Growing a DPC practice requires crafting a brand. What is the practice going to represent to the public? Often times, doctors aren’t used to this as they are often accustomed to having advertising and PR done for them already. Yet with DPC, when patients are paying out of pocket for a monthly membership in the doctor’s practice, joining a practice means investing in the doctor. How can a doctor begin to craft a brand identity with so many other responsibilities to running a practice?
That is the topic of this episode.
In the interview, Dr James Pinckney, founder of Diamond Physicians, a DPC Franchise recognized around the country for its brand, talks about branding his DPC practice. In particular he describes what’s worked as he grew his practice from scratch, what hasn’t worked, and most importantly how he and his partner were able to bring the practice from zero patients to a nationally recognized brand.
[03:58] When did Diamond Physicians start and what was the inspiration?
[07:31] How did Diamond grow from 2 doctors and one location to where it is today?
[10:23] What was the tipping point for Diamond’s growth?
[12:45] Who did your website?
[14:21] What advertising tactics didn’t work during Diamond’s growth?
[17:51] How did you go from being a single practice location to being a franchise?
[19:12] How can a doctor who is interested in the Diamond franchise learn more?
Dr James Pickney is a family physician from Dallas, Texas. He is the founder and CEO of Diamond Physicians.
Engaging website design for a DPC practice is crucial. Unlike other medical practices where patients are ‘fed’ to them by insurance plans, DPC practices have to work hard to market themselves to patients. What’s more, as a new model of primary care that doesn’t take insurance, DPC marketing requires even more effort at creating brand identity that patients will buy into.
Many DPC doctors, bootstrapped for cash, design their own website. And this is certainly doable. There are tools available for even the most tech-unsavvy people to make a basic website that gets across one’s message. Still, however, creating a website that truly captures the ‘package’ of DPC services offered by the clinic and the brand the doctor is trying to create requires a bit of extra effort. This can be done, but as a practice grows, a DPC doc will likely at some point need to call in outside assistance for marketing and branding.
This the work of Catapult Creative Media, a digital marketing company. Catapult, originally called drift web design, started out as a website company in Baton Rouge Louisiana in 2007 and has since expanded its operations to branding, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and print and promo materials. What’s more, over the past couple of years, Catapult has developed experience marketing direct primary care. Growing out of a relationship with Communitas Primary Care, Catapult has come to embrace DPC as the solution to the healthcare woes that ail the US Healthcare system.
In this episode, CEO David Maples discusses the importance of website design for DPC practices and how he has come to embrace the DPC model as the company’s CEO and co-founder.
[3:08] Tell me a little bit about Catapult. How did you get started and what’s your business focus?
[5:00] What was your foret into DPC?
[09:58] What are some things to look for when outsourcing a DPC practice?
[13:35] What are some key points that a DPC doctor can take to drive traffic?
[17:35] How can you go about choosing a reputable marketing company with a good result for a reasonable price?
[21:52] What’s a good price for a website for a DPC practice?
David Maples is the co-founder and CEO of Catapult Creative Media. He is also a licensed attorney. He lives in Baton Rouge, LA.
Launching a DPC practice is a challenging venture. In addition to the startup costs, rules, regulations and local laws that a new practice owner has to contend with, most doctors come out of training with little business acumen. Starting one’s own practice, much less one ‘off the grid,’ can be a formidable if not insurmountable challenge for many a would be DPC doctor. While there are certainly many resources available to DPC doctors to help them learn the ropes of small business ownership, there have been few if any one-stop shop solutions for DPC doctors to go from idea to profitable.
In comes Freedom HealthWorks. Started by co-founders Christopher and Adam Habig, Freedom HealthWorks aims to help DPC doctors achieve their goal of running a sustainable DPC practice from start to finish. From branding to website design to legal counsel to real estate advice, Freedom HealthWorks aims to provide doctors with all they need to succeed. What’s more, they work on a principle of transparency and responsibility, striving to charge fair prices and offer fair contracts.
