CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An old-fashioned, small town doctor is hard to find these days, but new clinics are popping up across the county modeling that concept.
Carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve relocation left Alexander Brooks having to get wrist and elbow surgery.
“Having to sit there and wait and deal with…having to describe the same thing to three or four people and go through that waiting process is annoying,” he says.
It’s also a process that Brooks typically doesn’t go through when he visits his doctor.
“It’s the type of care that I always hear everybody say they wish they got,” he says. “They hate going to the doctor’s office for this reason..and I’ve experienced none of that.
Brooks utilizes a direct primary care model, where he pays a monthly fee and is able to communicate with his physician as much as he wants.
“It was sort of like how you hear people talk about doctors in the old days, when they would make house calls and everything,” he says. “That’s really what it felt like.”
Dr. Melissa Jones is Brooks’s physician and currently operates her practice under this model.
“That personal relationship…I can do so much more because I have time to spend,” she says. “I also know the patient drives the care too so the patient has more choices.”
Dr. Jones went from working at a hospital where she would see around 2,500 patients, to now seeing roughly 600 at her private practice.
She says along with direct relationships, affordability is another big factor that draws in patients.
“It’s kind of like a gym membership,” she says. “You pay every month, which is about the same price or lower than a cell phone bill, and that gives you complete access to me.”
Brooks still has health insurance, but enjoys not having to worry about it when he needs to see Jones.
“When I go there, I don’t have to worry about do I get charged a copay or what have you,” he says “I don’t even have to think about it.”
With many people struggling to find and pay for good health insurance, Brooks hopes this is something that could pick up steam in the future.
“I think this should be the way healthcare is done,” he says. “I think you should have a physician that knows you intimately enough to be able to give you answers to your problems.”
Direct primary care coverage is designed to help people who might not be able to afford a primary care physician or prefer more one-on-one care during routine appointments.
You can access this map that will show you every doctor that operates a direct primary care clinic in the U.S.
You can also find more answers to frequently asked questions here.