General Questions about Direct Primary Care and Thrive APC
What is Direct Primary Care (DPC)?
In short, it is a relationship between a patient and a primary care provider (PCP) that is unencumbered by the complications of third-party health plans like health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. When they pay for health care, they also regulate what health services patients have access to. Meanwhile, 80-90% of the care most patients need can be addressed in the primary care setting, when properly done. Direct Primary Care practices handle these needs for a fixed, affordable cost without a middle man. From your annual check-up to general questions about staying healthy, Direct Primary Care offers you access to care across a spectrum of health concerns.
Don't doctors with cash practices only cater to the wealthy? I can't afford that.
Contrary to how it appears on the surface, DPC is not the same as Concierge Medicine. The main differences are that DPC is significantly less expensive and does not bill health plans for any services rendered by the practice. Depending on a few factors such as age and medical needs, fees typically range between $50-$150 per month nationwide. At Thrive APC, our monthly fee costs less than most cell phone, internet or TV bills. Also, we have family discounts, referral rebates, and discounts for college students, military, veterans and first responders. We promise: it is much more affordable than you think.
Is it worth it? I’m healthy enough, I rarely need the doctor and I already have insurance, so why bother?
If you become or perhaps an elderly family member becomes unexpectedly ill, do you want to sit for hours in the E.R. waiting room, or call your doctor’s office only to be on hold for half-an-hour then be told that there is no availability for weeks or months? OR,would you prefer to pick up the phone –perhaps even initiate a video chat — and be greeted by the voice (or face) of a medical expert you have come to know and trust?
Truly the best way to determine the value of our service is to come check us out. If you are having difficulty getting in to see your regular doctor, feel free to come for a single visit, experience the difference, then decide for yourself.
Why do you call yourselves Thrive APC?
“APC” stands for Adult Primary Care, which we incorporated into our name to keep it clear that we are an Adult Internal Medicine practice. We can occasionally accept patients as young as 16 years old, but we focus on serving the 18-and-up population.
That said, we chose our name to represent more than just our medical discipline, reflecting also on the full scope of how we practice medicine. We believe in providing care that is Attentive, Personal, and Complete. We are committed to doing more than just treating and averting illness and injury: rather, building therapeutic relationships whereby we may connect patients with a healthier, more vibrant life. We want to teach our patients and community to do more than merely survive, rather to Thrive.
We know the alphabet soup can get confusing, since we also repeatedly refer to “Direct Primary Care” as “DPC” even over the course of this website… as if there aren’t enough acronyms elsewhere in the wide world of health care! Don’t worry, the bottom line is that when you come to visit Thrive APC firsthand, you’ll find a refreshing experience that is a lot less about letters and numbers and a lot more about taking care of human beings. So come check us out for yourself!
Getting Care at Thrive APC
What are the benefits of membership?
Membership includes routine preventive physical exams; visits with same-day or next-day access with no added co-pays, chronic disease and medication management, routine screening labs, home and hospital visits when needed, and the ability to communicate directly with your personal physician 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to visiting us in our office, you can call, text, or email your doctor without layers of barriers. Virtual visits via video chat are an option as well. Beyond all this, we also provide ongoing open-minded counseling about the best lifestyle habits for optimal health with fewer or no medications where safe and possible.
What it does not include are co-pays, co-insurance, hidden fees or back-door costs for any primary care services we can provide. There is also no minimum commitment and no long-term contract. Our goal is to keep things simple and provide direct care to patients without hoops to jump through.
Please keep in mind: We are not an emergency care center, so for true emergencies please call 911.
Do I have to be a member to be seen by Dr. Medeiros?
Not necessarily. We also offer single-fee services at Thrive APC for patients who are not ready to commit. A single visit for sick care is $100. A comprehensive physical, such as for school or work, is $150 (if three or more separate issues need to be addressed in a single visit it will be treated as a comprehensive care visit). We also offer lifestyle consultations for $250 which include an initial 1-hour long visit and two follow-up visits to address habits that impact health such as smoking, diet, exercise and rest.
Is there a sign-up fee to join as a member?
There is a one-time $150 enrollment fee. Patients that are seen for a comprehensive physical visit can apply this fee to initial enrollment if they decide to sign on as members.
What is the monthly fee?
Our age-based pricing scheme and single-fee options can be found on this link: www.thriveapc.com/services-pricing. They range from $50-110 per month. We have family and couple rates, and proudly offer discounts to first responders, military (active duty and veterans), and full-time students.* We also offer rebates for referrals and obtaining/providing your own medical records.
Please keep in mind: a membership with Thrive Adult Primary Care does not constitute health insurance.
*Membership discounts cannot be combined, but if multiple discounts apply, we will honor the one of highest benefit to the patient
What if I decide to cancel my membership?
