Benefactors & Direct Primary Care
What Is St. Luke’s Family Practice?
How does your clinic work?
St. Luke’s Family Practice is a non-profit medical office designed to provide free doctor visits to uninsured persons of our community. We are supported by our generous Benefactors, people with health insurance who pay the practice directly for ready access to our physicians. We do not bill any insurance or the government.
How many patients does each doctor have?
Each doctor’s practice is limited to 300 Benefactors each by agreement with the Internal Revenue Service for non-profit status. This allows plenty of time for us to provide great service to our Benefactors and still have enough time to complete our mission of providing care to the uninsured of our community.
Is St. Luke’s a church or government clinic?
No. St. Luke’s Family Practice is a private charity and we receive no support from any church or government agency. St. Luke is the patron saint of physicians, so many other hospitals and health systems are named after St. Luke.
Are there other 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 ).
What is a Benefactor?
Benefactors are individuals and families blessed with the ability to make donations to support the work of St. Luke’s Family Practice. As an additional benefit, they can choose a personal physician at St. Luke’s Family Practice and receive their primary medical care at no charge.
What Is a Recipient?
Recipients are those with a health care need and no insurance. Recipients can sign up for our eight weekly half-day sessions and receive free doctor visits on a “space available” basis.
What tests or procedures do you offer in your office?
We perform basic office lab studies: urinalysis, blood sugar, urine pregnancy tests, hematocrit, INR tests for patient on blood thinners, electrocardiograms (EKG), basic breathing tests, and hearing screenings. We also perform basic skin procedures (suturing and skin biopsies) and apply splints and casts for sprains and simple fractures (broken bones) here in the office. We also offer basic durable medical equipment (DME) supplies at no cost: crutches, arm slings, wrist and knee splints, ankle braces and walking boots. We do not draw blood tests or perform x-rays in our office.
Do I need to see my doctor to get a refill or a new prescription?
No, not necessarily. The best way to refill a medication we have prescribed is to call your pharmacy 2-3 working days in advance. This keeps medication errors (wrong pharmacy, wrong medication, wrong dose) to a minimum by utilizing the connection between our electronic medical records. Refills of medications from other doctors can often be obtained through a message in the website Message Center, or with a short text or phone conversation. Some new prescriptions may be appropriately filled after an electronic or phone conversation. If we feel a face-to-face encounter or examination is necessary, we will let you know.
Do you participate with mail order pharmacies?
Yes, many of our Benefactors use mail-order pharmacies.
Do I need to see my doctor to get a referral?
No, not necessarily. Some referrals are simply an insurance required mechanism that can be accomplished with a call to our front desk during regular business hours. Some new referrals may be appropriately completed with an electronic visit or short phone call. Still other referrals may require a face-to-face encounter, or even further evaluations. We will let you know at the time. Our trusted consultants expect us to do the basic things first, and we would never want to destroy that collegial trust by making inappropriate referrals and wasting their time.
Do you cover vaccines?
We cover annual influenza (flu) vaccinations and TB skin tests for our patients here in the office only. The other adult and pediatric immunizations are just too expensive to provide at our office. We recommend using one of the local pharmacies and your health insurance for the other vaccinations. After a well-child check here, we can recommend vaccinations and even obtain authorization and have the vaccines given at another local family practice office; however, your insurance must be a plan in which they are participating providers. Ask at our front desk for details.
Hospitals and Surgery
What happens if I go to the hospital? Will you be my doctor?
Yes, both doctors have privileges and admit to both Doctor’s Medical Center and Memorial Medical Center here in Modesto. We cannot provide hospital care outside of Modesto.
The choice of hospital is a decision based upon your wishes, your insurance coverage, bed availability, and the needs of any consultant physicians involved.
What if I have to go to short-term rehabilitation?
Our doctors routinely provide post-surgery or post-hospitalization care at the rehabilitation hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in Modesto. We cannot provide this care outside of Modesto.
Do the doctors do operations?
We also perform basic skin procedures (suturing and skin biopsies). We do not perform any major operations at surgical centers or hospitals.
Will you assist at my surgery?
No. Though the doctors have assisted at hundreds of surgeries in their medical careers, our malpractice insurance no longer allows us to assist at surgery, even on our own patients.