In the interview, CEO and co-founder Christopher Habig talks about the Freedom HealthWorks experience. Starting out with the story of his own grandmother’s illness, he describes how a medication error led him on a venture to help primary care doctors continue their craft. He further goes on to describe how the Freedom HealthWorks plan works, what doctors they’ve worked with so far, how much they charge, how their contracts are structured and how they aim to stay away from the ‘third party’ mentality that has plagued healthcare.
[2:37] Tell me a little more about FHW. When did you start it and what is your mission?
[7:01] What’s included in your scope of services?
[10:14] What geographic areas have you worked in and how many practices have you worked with so far?
[11:14] What do you charge and what are the term agreements?
[14:20] Are there any term periods for your contracts?
[16:00] Many doctors are averse to companies who have come in and unscrupulously taken revenue from doctors without providing them a helpful service. How does FHW consider itself different?
Christopher Habig is the co-founder and CEO of Freedom HealthWorks.
DPC practice marketing is a major challenge for many direct primary care practices. Even for seasoned practices who are at capacity, the clinic may need a robust strategy to retain the patients it has and keep the clinic at its current numbers. And given the uniqueness of a model which charges people a periodic fee even when they aren’t sick and outside of insurance premiums, convincing people that practice membership is worth their money can be somewhat of an effort. Moreover, DPC practices typically don’t grow by traditional marketing means such as mass mail-outs, commercials, highway signs or radio ads. People want to find their doctor more organically than they do their tire shop. So what is the ideal marketing strategy for a DPC practice?
In this episode, Dr Matt Priddy, founder of Priority Physicians, talks about his clinics nearly two decades of experience as a DPC practice in Indianapolis, IA. Starting out at 10 patients and 2 physicians, they’ve grown over the years to 1200 patients and 7 physicians. In the interview he discusses the many marketing strategies they’ve employed, which he notes has been nearly ‘everything,’ and what among them has been most effective. While most traditional marketing venues haven’t worked for DPC, he notes, there are some strategies that when fine tuned can provide a return on investment. However, the best strategy, he says, is ‘letting patients market the practice for you.’
[2:50] Can you tell us about Priority Physicians? How did you start it? Why did you start it? Tell us a little more about the practice.
[5:46] Can you tell us your price point?
[6:38] How did you grow the practice from 2 doctors and 10 patients to 7 doctors and 1200 patients?
[11:49] What DPC Practice marketing strategies have you tried that work? What marketing strategies have you tried that haven’t worked?
[17:10] For a DPC doctor who is just starting out, how would you suggest they start out building their DPC practice?
Dr Matt Priddy is a family physician in Indiannapolis, IA. He founded Priority Physicians in 2002. He has also served as the president of the American Academy of Private Physicians and is one of the founders of the ROAMD Network.
DPC Marketing can be challenging. Since most people receive healthcare benefits through their insurance plan, convincing patients to pay out of pocket for care can make membership a hard sell. Not to mention the fact that payment is in advance, on a monthly basis. What’s more, physicians aren’t usually trained in marketing and sales, so when faced with the challenge of having to market their services, the task can seem daunting, foreign or insurmountable. While usually well received within the community, many DPC practices struggle to reach their target growth.
Yet there are some practices that have reached their target growth in remarkably short time. One such practice is Antioch Family Medicine in Wichita, Kansas. Started by Dr Nicholas Tomsen, Antioch Family Medicine provides full spectrum family medicine, from pediatric care to maternity care to inpatient medicine, for an affordable monthly membership fee. Dr Nicholas started Antioch family medicine in 2016, and has since been joined by Dr Allemand. As of this point, Dr Nicholas recounts that his panel is completely full, just two years out from starting a practice from scratch.
In the interview, Dr Nicholas recounts how he went about marketing his practice. Not only does he recount what worked to ‘turbo-charge’ his growth, but also what didn’t work. While challenging, he notes, growth to one’s target panel size is achievable for most if not all DPC practices.
[03:28] So can you tell us a little about what got you into DPC?
[06:44] What inspired you to go to Wichita?
[07:37] How did you initially go about recruiting patients? What strategies worked the best for DPC marketing?
[10:28] What strategies didn’t work?
