Florida Medical Association

FMA Magazine Fall 2016

Magazine of the Florida Medical Association

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36 www.FLmedical.org FLORIDA MEDICAL MAGAZINE | FALL 2016 A Direct Solution FMA member Lee Gross, M.D., is one of the country's most infl uential proponents of direct primary care. By Erika D. Peterman Before he became a national expert in the eld of direct primary care, FMA member Lee Gross, M.D., was a frustrated private practice physician who had grown weary of the system. e time he wanted to spend delivering patient care in his two-physician North Port practice was being eaten away more and more by insurance company bureaucracy. He described it as "a rat race" of seeing patients in rapid succession and devoting an enormous amount of energy to dealing with insurers for fair payment. "We really felt like we were no longer practicing medicine," he said. One day in 2009, a patient who owned a heating and air conditioning company mentioned that the cost of providing his employees with health insurance kept going up, and he proposed a solution: "He said, 'All of my employees see you as their primary care doctor, so why don't I just hire to you take care of my employees and stop paying so much for insurance?'" Dr. Gross recalled. e patient's proposal triggered a series of events that changed the way Dr. Gross practiced medicine. In 2010, he and his fel- low practice partner William Crouch, M.D., founded Epiphany Health Direct Primary Care, and the name is no coincidence. "We did, in fact, have an epiphany," Dr. Gross said. e practice is a hybrid, as Drs. Gross and Crouch still see some patients who have health insurance or Medicare coverage. However, the majority of Epiphany Health is devoted to direct primary care and has thrived by providing patients with an a ordable option for primary care. Most of those patients either have no health insurance or have plans with high deductibles. Some travel from as far away as Miami. About 500 patients are members of the practice's direct primary care program. "Our uninsured patients immediately saw the value," he said. "At this point, we've backed away from participating in most insurance plans." e change didn't happen overnight. Drs. Gross and Crouch did the legwork of reaching out to independent companies that could provide them with a ordable essentials such as imaging, labs, access to medications, and physical therapy services. ose negotiations resulted in huge savings on services such as lab work, CAT scans and MRIs. All About Direct Primary Care In conjunction with the Texas Medical Association, the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation is hosting the Direct Primary Care Nuts and Bolts to 2.0 Conference Oct. 14-15, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. FMA member Lee Gross, M.D., will be among the experts discussing issues relevant to physicians starting out in direct primary care and those with established practices. Visit the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation site at d4pcfoundation.org for informa- tion on registration and hotel accommodations. Photo by Bruce Tietz for Florida Trend Lee Gross, M.D.

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