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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Direct Primary Care (DPC)?
    DPC is a payment model in healthcare wherein patients pay their physician a flat monthly membership fee for primary care services. This allows the practice to operate without billing insurance companies and dramatically reduce overhead costs, cutting the need for high patient volumes significantly. When doctors don’t have the need to see as many people, they get the chance to spend more time with patients at each visit. By removing insurance companies in the equation, healthcare is simplified to something that exists entirely between a patient and their doctor. This places the emphasis on an authentic and open partnership as the cornerstone of healthcare, without the obstacles of institutional red tape, high prices, and unpredictable costs.
  • Is DPC the same as concierge medicine?
    There is an overlap between the principles of DPC and concierge medicine. The biggest similarity is that both charge patients a membership fee, but unlike DPC, concierge practices typically continue to bill insurance companies in addition to patients’ monthly payments, which inevitably drives costs much higher.
  • Does Fermata DPC bill or accept health insurance?
    No. Under the model of direct primary care, Fermata DPC will not bill insurance.
  • As a patient of Fermata DPC, will I still need health insurance?"
    Yes. We recommend purchasing a high deductible health plan for catastrophic events such as hospitalization, surgical procedures, or should you require specialist care at some point.
  • Can I join Fermata DPC even if I don’t have insurance?
    Yes, but we still recommend having it as mentioned above.
  • If I have Medicare, can I still join Fermata DPC?"
    Yes. As part of the patient agreement upon becoming a member, you just need to sign a one-time waiver stating that neither you nor your doctor will directly bill Medicare for any services provided by Fermata DPC. Medicare will still cover any tests or meds prescribed by the practice
  • What if I need to see a specialist?
    Given adequate time and attention, primary care can indeed address at least 80% of patients’ medical concerns, and there is growing literature that shows the reduction of the need for specialist referrals under the DPC model. Nonetheless, patients may certainly have medical needs beyond the scope of practice of their physician, and Dr. Asistores can personally refer and coordinate your care with your specialist should the need arise.
  • What if I need urgent care, or go to the emergency department and get hospitalized?"
    For medical emergencies, always call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency department for immediate medical attention. If you get hospitalized, Dr. Asistores will serve as your advocate and communicate directly with your hospitalist to help formulate a plan of care that is well informed by your personal and medical history. Otherwise, addressing urgent medical needs that do not require emergency care are covered by the membership fee, and trips to the emergency department or urgent care facilities have gone down for patients who belong to a DPC practice. In other words, feel free to call your doctor!
  • I feel pretty healthy and seldom see the doctor. Will I still benefit from DPC?
    Most definitely. Under the model of DPC, not only is there increased and almost immediate access to your doctor for acute medical needs if ever you get sick, but the increased availability and contact with your primary care physician also provides the opportunity for planning your life together around maintaining healthy habits, identifying risk factors for preventable conditions, and outlining short and long term health goals that are tailored to your life and values. All covered under your monthly membership fee, with no copays, at no extra cost.
  • Does Fermata DPC manage chronic (non-cancer) pain? What about narcotics?
    Fermata DPC will strictly adhere to CDC guidelines with regard to prescribing controlled substances for chronic (non-cancer related) pain. This includes maximizing treatment modalities that do not involve opioids to begin with, and utilizing narcotics only as a last resort, at the lowest most effective dose, and for the shortest possible duration. The practice shall also follow established regulations on urine drug testing and maintaining a controlled substances agreement with patients.
  • Will my doctor be able to help with my behavioral and mental health issues?
    Yes. As a board certified family medicine physician, Dr. Asistores is capable of treating mental health conditions. The prescription of controlled substances such as certain sleeping aids, benzodiazepines (ex: Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin), and stimulants (ex: Adderall, Ritalin), will also strictly follow established guidelines by professional regulatory organizations, and shall only be utilized after maximizing interventions that do not involve these medications. Should a thorough assessment determine that specialist care is required, a referral will be made accordingly.
  • Who will take care of me when my doctor goes on vacation?
    Patients will be notified way ahead of time if the physician plans to be out of the office. In such instances, Dr. Asistores will continue to be available by phone or text for urgent medical needs.
  • What if I want to cancel my membership?
    You may cancel your membership at any time. We only request that the office be notified electronically or in writing at least 30 days in advance. If your membership had already been paid in advance for a full a year, a refund will be given at a prorated rate.
  • Can I talk to the doctor to see if this is really for me?
    Absolutely! You may reach Dr. Asistores by phone or email for further inquiries, and to schedule a one-time, unconditional, complimentary visit to help you decide what best fits your healthcare needs.
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