Medicine is get­ting per­sonal in Ken­nett

Ken­nett Square prac­tice elim­i­nates wait time and co-pays

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran Maye fmaye@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ken­nettpa­per on Twit­ter

At Core Fam­ily Prac­tice, there is lit­tle to no wait time, and set­ting up an ap­point­ment is easy.

The average wait time to see a doc­tor in the U.S. is 19 min­utes and 16 sec­onds, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by Vi­tals.com, a physi­cian review web­site. And if you’re set­ting up an ap­point­ment, ex­pect to wait six days or more.

But at Core Fam­ily Prac­tice, a new and revo­lu­tion­ary fam­ily prac­tice that just opened on Cy­press Street, there is lit­tle to no wait time, and set­ting up an ap­point­ment is as easy as a mouse click, a text or a phone call.

“I al­ways wanted to give my pa­tients time, but it re­sulted in peo­ple wait­ing,” said Dr. Ricky Haug, 38, who left South­ern Ch­ester County Fam­ily Prac­tice when his con­tract ex­pired. “I had pa­tients wait­ing 45 min­utes and I was stressed about that. This was not what I had en­vi­sioned when I went to med­i­cal school to be­come a fam­ily doc­tor.”

Called Di­rect Pri­mary Care, the new health care model is sim­ple. Doc­tors get paid a monthly fee in­stead of through in­sur­ance bu­reau­cracy. The pa­tient is the core fo­cus of the doc­tor’s day. Doc­tors are not rated by how many pa­tients they move through the door.

Most tra­di­tional models have pa­tient block time set for 15 min­utes, and a few for as much as 30 min­utes. But Haug al­lows an hour for new pa­tient vis­its and 30-45 min­utes for fol­low-up vis­its. The pa­tient walks in, doesn’t wait, and is seen by a doc­tor who knows ev­ery med­i­cal as­pect of the per­son’s life.

“It’s more per­sonal,” Haug said.

Haug said he en­joys not be-

“I al­ways wanted to give my pa­tients time, but it re­sulted in peo­ple wait­ing. I had pa­tients wait­ing 45 min­utes and I was stressed about that. This was not what I had en­vi­sioned when I went to med­i­cal school to be­come a fam­ily doc­tor.” – Dr. Ricky Haug

ing pres­sured into see­ing a large num­ber of pa­tients daily.

The Di­rect Pri­mary Care model, Haug said, pairs well with med­i­cal plans with high de­ductibles. While these plans work well for cat­a­strophic ill­ness, pa­tients of­ten have to pay out-of-pocket for rou­tine pri­mary care.

“A lot of com­pa­nies are go­ing with high de­ductible plans for their em­ploy­ees now,” Haug said. “Let’s say you have a $5,000 de­ductible (mean­ing in­sur­ance doesn’t kick in un­til the pa­tient pays $5,000). You pay cash for each visit. If you go three or four times a year for vis­its it will be close to $200 per visit (at a typ­i­cal doc­tor’s of­fice) and there will be ad­di­tional fees for lab work.“

And many peo­ple, Haug said, de­cline to see their pri­mary care doc­tor be­cause of the ex­pense.

“We en­cour­age pri­mary care,” he said. “We are very ac­ces­si­ble. There’s no wait time, and you get a longer block of time for the visit.”

A wide va­ri­ety of ser­vices are cov­ered with the an­nual sub­scrip­tion, in­clud­ing phys­i­cals, wart re­moval, stitches, sprained an­kles, high blood pres­sure/di­a­betic man­age­ment, diet and weight loss man­age­ment, uri­nal­y­sis, mi­nor su­tur­ing, pe­di­atric care and lots more. There

are no co­pays for of­fice vis­its, and many pro­ce­dures are done at no cost to the pa­tient. In ad­di­tion, Haug can of­fer many generic medicines to his pa­tients at a very low cost.

Pric­ing is $65 per month for those 25 and older, and $30 for those un­der age 25. For a fam­ily of four, it’s $165 per month, with $20 for each ad­di­tional child. Haug com­pares it to a gym mem­ber­ship. He said pa­tients get more time with their doc­tor, and more ways to ac­cess their doc­tor - in­clud­ing tex­ting, video con­fer­enc­ing, email, phone calls, or tra­di­tional of­fice vis­its.

For an ad­di­tional fee, Haug will even do home vis­its, some­thing that was com­mon a cen­tury ago.

“I am look­ing to be the old-school doc­tor of the new mil­len­nium,” Haug said. “You are there for the pa­tients who need you, and re­ally get to know them. There is some­thing to be said for that.”

Haug cur­rently has 50 clients, with a ceil­ing of about 650. This is in stark con­trast to the 2000-plus pa­tients that pri­mary care physi­cians in the tra­di­tional model care for. If Dr. Haug’s pa­tient panel gets above 650 pa­tients, he said he will add a provider to keep the per­sonal touch with pa­tients.

Iron­i­cally, pri­mary care is one of the low­est com­pen­sated spe­cial­ties in medicine. About 40 per­cent of med­i­cal school stu­dents en­ter in a pri­mary care-re­lated field,

but by the time they grad­u­ate from med­i­cal school, only about 10 per­cent have not sub-spe­cial­ized due in large part to school loans they’ll have to re­pay.

Di­rect pri­mary care is not in­sur­ance and should not re­place health in­sur­ance. But it can work for pa­tients with al­most any type of health care plan. Haug said the plan is ideal for small busi­nesses who find pro­vid­ing health care to their em­ploy­ees to be cost-pro­hib­i­tive.

“It’s a great part­ner­ship,” Haug said. “The ris­ing costs of health care are be­com­ing de­bil­i­tat­ing. Many (small busi­nesses) can’t pro­vide health care for em­ploy­ees, and if they do, it straps their bot­tom line. But if they give them a high-de­ductible plan and com­bine it with di­rect pri­mary care, ev­ery­thing is cov­ered. Noth­ing comes out of (em­ploy­ees’) pock­ets for their pri­mary care vis­its. Some com­pa­nies even split the mem­ber­ship fees with their em­ploy­ees.”

Haug earned his de­gree at Cor­nell Univer­sity and his Doc­tor of Medicine de­gree at Tem­ple Univer­sity School of Medicine. He and his wife have two boys, ages 6 and 8, who at­tend Po­cop­son El­e­men­tary School. Haug was re­cently cred­ited with sav­ing the life of a man who col­lapsed after run­ning the Ken­nett Square Mush­room Cap half-marathon.

For more in­for­ma­tion, email core@core­fam­i­lyprac­tice.com.

FRAN MAYE — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Dr. Ricky Haug of Core Fam­ily Prac­tice in Ken­nett Square has started a new business that treats pa­tients on a per­sonal level.

FRAN MAYE — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Dr. Ricky Haug has started a unique med­i­cal prac­tice in Ken­nett Square that gives per­sonal ser­vice.

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