What Is Direct Primary Care?

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a new model of payment that circumvents traditional insurance for primary care services and allows doctors to provide more time and easier access for their patients.  DPC is a return to enduring personal relationships between patients and their doctors. Direct Primary Care replaces fee-for-service incentives with a simple flat monthly or annual fee.  This strengthens the doctor-patient relationship and is the key to achieving greater patient satisfaction, superior health outcomes, and lower costs.

What makes St. Luke’s so unique?

More and more practices across the country are turning to the DPC model, and St. Luke’s Family Practice has been a pioneer in the movement.  But we’re different.  We are a “hybrid” practice that combines a DPC practice with charitable care — the first non-profit doctor’s office in the nation! (See “A New Model of Charitable Care: The Robin Hood Practice“)

Benefactors at St. Luke’s Family Practice support the charitable mission of the practice, to provide outpatient primary care to the uninsured of our community.  Their Benefactor fee allows the practice to spend more than half of its time and energy directed toward that goal – that’s what makes us a non-profit Social Purpose Organization recognized under Section 501(c)3 of the federal tax code.

Why does it cost so much?

Benefactors at St. Luke’s Family Practice are supporting the charitable mission of the practice, to provide outpatient primary care to the uninsured of our community. Their Benefactor fee allows the practice to spend more than half of its time and energy directed toward that goal – that’s what makes us a non-profit Social Purpose Organization recognized under Section 501(c)3 of the federal tax code. St. Luke’s Family Practice is a private charity and we receive no support from any church or government agency.

Why don’t you accept insurance (or Medicare)?

At a typical doctor’s office, they must see you in their office to be paid for the services they provide, even if the service could be handled over the phone, by text, or email. Most offices spend fifty percent or more of their time, energy, and effort trying to collect money from their patients, insurance companies, and big government programs like Medicare. That means that most doctors actually are paid and work for your insurance company or the government. But not at St. Luke’s Family Practice, we’re different – we work for you!

Do I still have to pay my co-pay?

No. Because we do not participate with any insurance programs, there are no co-pays when using our practice.

Why do I need to keep my insurance?

Being a Benefactor at St. Luke’s Family Practice covers any expense for your primary care doctor: over the phone, in our office, at local hospitals, in your home, or at a nursing or rehabilitation facility. Additionally, your Benefactor fee covers any test or procedure performed in our office. However, the physician component of primary care is relatively cheap. You will still need your health insurance to cover specialty consultations, diagnostic testing, operations, or hospitalization.

St. Luke’s is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Can I deduct my benefactor payment from my income taxes as a charitable contribution?

The Internal Revenue Service has advised us not to provide tax information. Every Benefactor’s situation is different. You must consult with your tax professional. Some Benefactors simply donate to St. Luke’s Family Practice as a worthy charity, and never receive any services from us. They might deduct the entire payment as a charitable donation. Other Benefactors receive all their care through St. Luke’s Family Practice and do not deduct any of the annual Benefactor payment. Still other Benefactors compare the amount they gave to St. Luke’s and subtract the value of services that they received, and consider deducting the difference. Every Benefactor’s situation is different. Consult with your tax professional.

Are there other Direct Primary Care Practices nearby?

View the DPC interactive map: http://www.dpcfrontier.com/mapper/

Are there other charitable clinics like St. Luke’s Family Practice?

St. Luke’s Family Practice is a first-of-its-kind private charity, a non-profit doctor’s office, established in 2004 to provide basic primary care services to uninsured persons in our community.  There are other clinics in other states that we have helped who have copied our basic model ( Our Lady Of Hope Clinic, Madison WI , St. Joseph Primary Care, Raleigh NC ).

Who do I contact if I have more appointment questions?

During regular office hours (M, T, Th, F) please contact our Medical Assistant, Erica Gonzalez at (209) 549-1057.