What services are included for Benefactors?
Being a Benefactor at St. Luke’s Family Practice provides you with direct access to your personal physician. After your annual Benefactor payment, there are no additional charges or co-pays from our office. We cover office visits, hospital visits, short-term rehab and nursing facility visits, and even house calls when necessary.
Women’s Health Care
Can I keep my gynecologist?
Absolutely. We are happy to work with other doctors already providing care for you. We work for you, not the other way around.
Do you provide Women’s Health Services?
Yes, we provide routine Pap smears, breast exams, and manage most common gynecologic primary care problems. However, due to the Catholic nature of our practice we do not provide contraception, sterilization, or abortion services. We are happy to assist with highly effective Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods of both avoiding and achieving pregnancy, and refer to appropriately trained NFP providers.
What if I want a female for my gynecological care?
Benefactors who would prefer a female provider for their gynecologic care may see our Physician Assistant Ericka Carranza-Perez, PA-C for Well Woman exams, or may continue to see other providers outside our office. Talk with your doctor or our Medical Assistant at the Front Desk to schedule.
Do you provide OB care?
No. Though the doctors have delivered hundreds of babies in their medical careers, our malpractice insurance does not allow us to provide primary obstetric care beyond the first trimester.
Other Types of Exams
Can you do sports/school/camp physicals?
Yes, this is often our best opportunity to assess the care of our school aged Benefactors.
Can you be my Workman’s Compensation doctor?
Well, yes and no. We are happy to be your designated physician for common illness and simple workplace injuries; but if you require extensive treatment a specialty office will probably need to be involved, and this usually necessitates transfer of your care to a provider well-versed in the rules and regulations of the complex Workman’s Compensation system.
Can you do my DMV physical?
No. Since May, 2014 federal regulations require that you must see a provider on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Can you do my FAA physical?
No. Dr. Forester has applied to the FAA become an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), as several of our Benefactors are pilots, but the FAA is not accepting any more AME candidates from our area.
How to Access Care – Contacting My Doctor
Accessing care: Schedule online or by phone
Benefactors may schedule their own same-day or next-day appointments anytime on our website. For personal help, call our front desk and we can figure out the best time for “adding in” to the schedule. If you walk in without an appointment, we will do our best to see you as soon as possible; but realize that there may be a wait while we see already scheduled patients.
Do I have to make my appointments online?
No, you may always call our front office during regular business hours and schedule your appointments over the phone.
Do I have to communicate with my doctor electronically?
For non-urgent matters, we prefer that you communicate with your doctor electronically via our website Message Center, email, or text message. However, you do not have to use a computer at all! We are very happy to accommodate you over the telephone, with pen and paper, and the U.S. Mail if that is what you prefer.
Are You Accepting New Patients?
What Is Direct Primary Care?
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a new payment model for primary care that focuses on customer service, choice, and lower costs, by re-establishing a transparent and healthy direct financial relationship between patients and their doctors. DPC eliminates the insurance middlemen who complicate and artificially raise the cost of primary care. Patients For more details: “What Is Direct Primary Care?”
Why Don’t You Just Accept My Insurance (or Medicare)?
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 work for your insurance or the government. But not at St. Luke’s Family Practice, we’re different – we work for you!
House Calls, Residential Care, and Memory Care
Will you make house calls?
When it is necessary for a Benefactor to be seen in the home, we will make house calls. We cannot always make house calls on an urgent basis, and some planning ahead is usually required. There is a homebound rate for patient who receive the majority of their care at home, however, we will occasionally see our “ambulatory” Benefactors on an “as needed” basis at no additional charge. We do not make house calls for simple convenience, but only when medically necessary.
My mom’s in a nursing home/assisted living/board & care home. Will you take care of her?
Yes, we care for many patients in Modesto memory care centers, board & care homes, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities. We are not able to take homebound patients outside of Modesto.
Do you take home-bound patients outside of Modesto?
No. Based upon past experience, homebound patients outside of Modesto pull us too far away from the remainder of our patients.
Will you sign orders for Home Health?
Yes, we will sign appropriate orders for home health services. We work with many different home health agencies and hospices. However, we can only accept homebound patients in Modesto.