[13:46] Many DPC doctors have not been so fortunate to grow as quickly. Why do you think this is? What can be done to Turbo-charge DPC Marketing?
Dr Nicholas Tomsen is a family doctor originally from Nebraska. He went to the University of Iowa Medical School and to residency at the Via Christi family medicine residency. He then went on to complete a fellowship in international medicine. He started Antioch family medicine straight out of fellowship.
Financial independence for physicians can be challenging. In addition to foregoing nearly a decade of meaningful income, many physicians come out of medical school with student loans that can be in the six (and now even seven) figures. All the while physician income has remained flat relative to inflation. Consequently reaching financial independence can be far more difficult for physicians now than those who practiced decades ago.
Still, as financial advisor Dave Denniston notes, financial independence is indeed feasible. By taking the time and effort and getting the appropriate help, doctors can be well on their path to financial independence.
In this episode, Mr Denniston recounts his very personal story of how he developed a podcast to help doctors reach financial independence. Furthermore, he explains what financial independence means and why he considers it so important for doctors to purse it. Finally, he discusses some of the challenges that have impeded true financial freedom and how doctors, especially direct primary care doctors, can take the steps necessary to overcome them.
[02:57] Why do you have such a passion to help doctors on the path to financial freedom?
[05:40] It’s no secret that more and more financial freedom has been a challenge for doctors. Why is this?
[09:31] If you were to give a few simple steps for doctors to achieve financial freedom, what would they be?
[12:48] When thinking about DPC and all of the uncertainty in health care, how can DPC doctors still work towards financial freedom?
Mr Dave Denniston is a tax consultant, financial consultant, author and podcast host. He started the podcast “Freedom Formula for Physicians” as a way to give back to doctors who care for his daughter Evangeline who was born at 23 weeks of age and spent the first months of her life in the NICU. Mr Dave has devoted an incredible amount of work to helping doctors achieve financial freedom so that ‘they can focus on what they love most–their families, their patients and the activities that give them joy…’’
Medicine is now more than ever at risk of becoming a big-box corporate machine. With more and more doctors being employed physicians by large hospital systems, the profession has, to many, lost its autonomy and prestige in the community. At present, many doctors, instead of knowing their neighbors and being well-known community members, lead much more private lives apart from their clinical work in their employed profession. And certainly, nothing is wrong inherently with privacy or with being employed, but now doctors are at risk of being co-opted into an impersonal, industrial machine that does not hold the same values as the personal, communitarian profession that characterized medicine for thousands of years. Save for those doctors who have left the status quo and choose to remain unbound.
In comes the Doctors Unbound Podcast. Started by Dr David Draghinas, an anesthesiologist by day, the Doctors Unbound Podcast focuses on doctors who are pushing the boundaries of the profession and refusing to be bound by the industrial machine of corporate healthcare. In the interview, Dr Roussel and Dr Draghinas talk about the importance of being unbound in today’s health care, what it means for the profession and what it means for direct primary care in particular.
[2:53] So tell me, what was your inspiration to start the ‘Doctors Unbound’ Podcast?
[7:23] You mention on your site ‘burnout and loss of prestige’ affecting doctors more and more. Why do you think this is?
[10:14] Why do you think it’s so important for doctors to become unbound?
[12:10] How do you see specialists and primary care doctors working together to build up the profession?
Dr David is an anesthesiologist who trained at USC SD prior to serving in the Navy for 3 and ½ years. He started the Doctor’s Unbound Podcast in 2017 as a way to highlight doctors ‘unbound’ from the system and promote a positive, uplifting image of the great work being done within the profession.
For small businesses, paying for catastrophic coverage can be pricey if not outright unaffordable. Due to the unpredictability of insuring small numbers, businesses with less than 20 employees often get hit with high prices for health insurance premiums. As a result, many employees of such businesses go without benefits that may be afforded with a larger employer. Yet small businesses form the backbone of the US economy. For them to succeed, finding a way to insure their employees will be essential to the wellbeing of the country and future generations.
