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Learn About Heritage Direct Care

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What is Heritage Direct Care?

Short Answer:  A family medicine practice that offers a better patient experience by focusing on health as well as illness care.

Long Answer:  Heritage Direct is an old fashioned community based family practice that uses modern diagnosis and communication tools, to deliver:

readily available, unhurried & in-depth support

for your health and wellness

 

The direct primary care approach enables me to spend much more time on patient care and communications when compared to traditional primary care offices.

This approach is made possible by the adoption of a new business model that is emerging across the country… called Direct Primary Care. Under this model patients pay for their primary care directly with a monthly subscription fee instead of through their insurance.

This enables me to dramatically lower costs and simultaneously increase the time I can spend with patients.   The time spent with patients is balanced covering both healthy lifestyle support as well as traditional family medicine.

The direct primary care approach can be packaged with the right health insurance, making the dollars spent by each patient more effective. All while delivering best in class service, improved health… and all at lower costs to you the patient.

Is Heritage Direct Care a concierge practice?

Short Answer:  No. It is a true “full community” practice.

Long Answer:  For many, concierge medicine means private and privileged care for the wealthiest. Heritage Direct delivers primary care and healthy behavior support at a price that is readily affordable for the general population. Check out our involvement in the Community Direct Care Program (here) to see how we are helping make the greater Windsor community a ‘Healthy Lifestyle Zone’.

What sets Heritage Direct Care apart from traditional primary care practices?

Short Answer:  Readily available time with a physician who really knows you.

Long Answer:  There are lots of really good primary care doctors in our communities but unfortunately they are operating under a bad payment system… especially for primary care. This payment system is called ‘fee-for-service’ under which primary care physicians are principally paid on a ‘per visit’ basis. Under this approach practices need to see many patients every day in order to be financially viable. As a result the typical experience for far too many patients is one where: a) it may be hard to get appointments, b) there is a long wait in the office when you get there and c) the doctor seems rushed as you are hurried through your visit.   With the Direct Primary Care approach the following experiences are the norm:

Your doctor – is readily accessible (including via texting and video chats)

– has time for you

– advocates for you

– really gets to know you

– helps you stay healthy

– loves her/his job

Overall you spend less to stay healthier!


How Heritage Direct Care works with health insurance:

Does Heritage Direct accept health insurance?

Short Answer:  Only Medicare… let me explain this one.

Long Answer:  While I think that the Direct Model is the best for all patients, this is currently not feasible for me with my Medicare patients.  So for now, at least until regulations change, I am not accepting any new patients that are currently covered by any Medicare programs and thus only offer Subscription services to patients under 63 years of age. Subscribing members who then turn 65 will be eligible to stay in the practice as long as they choose traditional Medicare (not Medicare Advantage programs offered by Commercial Health Insurers).

Can I join Heritage Direct if I have Medicare or Medicaid?

Short Answer:  No – at least for now.

Long Answer:  Under current regulations it would be illegal for me to charge a subscription fee while you are covered by Medicare or Medicaid.   Hopefully this will change in the future, as all patients deserve the enhanced benefits of Direct Primary Care. In fact, in some states, Medicaid programs are piloting the Direct Subscription approach. We hope that Connecticut will soon join them.

Is Heritage Direct a form of health insurance?

Short Answer:  Absolutely not… it is high quality community based health and care services.

Long Answer:  Insurance is a product to protect you against relatively rare but financially significant risks. Heritage Direct Care is a health service providing you with access to a family physician when you have care needs, it does not cover risks but rather provides the best proactive care for basic health and illness care.  This care covers the more frequent and lower cost health issues one typically experiences.   Using insurance for these types of expenses just adds unnecessary costs and bureaucracy to the patient & process. As an analogy think of it this way; you don’t use auto insurance to pay for oil changes, tune ups and small repairs.

Do I still need Health Insurance?

Short Answer:  Yes – to protect your financial status should you need expensive hospital care either because of injury or disease.

Long Answer:  Direct Primary Care should be viewed as the foundation of care that you provide for yourself / family and should be coupled with health insurance to protect your finances should you ever need hospital care and/or regular specialist follow up, both of which can be very expensive.   We work with a benefit specialists to help individuals and families pair their Direct Primary Care medical services with a health insurance policy that fits their situation.


Details about our Direct Primary Care Services:

Why we participate the Community Direct Program?

Short Answer:  It takes a village to improve health.