We understand that your needs may change, and we want to help you through whatever transitions you’re making. If you need to cancel, we would appreciate a 30-day notice. If you cancel in the middle of a monthly billing period, your remaining, pro-rated balance will be refunded without a hassle. The full initial enrollment fee will be charged to re-enroll after cancellation.
Can I walk in for an urgent visit?
Because Dr. Medeiros performs some home and hospital visits, there may be times when she is not present in the office so we strongly discourage walk-ins. However, if you have an urgent need we can generally accommodate you promptly for a same-day or next-day visit so just give us a call.
Integrating with the Rest of the Health Care World
What about major health expenses, like tests, surgery or hospitalizations?
These should all be covered by health insurance, and DPC membership should not be confused with having health insurance. Consider car insurance: you need it to get a car on the road, but you only use it when something bad happens, such as an accident. That’s what “insurance” was meant for: a failsafe when things go wrong. But car insurance does not cover prevention and maintenance such as oil changes or detailing, which you pay for out of pocket wherever you find the most value for your dollar, such as the dealership or the corner mechanic. Like car insurance, health insurance should cover larger health expenses like those mentioned above. Primary care is your prevention and maintenance, which DPC provides with easy access at a predictable, affordable cost. Think of us as the corner mechanic of health care: small, personal, flexible, and willing to do what it takes to meet your needs without all the red tape.
What if I need to see a specialist?
The hope is that by spending more time with your primary care physician, the need to refer you to a specialist will decrease significantly. However, when a referral is appropriately needed, we will take all necessary steps to find and connect you with an area specialist that meets your needs.
What if I have an emergency?
You should call 911 immediately. Dr. Medeiros should and will be there for you in every circumstance — but in the case of a true emergency, timeliness of appropriate care is critical, so there must be no delay in calling 911 and going to the emergency room.
How much do labs cost?
In most cases, labs and other diagnostic studies will be covered according to your health plan. Apart from this, we are working on arrangements with DPC-friendly labs and diagnostic centers to provide services at modest prices. Finally, we are soon to have a fully-functioning lab on-site and will publish information about our testing once available.
Health Plans and Thrive APC
How does Thrive APC work with my health plan?
As a “pure” DPC practice, we are not and will not ever be paid by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid (e.g., MassHealth). We made this decision because regulations surrounding these payment processes require so much “paperwork” that it takes time away from patients. Meanwhile, spending time with patients is all we ever wanted to do. The DPC model makes this possible by keeping the financial relationship between the doctor and patient direct, leading to a therapeutic relationship that is direct, too – just as it was meant to be. If in doubt about how your health plan intersects with Thrive APC, contact us to discuss your individual situation.
Even though we are not paid by third party plans, as a primary care service we often help our patients maneuver the landscape when it gets confusing, because in our current health care system it is nearly impossible to completely separate services (the stuff you actually need and get) from coverage (whether or not a third party will pay for it on your behalf). It is our objective to always help our patients get the care they need.
Can I enroll at Thrive Adult Primary Care if I have Medicare? MassHealth? An HMO plan?
Absolutely! We just want to be clear that Thrive APC does not receive payment from any of these plans and is only supported by patient fees, so membership does constitute an additional expense regardless of your health plan. We are confident our patients will discover it is worth every penny.
Should I change my health plan to become a member of Thrive APC?
Health care with a DPC practice can in many cases actually reduce monthly or annual health care costs compared to using services covered within a typical health plan, but it may involve changing coverage depending on the situation. In other cases, it may be most cost-effective to maintain your current health plan. Ultimately, each patient’s or family’s situation is different and needs to be looked at case-by-case. Patients interested in this analysis should feel free to contact the practice to discuss.
How do I make an appointment?
To schedule a visit please contact our office at 774-318-4205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are working on an online scheduling program that you can use to book appointments directly, so check back soon.
Where is your office?
The office is located at 835 West Central Street, Suite 4 in Franklin, Massachusetts. It is right off Rte 140 where it crosses I-495 at Exit 17. Our building is actually visible from the freeway next to the Japanese restaurant Ichigo Ichie, and close to BJs Wholesale Club.
What are your hours?
Usual business hours will run Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Appointments outside of these hours can also be occasionally accommodated on a case-by-case basis. Also, please note that because Dr. Medeiros additionally performs home and hospital visits, there may be times when she is not present in the office so please call in advance to schedule a visit.
How can I get in touch with you to find out more information?
You can also find more information right away on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thriveapc where we post frequent updates, or throughout this website: www.thriveapc.com. The website is our central source of information online, and will soon include links for new membership enrollment, appointment scheduling, and a patient portal to your medical record, so stay tuned!