Questions about care
WHAT IS SCHUMACHER FAMILY MEDICINE?
Schumacher Family Medicine is a new Direct Primary Care practice. It is the solo practice of Joel Schumacher, M.D., a board-certified family doctor. Read all about us here.
WHAT IS DIRECT PRIMARY CARE?
Schumacher Family Medicine is a Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice. In DPC, we contract directly with you, via a low monthly fee, and not with your health insurance company. This means that it is just you and your doctor making the medical decisions, not a third party like an insurance company or the government. Because we do not contract with them, we are able to find savings for you that are not available to most patients whose doctors may be bound by insurance contracts.
IS THIS CONCIERGE MEDICINE?
The terms "Direct Primary Care" and "Concierge Medicine" are sometimes used interchangeably. The main differences are the price of the monthly fee and whether or not the practice bills health insurance. In most locations, DPC is usually lower cost and billed monthly, whereas concierge is usually higher cost and may be billed annually. Concierge practices will also often bill health insurance. By those criterion, Schumacher Family Medicine is not a concierge practice. We wanted our services to be affordable to many and a viable option for the uninsured.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE SCHUMACHER FAMILY MEDICINE?
We are convinced that a good doctor-patient relationship is at the core of good health care. We strive to provide excellent health care advice, and to offer a caring, listening environment. Pair this with better accessibility than you may be used to experiencing and you have the makings of a beautiful thing. It’s almost like having a doctor in the family!
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
When Dr. Schumacher first came to Plymouth to visit Dr. Guild, he spent several days with him in his original practice location at 116 E Washington Street in Plymouth. We are located at this very address once again. Sort of feels like coming home.
WHY MONTHLY FEES?
One reason for ballooning costs in health care is the lack of transparency in pricing. And, in the traditional practice model, doctors are reimbursed based on the number of patients that come through the door. Both of these lead to higher prices, and rushed visits. A monthly retainer allows us to commit to the best care of a fewer number of patients. Which means time to be your advocate to find the most affordable tests and medications. And it gives you the ability to visit or call when needed without worrying about additional costs. One monthly cost. No hidden fees. No confusion.
HOW MANY PATIENTS DO YOU CARE FOR?
Rather than the 3,000-4,500 patients we cared for in traditional practice, we plan to cap our number of patients in this practice to around 600-700. Once that number is reached, we will put people on a waiting list and consider adding another provider. We will NOT continue to grow into a large practice.
WHAT ARE YOUR FEES FOR MEMBERSHIP?
DO I HAVE TO BECOME A MEMBER TO USE YOUR SERVICES?
Yes. Because Direct Primary Care is all about building an on-going doctor-patient relationship for your best health care, committed membership is required.
WHAT SERVICES ARE INCLUDED IN MY MEMBERSHIP?
Many! See "What's Included in the Monthly Membership" on our Pricing page.
I’M STILL NOT SURE. CAN WE SIT DOWN AND TALK?
Absolutely! Call, text, email or complete our contact form to request a free 30-minute consultation.
IS SCHUMACHER FAMILY MEDICINE HEALTH INSURANCE?
No! So we highly recommend that you keep health insurance if you sign up with Schumacher Family Medicine. Health insurance is best suited and most affordable when designed to cover the major, catastrophic health surprises.
WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE INSURANCE?
You don't need it to join or stay with Schumacher Family Medicine. We offer an excellent, low-cost choice to get good primary care. But we encourage carrying health insurance to help pay for the unusual, expensive stuff.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?
Keep it! Or better yet, switch to a lower-premium, higher-deductible insurance plan. Medical health sharing plans also pair very nicely with DPC practices like ours.
WHAT IF I’M HEALTHY AND NEVER SEE THE DOCTOR?
Good for you! But shouldn’t doctors assist you in maintaining wellness, and not just treating illness? We can talk about lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, etc. And on the occasion when you get sick from eating too much blueberry ice cream at the Festival, or you sprain your ankle jogging along the Greenway Trail, you can think of SFM as the “Triple-A of Primary Care.” On the occasion when you need us, it’s great to have us!
CAN I USE MY HSA TO PAY FOR YOUR MONTHLY FEES?
There is legislation addressing this right now in the Washington, DC legislature. Until this is decided, talk to your tax or financial advisor about this.
WHAT IF I NEED TO SEE A SPECIALIST?
We can make referrals to specialists just like any other primary care doctor (unless you have an HMO health plan, which may require a primary care "gatekeeper" to access a specialist). And we'll have the time to confer more in depth with your specialist.
INSURANCE PREMIUMS AND MEMBERSHIP FEES? WHY SHOULD I PAY TWICE FOR A PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR?
You are already paying twice! First time — your health insurance premiums. Second time — every purchase you make that is below your health insurance deductible. Employers, individuals, and families are all struggling with skyrocketing insurance premiums. This is causing a trend toward lower-premium, higher-deductible insurance plans. This means that people that carry such plans are essentially self-pay, just like groups that don't carry health insurance, like the Amish. People need value in primary care. They need a way to stretch their healthcare dollar. Direct Primary Care does just that – predictable, low-cost, yet high quality primary care.
IF I HAVE MEDICARE, CAN I STILL JOIN SFM?
Yes, indeed! But Medicare will not pay for your SFM fees. Instead, you could use Medicare like a catastrophic plan -- for expensive procedures, medications, or hospitalizations. Sometimes, Medicare patients end up benefitting the most with our practice because they often see the most savings on their medicines that we can obtain for them at a significant savings. Some adult children who live out of town feel at ease knowing ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ have someone who has the time to really address their needs, including house calls when necessary, and easy availability by email and phone.
HOW COULD THIS BENEFIT OUR COMPANY?
By providing our services as a benefit to your employees/associates, you can rest assured you are providing them with access to quality care. Prompt appointments, short or no waiting times means getting issues addressed and getting back to work efficiently. While health insurance costs rise, sometimes the need to provide higher deductible plans arises. Providing our services as a benefit helps your workers be able to afford good quality primary care, taking care of issues before they get worse. Sometimes in a competitive market, retaining great employees is a challenge. Adding our care as a benefit can make your workplace a more attractive option to those comparing job opportunities.
IS THERE A COST BENEFIT TO US?
Yes. Employers have seen their overall health insurance costs go down, by pairing high deductible plans with a DPC practice like us. Every situation is unique, and this is no guarantee it will happen in every case, but we have some specific examples we can share with you. Call us and let's talk!
IS THIS OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE?
No. We are happy to make site visits for educational talks to your associates about health issues facing them, and we will be very accessible to you as well as your employees. But occupational medicine is not our focus, and sometimes a perceived or real conflict of interest can arise. If this is a concern or you have a question about this, give us a call and we can talk further.
IS THERE A COMPANY TOO SMALL OR TOO LARGE FOR THIS TO WORK?
No. This can and does work with any size. But large companies often seem to have more options. We are hoping to focus on helping smaller companies meet the health care needs of their associates.
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