Long Answer:   We believe that every individual should have access to top-notch primary care that includes education and support for illness AND healthy behaviors.  It is now widely understood that a community’s culture; at home, school and work can all have significant influence on the health of the individuals in that community (See the book Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner for great examples). We created the Community Direct Program to engage the broader Windsor Community in improving the health of all people that live and/or work in our area. Please help us by making your family and your employer part of the Community Direct Program.  Learn More Here.

 

Will I still get benefit from Heritage Direct Care even if I do not get sick?

Short Answer:  Yes – I have training in health promotion not just illness care.

Long Answer:  I went into Family Medicine because I wanted to have a relationship with my patients and get to know them as the truly unique individuals they are. This allows me to not only take care of them when they are sick, but to help them stay healthily. One of the great joys for me over the last 10 years has been the incorporation of what is called integrative medicine into my practice. Integrative Medicine is simple, it involves helping patients make small changes to their lifestyle (think nutrition, activity & stress!) that can have tremendous positive impact on their health status. These approaches are applicable to everyone… in fact I would much rather work with you on a Healthy Habits plan than either simply prescribe a medication or care for you with a chronic illness.

What happens if I need to go to the hospital or see a specialist?

Short Answer:  I will help you get to the best care at the best place for you.

Long Answer:  If you need a specialist or you need to be hospitalized I will work with you to get you the most appropriate care.  While your subscription does not cover the cost of specialist care, I will help you get the most out of your medical spending whether it is paid by you through your deductible, or it is paid by your health insurance.  I strive to get you the most value for the dollars you do spend by helping reduce unnecessary care.  The medical system is complex and having a physician with the time to help guide you can be of great value to my patients.

What do I do about medications?

Short Answer:  Your Choice…get them from my office at wholesale rates OR use your prescription insurance benefit.

Long Answer:  As your physician I will, of course, prescribe medications for you. But I go further than just prescribing…. I try to make the process simple and the cost more affordable for my patients.  In the near future I will dispense many common medications, EXCLUDING narcotics and controlled medications, right from the office and at deep discounts, so that you can leave the office with your medication in hand… meaning no trip to the pharmacy. If you would like to use your health plan’s prescription coverage, I can e-prescribe right to your pharmacy.

If I already have a good insurance plan that covers me, why would I choose Direct Primary Care?

Short Answer: Insurance Coverage is not CARE.

Long Answer:  It is important to realize that insurance provides financial coverage, a way to pay for care, but it is not the care itself. So first we suggest considering Direct Primary Care because the quality of the care is high… enabled by the Direct Care payment model which provides 4 to 5 times the patient contact time vs. the insurance payment approach known as ‘fee-for-service’.

Second does the ‘good insurance coverage’ really help pay for your Primary Care? If you have what is known as a High Deductible Health Plan… one that is typically paired with a Health Savings Account then you need to assess whether your health benefits are likely to help you pay for your Primary Care. The majority of people under age 65 spend less then a $1000 of deductible health care expenses in a given year. So under many scenarios you will be paying out of pocket for your primary care anyway. Why not make it really good care that helps keep you healthy and thus reduces the risk that you will spend your entire deductible.

What if I need medical attention while I’m away from home?

Short Answer:  Call me first because odds are that together we can take care of the problem without you needing to see a physician who doesn’t know you.

Long Answer:  Same as the short answer!

Why do kids have to be 5 years old or more to join Heritage Direct?

Short Answer:  Because I don’t like infants 😉

Long Answer: JK. I LOVE infants, but right now I don’t have the equipment, immunizations or space required to care for infants and toddlers. This policy may change as the practice matures, so check back in the future for updates.

How do I pay my subscription fees and ancillary fees?

Short Answer:  We set it up to make it easy!

Long Answer:  When you join the practice we set-up a recurring billing service that uses either your credit card or bank account to charge the subscription fee every month for which you are a member of our practice.

When you buy medications from the practice, have labs or other services that are paid for by Heritage Direct Care on your behalf, we simply take payment at our office or charge the same credit card or bank account you set up for your subscription.  As always, all charges are transparent and confirmed with you, the patient, before we charge your account.

Is my subscription to Heritage Direct payable from my Health Savings Account?

Short Answer: No – but perhaps in the near future.

Long Answer:  Right now, the subscription fee is not an allowable expense, but there are efforts in Congress to change this and you can be sure we will let our Subscribers know as soon as this law is changed! You can pay for your lab and medication charges from a Heath Savings Account. You should check with your tax/financial advisors for other information on the tax deductibility of specific medical expenses.

How will I know if Heritage Direct is right for me?

Short Answer: Come in and meet us.

