Bill Promotes Different Kind of Primary Care

Feb 13, 2017


The Kentucky Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation for a relatively new type of relationship between medical patients and physicians called Direct Primary Care.

 The concept is based on a monthly fee, much like a gym membership, to provide routine medical services. 

Currently, doctors interested in such provider-patient arrangements must go through the state department of insurance.  This bill removes that requirement. 

 Crestwood doctor Tracy Ragland says office visits plus access through phone, text, and email are covered for a fee of about $50 a month, including unlimited office visits.

“So, if one month you are sick, you need to see or access your doctor five, six, eight times, it’s the same fee,” Dr. Ragland said.

 Proponents of Direct Primary Care say the medical service is not health insurance, nor should it replace insurance for hospital or specialty care. 

Dr. Ragland said there are a couple dozen physicians across Kentucky using the model now with another half dozen preparing to operate such practices.

The plan is not insurance, she said. “It works best with high deductible health plans and health savings accounts.”