrics, geriatrics, and everyone in between. Services include chronic disease management, dermatology, a wide range of procedures, and GYN care–including Pap smears. Patients enjoy unrushed appointments– 30 min- 1hr blocked for them and their physician. Our physicians generally try to manage as much “in-house”, but if a condition becomes too complex or additional assessments are needed, a referral can be to a specialist.
2. Available for Emergencies 24/7
Another benefit of joining a membership-based primary care practice is that if you have an at-home emergency, your direct primary care physician can be reached directly by text or phone. They can help assess and advise on the next steps before you possibly spend hundreds, or even thousands unnecessarily, on an urgent care or hospital visit. That said, if it is a true medical emergency, you should always call 911 first.
The turnaround time for scheduling is also much faster than you will likely find at traditional practices. Most direct primary care practices hold appointments for same or next-day appointments for urgent needs, so that patients don’t have to wait days or even weeks for an appointment.
Direct texting also allows patients to connect with their physician around-the-clock, and from anywhere. They won’t experience delays by speaking to a office staff or nurse who must then relay the information to your doctor. Instead, patients can expect to receive a prompt response directly from their physician. This can be especially helpful when medical issues come up during travel and also help patients save hundreds of dollars by avoiding urgent care visits.
3. One Family Doctor for Everyone
A general practitioner (a.k.a., family physician or primary care physician) receives training in pediatric and adult medicine, but family medicine physicians get additional training in pediatrics, which means they are qualified to care for the entire family. It’s important to note however, that some family doctors in Wilmington opt not to see kids, so it’s best to ask. The most common services family medicine and primary care physicians provide, include:
- Adult medicine
- Dermatological procedures
- Gynecological procedures (e.g., pap smears, IUDs)
- Laceration repair
- Abscess treatments
- Wellness and nutrition education
- Chronic disease management
- Acute care/emergent care
That said, many general practitioners in Wilmington who are in traditional (non-direct primary care) practices, do not have time to provide these services due to the volume of patients they see each day, so it’s best to ask before establishing care.
Direct primary care practices like ours, also approach care differently. All of the services listed above are provided in-office, and we see kids and adults of all ages. Patients enjoy longer appointments, which allows the convenience of scheduling multiple children and/or a parent and child on the same day if desired. Our patients’ monthly membership covers as many visits as they need, without copays, so they don’t have to put off care due to cost concerns.
The additional benefit of having a highly qualified physician who can act as an adult physician and pediatrician, is that as children age and become an adult, they don’t have to search for a new doctor. Most pediatricians stop seeing patients at age 18-21, but that can vary depending on the pediatric practice’s policies and/or insurance reasons, so it’s best to ask.
4. Discounts on Prescriptions
Approximately 18 million Americans cannot afford prescription medications. One of the pitfalls of traditional primary care practices is they have limitations on helping with medication payments or discounts. They can direct you to online discounts, rebates, or patient assistance programs, but more often than not, do not dispense prescription medications from their office.
Many direct primary care practices, like ours, dispense prescription medications right from their office, and are able to offer better prices on the most common prescription medications compared to traditional pharmacies and even GoodRx coupons. We offer all types of medication offered in our primary care office, including:
- Allergies and asthma
- Infectious disease
- Arthritis and pain
- Gastrointestinal health
- Mental health
- Migraine and seizures
In some instances, our patients are able to cut their prescription costs by half or more!
5. Self-Pay and No Insurance Are Welcome
Arguably, this is one of the most significant benefits of choosing a direct primary care office. All patients are welcome, regardless of insurance. Our monthly membership includes as many visits as our patients need and all of our primary care services. The monthly rate is fixed, which helps make the cost of care predictable and transparent. If you have insurance, you will NOT pay your usual co-pay or have services applied to your deductible.
Our model also reduces the time patients spend haggling with insurance providers, awaiting bills, and coordinating bill pay.
6. Transparent Pricing
Our patients can also expect pricing transparency in all that we do. Lab fees are deeply discounted (e.g., standard wellness labs are only $35), and clearly summarized for the patient prior to the lab draw. Any additional pathological reports that might be needed (e.g., Pap smear) are explained to the patient ahead of time.
Being a patient of a direct primary care practice like ours can take the stress out of unknown costs, high deductibles, and co-pays, which limit how many visits, procedures, or wellness checks you can afford. Here are some of the pricing estimates at Promina Health direct primary care in Wilmington:
- Children with adult members: $25/month
- Children without adult members: $49/month
- Young adults (22 to 30): $49/month
- Adults (31 to 64): $69/month
- Adults (over 65): $89/month
A one-time enrollment fee of $100 for an individual, or $150 for a family, is applied at the first visit.
7. Home Visits
Some Direct Primary Care practices offer home visits for their patients. This can be ideal for newborns, since exposure to others who are sick can be especially dangerous for them in the early weeks of life, when it’s too early to receive preventative vaccines.
Promina Health offer home visits based on need an physician availability.
8. Chronic and Acute Care Management
Direct primary care practices are able help many individuals with acute and chronic disease conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurological conditions
Average diabetic medical expenses tally nearly $9,500 annually, with insulin and novel drugs driving prices even higher. Patients with chronic illnesses have more medical appointments, follow-ups, and prescription medications. Direct primary care patients get as many visits as they need for a flat monthly rate, which provides them with better care, at a fraction of the cost.
9. In-House Procedures
Direct Primary Care practices like Promina Health, a board range of basic procedures that are included in the monthly membership. (Additional fees may apply for lab or pathology.) Fixed and transparent pricing saves patients hundreds. Services included at Promina Health direct primary care, include:
- Lung function testing
- Abscess drainage
- Skin biopsy
- Wound repair
- Joint injection
- Pap smear
- And more
10. Unlimited Primary Care Visits
Co-pays and high deductible plans plague many individuals and families.
When you sign up for a membership at a direct primary care practice like Promina Health, you will not pay your usual co-pay, and visits and services are not applied toward your deductible. The monthly rate is fixed, which helps make the cost of care predictable and transparent. You and your family will have the peace of mind that your doctor is just a phone call away, and you can schedule a visit whenever a need arises without getting hit with a large bill each time.
Primary Care- Wilmington Practice
Have you wondered how finding a “Primary care Wilmington” office would help you and your family save money and stay healthy? The benefits of direct primary care are numerous, and quality, affordable healthcare should be for everyone!
If you are in the Wilmington area, we would be honored to be your primary care practice of choice.
Check out our website and sign up for direct primary care in Wilmington, NC!