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Continuing the Conversation

      Gayle Brekke

On 5/18/22 we had with us Gayle Brekke, Director,
Concerned Actuaries Group

The Employer Benefits Market is Hiring Subscription-based Primary Care to
Fix Healthcare

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Every Wednesday your Freedom Hub (founded by Jeff Kanter and Charles Frohman) hosts two Zoom calls. One is at 4pm, the other at 7pm. The 4pm call is eclectic (often regarding our liberties…or disappearing liberties) and the 7pm usually is centered around practitioners who use a cash-based practice and what they do. These are recorded and archived. There are over 90 to date!

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COVID's fear scared too many families from visiting their primary care doctors for illnesses and accidents.  Many patients instead tried telemedicine first, to avoid in-person contact during a pandemic.  Employer benefit advisors are happy that workers are now going back to see doctors, because experts are hoping a new type of primary doctor can help with uncontrolled costs and unhappy patients.

Even before the Pandemic, doctors and patients were finding each other – not via a fee-for-service transaction, but rather with – in some instances – unlimited visits for a modest monthly subscription.  It’s called “Direct Primary Care”, and users are surprised to learn that 70% or more of health episodes can be resolved without having to get referred to a specialist.

This high resolution rate comes about because DPC doctors are able to spend more time with patients.  No incentive exists to rush the appointment, and there’s no extra cost if the patient needs a follow up call or visit.  Doctors in such arrangements know the best places to go if a referral is needed - who offers the best care; which testing center won’t overcharge, and so on. 

Some DPCs even have ancillary healers on staff, or have an integrative background themselves and can coach families on diet, stress reduction or natural therapies.  Some physicians are partnering with telemedicine operations to grant 24/7 connections, for a continuity of care.  By cutting down on specialist referrals, DPCs also save employers a ton of money.  They also do a better job keeping patients healthier and happier.

Ms. Brekke has a deep background as an actuary, underwriter, and now, a doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Management at the University of Kansas Medical Center.