Your frequently asked questions, answered.
What is direct primary care (DPC)?
Direct Primary Care or DPC, is a growing medical practice model that is focused on the doctor-patient relationship. Your doctor will contract with you, not your insurance, to provide convenient, comprehensive and efficient primary healthcare and coordination. By providing primary care services for a directly paid fee, patients get direct access to their doctor without copays or deductibles. With direct access to the doctor, patients can contact their doctor by phone, email, or video chat. DPC offers unhurried office visits and access to discounts on other services all without the use of insurance.
Is Direct Primary Care the same as concierge medicine?
No. Concierge medicine and Direct Primary Care are often thought of as the same because they do share some similarities. Both concierge and DPC limit patient panel size and charge a monthly or annual fee, but concierge fees are often much higher than DPC. Additionally, concierge medicine often continues to charge co-pays for each visit and bills insurance. DPC is a model based on a direct relationship between the doctor and the patient, bypassing insurance to reduce costs, making it more affordable and accessible for patients. There are no co-pays, deductibles or hidden charges.
What sets Home Town Doc or Direct Primary Care apart from other practices?
Direct Access. We have cut the red tape of bureaucracy. The restrictions that typically leave doctors in a traditional healthcare setting buried in paperwork and regulation are lifted through direct care, allowing us to spend our time where it really counts: with patients. By removing any interference with the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship, we have returned family practice medicine to its root values of clinical excellence and compassionate caring of every patient.
Will I benefit from Home Town Doc if I don’t require frequent medical attention?
Our practice is dedicated to getting to know you as a person and patient. Whether we only see you once a year or every month, we believe that the value of the doctor-patient relationship is something everyone can benefit from to maintain good health and prevent disease or to just be here when you need us. We hope to change the culture from reactive to proactive medicine.
Also, even better, we can give you access and time with your doctor that is relaxed and easygoing and overtime we will get to know you in a way that in invaluable to your care in the future.
Is DPC insurance?
No, DPC is not insurance. The monthly membership fee is your payment for ongoing primary care services offered by your doctor. We strongly recommend that patients maintain health insurance for care that may be needed beyond what we offer (specialty care, ER or hospitalization, surgery, etc.). Direct primary care couples nicely with a high deductible “catastrophic” policy.
Do you take my insurance?
No, we do not accept or bill health insurance. In the DPC model, we contract directly with the patient, not an insurance company. By eliminating the restrictions associated with health insurance, we keep costs low and spend as much time as needed with our patients. Insurance may be needed in specific and catastrophic situations, and we strongly recommend that you do have insurance for these potentially unforeseen situations.
Think of DPC like your car or home owner’s insurance. You probably wouldn’t file an insurance claim for maintenance or a minor repair because of the hassle to do so and your premiums may go up. However, if you crash your car…into your house, you need your insurance to cover the potentially catastrophic damages. You may find that much of the care you receive through DPC costs less than it would if you were using insurance.
If I have insurance, can I still use it?
Yes. You can continue to use your insurance as usual for prescriptions, imaging, specialists, hospitalizations, etc. DPC is considered an “out of network” provider and most insurances, except HMO policies, will still cover tests, consultations and procedures ordered by out of network providers.
If I have Medicare, can I still become a patient?
Absolutely! You will need to sign a one-time waiver declaring that neither you nor our office will directly bill Medicare for our services. You can continue to use Medicare for laboratory testing, imaging, and medications prescribed by our office, as well as specialty care and hospitalizations.
Are my Home Town Doc service charges tax deductible?
In most cases yes. You may need to consult with your accountant or attorney, but recent executive government policy changes have cleared up the gray area for Direct Primary Care coverage as a "medical expense". For more information visit www.dpcfrontier.com.
Can I use my Flex Spending (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) card?
In most cases yes. Check with your FSA/HSA employer to make sure, but recent executive government policy changes have cleared up the gray area with membership fee's vs. a fee for a specific service. For more information visit www.dpcfrontier.com.
