Lassey plans to offer Direct Primary Care in Holton area
Direct Primary Care (“DPC”) is not a new medical concept in the United States.
In fact, it’s a movement that returns the doctor-patient relationship to the way it used to be in this country.
Local Dr. Vance Lassey says he will have one of the first Direct Primary Care medical practices in a rural setting in Kansas.
About 100 people attended an informational meeting about DPC here on Tuesday evening, Feb. 2, at Penny’s on the west side of the Holton Town Square that was hosted by Dr. Lassey.
Dr. Lassey has announced that he is leaving his family practice at Family Practice Associates in Holton after nine years there so he can start his own “Holton Direct Care” practice in the community, hopefully by March 1.
He said he will pattern his practice after the successful one established a year ago in Topeka by Dr. Jennifer Harader called Oasis Family Medicine. Dr. Harader was also on hand at the meeting to help explain the concept of DPC.
Dr. Lassey said that Dr. Harader will serve as his back-up physician and he will do the same for her.
DPC, Dr. Lassey said, means your doctor is there for you 24 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days per year.
DPC does not take the place of your medical health insurance, it was explained at the meeting, but it does offer substantially lower estimated prices for medical services such as routine office exam visits, subscription medications utilizing generic drugs, urgent visits to the doctor and routine blood work and other medical lab work.
With DPC, Dr. Lassey said, he will contract with up to about 500 patients, who will each pay a monthly fee based on their age ranging from $10 per month to $100 per month, for unlimited access to him for routine medical services.
In addition to finding more time to spend with his patients and with his family, Dr. Lassey said he wants to start his own DPC to escape from the mountains of medical paperwork that are taking up too much of his work time. A lot of that paperwork is driven by insurance companies, he said.
With DPC, Dr. Lassey said, he will not be working with insurance companies or Medicare any more. Instead, his medical practice will be cash only. That, he said, is the primary reason he will be able to charge his patients as little as 10 percent of what they currently pay now for most routine medical services and prescriptions.
“Medical care has become way too expensive. It is absurd.” Dr. Lassey said. “The current system is broken. It is driven by money, government bureaucrats and insurance companies.”
The lab prices that he will charge, he said, will be about 90 percent less than what his patients have been paying with insurance, one test, for example, down from about $60 to about $1.60. Generic medication available through his wholesale pharmacy will be priced equally low, he said.
X-rays, he said, will also cost up to 90 percent less. In-office procedures also will be priced much lower. Many will be covered by the monthly fee.
Patients will be allowed more time to visit with their doctor when they have an appointment, Dr. Lassey said. Same day or next day appointments will be scheduled for 30 minutes or 60 minutes instead of the 10 or 15 you might get with a family physician now.
Also, he said, he will keep his patients’ medical records private.
“The government has access to all of your medical records now, but it will be private with me,” he said.
If you have a health insurance policy with a lot of out of pocket expenses, Dr. Lassey said, DPC could save you a lot of money.
Dr. Lassey said his patients will only be sent to the hospital emergency rooms for true emergencies.
“If you cut yourself and need some stitches, I can do that at my office anytime, and for a lot less,” he said.
Dr. Lassey said he is working with Holton Community Hospital officials, and hopes to obtain privileges at the hospital so he can care for his patients there and in the emergency room. He said he would also like to continue delivering babies.
If the details can be worked out, he hopes that he could care for his patients at the hospital, then his patients or their insurance would be charged facility fees for care at the hospital, but no physician fees, since that care is covered in members' monthly fee.
He said that patients who require the care of a medical specialist would continue to be billed for that care through their medical insurance, although some specialty care has been negotiated to offer low cash rates when needed.
He stressed that DPC does not take the place of your medical insurance. But if you have DPC, you should be able to seek out insurance policies that have higher deductibles than you currently have and in turn much lower monthly premiums than you currently have.
Through DPC, Dr. Lassey said, his goal will also be to help his patients become smarter health care consumers, always seeking the best value for health care services they need.
“The way you handle your car insurance is a good way to describe how you will use DPC,” Dr. Lassey said. “There’s some minor things that you don’t need to turn into your car insurance to cover. DPC takes care of the minor things… Our goal is for you to have zero claims with your insurance.”