While at lunch one day with my friend Jill, a nurse, I mentioned how the fact that I had no insurance or healthcare was really making me anxious.
She told me that she had a "subscription" with a doctor in something called a Direct Primary Care model. She paid a monthly fee for unlimited access to a licensed doctor, and could even text the doctor with questions or issues, and the doctor could even call in medications to the pharmacy.
I was a little apprehensive, but curious. So my better half (now husband) and I made an appointment with Dr. Katriny Ikbal of DirectMed here in the Lakeway area of Austin. We got in within a week, and sat down for our introductory meeting. She spent an hour talking with us about our needs and concerns, and we decided to sign up. For under $200 a month (as of March 2018), we were both covered. This also covered an annual physical with bloodwork, well woman care, and unlimited access. For an extra fee that was very reasonable, she makes house calls.
Our first appointments were scheduled separately, and to my surprise we sat and talked for about an hour. We discussed diet, health concerns, and family history. It was very comprehensive, and very personal. I also got a chance to learn about her background, and how part of her goal in getting away from a traditional practice was to be able to spend quality time with her patients. I also later learned that another member of her family is a doctor, and another is a nurse.
It wasn't long before I was feeling like my heart was racing, and I scheduled my first "real-world" appointment. It ends up she has the equipment in the office for an EKG, something for which I was charged $600 at another local facility.about eight months earlier. There was no extra charge, and everything was okay. After talking, we figured out it was most likely caused by general stress.
Since then, I've also had the opportunity to reach out to the doctor via text...they were recurring issues that just required a prescription, which she called into the local pharmacy.
This was all fine and good for regular healthcare, but what about something a little more serious?