What forms of payment do you take?
Cash, Checks or Automatic Bank Transfer are the preferred methods of payment. Credit Cards/FSA/HSA are accepted, but there will be an additional 4% convenience fee for card processing.
What happens if I need to be hospitalized or see a specialist?
Your care is of most importance to us and at times it may be necessary and very important for you to see a specialist or be hospitalized. In this case, we will work closely with your specialist or hospital doctor to coordinate your care. Schedule permitting, we are able to make coordinating care visits to our hospitalized patients or accompany you to see your specialist.
Do you see children in your practice?
Yes! We are a family medicine practice and are trained to care for patients of all ages. We do not currently provide routine vaccinations for young children, but as volume grows, we hope to include these. In the meantime, we will work with you to arrange necessary vaccines.
What if I need medical care while I’m traveling?
This is one of the benefits of being a patient of Home Town Doc—because we know you well, we can usually care for you even when you’re away from home. Many illnesses can be diagnosed and treated by communication through by phone, secure email, or video chat. If necessary and appropriate, we can call prescriptions into the pharmacy nearest you.
What is your service area for home visits?
The service area includes the communities of Arroyo Seco, La Mesilla, La Puebla, Nambe, Pojoaque, Jacona, Jaconita, El Rancho, San Ildefonso, and Cuyamungue. The boundaries are the Rio Grande bridge on 503 (heading towards Los Alamos), the intersection at 285/84 North and 106 &399 (at the Dreamcatcher) and on 285/84 South at the Gabriel's overpass. Home visits outside of these areas will be charged travel time.
Can I contact my Doctor after hours?
Yes. Members are given after hours contact information for urgent needs outside of business hours.
Will I have access to my medical records?
Your medical records are kept in a secure electronic file and are your property. If you need copies, just let us know.
Do you share any medical records with insurance carriers or pharmaceutical companies?
No, unless you specifically request it. We take your privacy seriously, and we are not obligated to provide any third party with a copy of your records unless you specifically ask that we do and sign a release of records.
Is there a contract? How long is the contract?
If you decide to become a member then on your first visit, we will go over and sign the contract for yourself (and your family members, if applicable). The contract operates on a monthly billing basis. However, you may choose to pay upfront 6 or 12 months in advance. There are no long-term contracts, so you may terminate your membership at any time. If you decide to leave Home Town Doc, or if your payments lapse, the fee to re-enroll is $200.
What is your policy on controlled substances?
The rate of deaths in our country, state and community from overdoses are growing exponentially. Out of respect for our patients, their families and our community, chronic controlled substances will not be prescribed. We believe that controlled substances, both narcotics (like Oxycodone or Oxycontin, etc.) and benzodiazepines (such as clonazepam and Xanax, etc.), have a limited role in primary care and therefore Dr. Lucero prescribes them rarely and only very sparingly. We believe chronic pain requiring narcotics is best managed by a pain management specialist, but we are happy to work with you on non-narcotic options for your pain and to manage your other medical conditions. We do not treat anxiety with benzodiazepines, but are happy to offer other medications and techniques often successful in treating anxiety. No controlled substances are kept in the office.
If I enroll as a patient of Home Town Doc, when does billing begin?
At your first visit, both your enrollment fee and your prorated first monthly membership fee will be due at time of service. Following that, you can choose to pay monthly, 6 months at a time or annually. Members who pay annually upfront will receive a 5% discount. Membership fee's are otherwise due on the 1st of each month. Please note that medical care will not be provided through email, video chat or phone prior to an initial face to face appointment and exam.
How will I know if Home Town Doc is right for me?
Come get to know us with a free 15-minute meet and greet. We can answer your questions about our practice and Direct Primary Care in relation to your healthcare situation. Please note that medical decision-making care will not be provided as part of the meet and greet.
Still have questions?
Please contact us at DrStephanie@hometowndocnm.com or call us at 505-557-4551.