Monthly membership clinics changing healthcare

- Like 290 million other Americans, Jody Keleske has health insurance. However, she does not use it when she sees her primary care physician, Dr. Trinette Moss.

That's because the Clearwater-based doctor operates a clinic with a different kind of financial structure. 

It's called a direct primary care office, and Dr. Moss says it's a membership-based care facility.

Patients pay a monthly fee directly to the doctor. The fees are based on age: 18 to 49-year-olds pay $60 dollars, 50 to 60-year-olds pay $70, and people above 60 pay $90. Children are $15 a month.

In return, Jody says she gets a doctor who is allowed to practice patience. Patients get an unlimited amount of visits with their memberships.

"She takes as much time as I need and there is never any edging towards the door," says Jody.

Dr. Moss says being able to spend more time with people and not having to worry about if insurance payments will go through is very valuable. 

Direct primary care facilities are gaining popularity, with practices cropping up across the country. Two percent of all licensed physicians are in membership practices.

"People want access to a doctor that they know, like, trust, and they don't have to wait two or three months to see," explained Dr. Moss.

Jody, a former nurse, has seen firsthand how traditional primary care offices can be bogged down with red tape.

"You're allotted seven minutes, plus you have to dictate those notes and keep it rolling. That is a real truth about medicine," she says.

"Chasing those dollars takes up a lot of time and a lot of overhead." Dr. Moss affirmed.

So far, little hard academic data says membership medicine will cut costs and make people healthier. A number of membership groups are self-reporting positive results. Direct pay primary care does have the support of the American Academy of Family Physicians.  

For more on Dr. Trinette Moss’s practice, visit http://www.totalfamilymd.com/.

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