Long Answer: Good care is only part of the answer to quality health care, the other part is the relationship you have with your primary care physician. I believe that the patient/physician relationship is paramount to achieving & maintaining good health. Sign-up for a free consult here to see if we will make a good team.

Click Here to Schedule a Free Consult

Interested in Direct Primary Care?

Schedule a free Direct Primary Care consult here!

Learn more about Acupuncture:

What kind of things can acupuncture treat?
  • Acute pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Post-Operative pain control
  • Allergies
  • Chronic Pain
  • Infertility
  • Skin disorders
  • Asthma
  • Digestive disorders
  • Injuries – sports, work, etc.
  • Stress related conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Endometriosis pain
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • TMJ
  • Back & neck pain
  • Fatigue
  • PMS/cramps
  • Wound healing
  • Chemotherapy related symptoms
  • Tennis elbow
  • Acupuncture is very effective for acute and chronic pain, allergies, headaches, heartburn and reflux.
  • Habit disorders, mild anxiety and depression can be treated with acupuncture.
  • Wound healing can be sped up with acupuncture techniques and unborn babies in the breech position have been successfully turned in-utero with acupuncture.

What is the background of acupuncture?

The classical Eastern explanation of acupuncture is that vital energy, called Qi (chee) circulates through the body in pathways called meridians.  These pathways have points located along them than can be stimulated to redirect, increase or decrease the flow of Qi.  It is thought that illness is caused by improper flow of vital energy through these channels.  Acupuncture involves inserting tiny, hair-thin needles into the skin to stimulate these points to balance and harmonize the flow of Qi.  This stimulation sends a signal to the body to turn on its own self-healing or regulatory mechanisms.

What is the scientific explanation of acupuncture?

A more scientific or western explanation of acupuncture is that the stimulation of acupuncture points prompts the body to release certain hormones and chemicals that can reduce pain, calm the nervous system and regulate the endocrine system.  Some of the chemicals that acupuncture has been proven to release are endorphins, serotonin and adenosine.  Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions and have been estimated to be 200 times more potent than morphine.  Serotonin is one of the brain chemicals responsible for mood – many people are familiar with “SSRIs”, a popular class of medication used for depression that works by altering the body’s metabolism of serotonin.  Adenosine has been found to be an important chemical involved in the perception of pain.  Mice studies have shown that acupuncture can alter the amount of adenosine in the bloodstream and thereby decrease pain.

Does acupuncture hurt?

The vast majority of patients find acupuncture to be a painless, very relaxing procedure. Acupuncture needles are disposable, one time use, sterile needles. The needles are hair thin, in fact, many people do not feel them being inserted through the skin. The needles stay in place for 20 to 30 minutes.

How do I know if acupuncture will work for me?

A consultation can help you decide if acupuncture is right for you. A good general rule of thumb is: if your current treatment isn’t resolving the problem, is quite expensive or has significant side effects or problems associated with it, then acupuncture is worth a try.

How long does it take to get results from acupuncture?

A consultation can help you decide if acupuncture is right for you. A good general rule of thumb is: if your current treatment isn’t resolving the problem, is quite expensive or has significant side effects or problems associated with it, then acupuncture is worth a try.

How do I get started with acupuncture?

We begin with a consultation where we will discuss your medical concerns and the approaches that you have used in the past. We will be happy to answer any questions that you have, or insert a needle if you would like to see what it feels like before you commit to your first session. From the information gained from the consultation, we are able to design your individualized treatment program. If we feel that acupuncture will not help your situation, we will not charge you for the consultation.

What are the potential risks of acupuncture?

As physicians we are trained to first do no harm. Acupuncture is an extremely safe procedure, especially compared to the incidence of side-effects from medications, as well as many common procedures in traditional Western medical practice. Although complications are extraordinarily rare, they can include; bruising, a small amount of bleeding, local infection or lightheadedness. There have been rare reports in the literature of acupuncture needles puncturing an internal organ; however, these were due to either congenital abnormalities or improperly placed needles.

How long does each treatment take?

Although needles generally are in place for only 20-30 minutes, we may place a couple of sets of needles. Therefore, most patients should plan on being in the office for about an hour.

How does acupuncture work with traditional western medicine?

Acupuncture is not meant to replace your regular care with your primary care provider. Our goal is to work together with you and your physician to decrease your symptoms so that you may be able to decrease your medications or simply to improve your quality of life. We encourage you to let your physician know that you are having acupuncture. To ensure continuity of care, with your permission, we are more than happy to contact him or her by phone or letter.

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Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication, supplement or other treatment.