WHAT IS DIRECT PRIMARY CARE?
Direct primary care (DPC) is a membership-based model of practice that creates a smooth, engaged, and inclusive healthcare experience for a predictable monthly subscription fee.
In a traditional healthcare setting, most people are accustomed to paying the practitioner through insurance on a visit-to-visit basis, no matter how much or how little they utilize the practice. This means that costs to the patient go up significantly in times of highest need. At the same time, access to care is limited. Appointments with insurance-based clinics may be weeks or months into the future, relegating unexpected sick visits to urgent care, which typically bills at a higher rate. Many providers in the insurance system see upwards of 35 patients a day just to keep their practice afloat, so office visits are often delayed, pressured and extremely brief, and direct communication with your provider outside of a visit is rare.
In contrast, the DPC model provides accessible, timely personalized healthcare for a clear and reasonable price. Your membership fee covers all routine visits – from anticipated preventative and chronic care management to unexpected minor acute/urgent care needs (coughs, colds, pink eye, allergies, earaches, rashes, etc.). Because we have fewer patients than an insurance-based practice does, wait times are never an issue, and you can reach your provider quickly when the need arises.
Direct primary care is brilliant from a convenience and quality point of view, but it also makes good financial sense. You will know your monthly cost going into it and save on unexpected visits to urgent care. Even for people who go to the doctor just a few times a year, DPC offers peace of mind and potential savings on sick visits and telemedicine because monthly fees are typically lower than the price tag of a single office visit in a conventional setting.
WHY I PRACTICE DIRECT PRIMARY CARE
In my career as a PA, I have come to appreciate that western medicine has many strengths, but does not have all the answers, particularly when it comes to preventing and managing chronic disease. We all know someone who received extensive western medical workup over months or years, passed through the offices of multiple specialists, and spent a fortune on tests only to wind up with a cabinet full of drugs and a host of new medication-induced problems. This is especially true for chronic pain, and digestive and mental health issues that are so common in the modern world.
I founded Gaia Tree Integrative Medicine to create the kind of medical experience people want and need: one that is spacious, holistic, safe, and effective. Gaia Tree DPC clients receive an extensive new patient visit reviewing their history and personal health goals. My treatment plans are highly personalized and may include western allopathic medicine, diet and exercise recommendations, aromatherapy, herbs, supplements, and collaboration with other western and alternative medical specialists.
I welcome patients at all levels of health who want to be an active participant in maintaining or improving their baseline wellness. Recognizing the dangers of pharmaceuticals and especially polypharmacy, I am open to helping clients taper off western pharmaceutical drugs when appropriate in a controlled and safe manner. If you already have a family practice provider you like working with, you don’t have to stop seeing them to join my holistic medical practice. The work we do at Gaia Tree is unique, powerful, and complimentary to the treatment you receive elsewhere.
Gaia Tree adheres to sustainable practices, minimizing use of unnecessary pharmaceuticals and medical waste and support nonprofits dedicated to conservation, reforestation, environmental research, and indigenous rights including Pachamama Alliance and the Earth Island Institute. I consider it a privilege and honor to practice medicine for the benefit of individuals and the planet.
We all know that health is more than physical. My approach to medicine is to help you become the best possible version of yourself by removing obstacles to health, self-expression, and enjoyment of life. That is what I believe primary care should be! I have chosen a membership model because it’s affordable and allows me to take care of my patients (whom I love!) in the best way I know how.
– Candace Miller, PA