In comes Sedera Health Plan. Birthed out of a company devoted to supporting traditional, religious-based health sharing ministries, Sedera set out in 2014 to facilitate small businesses’ sharing medical needs with one another, regardless of religious orientation. Rooted in the philosophy that we can do better by sharing, and that if we all work towards a healthier lifestyle we can improve one another’s lot, Sedera works as a health sharing plan specifically for members of small businesses. Members pay approximately $150 to $200 per month to the plan, and in exchange, when they have a medical need, they receive FULL coverage of the need–regardless of network or location–above the initial unshareable amount, be it $500, $1000 or $1500. This allows members to get seamless coverage of health care needs without the hassle or cost of many major medical plans.
In the interview, Dr Roussel interviews CEO Jamie Lagarde about the Sedera Health Plan. He not only explores how the plan works, but how and why Sedera began, and how Sedera can be paired up with Direct Primary Care to provide members with seamless, affordable and satisfying health care.
[2:57] What is the history of Sedera? Why was it founded and what is its mission?
[5:56] When a member has a need (e.g. cardiac catheterization, premature baby), can you walk me through how the sharing process works?
[9:07] Since Sedera is not a religious-based ministry, what are the requirements for a member to join?
[10:55] Does Sedera offer a discount for DPC membership?
[13:12] Do members of Sedra have to pay a penalty to the IRS?
[16:05] Does Sedera cover pre-existing conditions? If so, which ones and when?
[16:50] Does Sedera offer commissions to brokers?
Mr Jamie Lagarde has nearly 2 decades experience in systems and operations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Goodwill in Texas. He has been the CEO of Sedera since their inception in 2014.
As it stands few patient’s of national/multinational companies have access to DPC as a covered benefit. Certainly, anyone within reasonable proximity to a DPC practice can individually enroll, but when many employees face wage stagnation and crippling premiums and deductibles, it would stand to reason that DPC would be a wise fit within the scope of their health care benefits. Yet at present, there are many barriers preventing DPC from being a covered benefit for employees. From the company side, coordinating with multiple, heterogeneous practices across the country for a standard benefit package appears an insurmountable if not impossible challenge. Added to that, many brokers have been slow if not unwilling to adopt DPC given its novelty and (apparent) lack of direct commission for signing patients up for practice membership. From the practice side, many companies have been used to if not insistent on quality metrics provided by insurance companies or third party administrators to provide some sense of value for their health care dollars–real or imagined. Consequently, many DPC practices have been loathe if not unwilling to negotiate with companies asking them to essentially jump on the same bandwagon they just jumped off.
In this episode, Dr Scott Conard, family physician, concierge doctor and health care consultant, discusses how companies and DPC doctors can form new connections that could allow them to come to a mutually agreeable relationship. While not for every DPC doctor, Dr Conard emphasizes, railroads between large, Fortune 500 companies and DPC practices could give practices the fuel to grow with more certainty while allowing employers to provide employees high-quality primary care, lower their overall health care spend and improve the value of money they spend on benefits.
[5:23] How Dr Conard went from being a solo family doctor to working with large employers?
[10:06] Dr Conard’s experience working in a high quality primary care practice that shut down its cost saving measures when bought by the hospital.
[13:37] What are some of the challenges from the company stand point when working with DPC doctors?
[20:02] From the doctor standpoint, what are some of the challenges DPC doctors have when exploring a partnership with large companies?
[24:22] How can a DPC practice work with third parties and not get taken advantage of by middle men?
Dr Scott Conard is a family physician and health care consultant. He started his career as a family doctor in Irving, TX, eventually growing his practice to 13 doctors. He then started a health literacy program for corporations called the Game of Health, which led to him serving as the Chief Medical Officer for Holmes Murphy. He now serves as a concierge physician and consults with large companies on how to improve the health of their workforce and how to improve the value of their health care.
The Direct Primary Care Summit is arguably the largest gathering of DPC doctors from around the country. Every year DPC doctors convene to learn more about DPC and grow the movement to restore health care. The 2018 DPC Summit was held in Indianapolis, IN from July 13-15. The summit featured a number of motivating, informative and inspiring talks from DPC doctors and community leaders from around the nation. In this Episode Dr Staci Benson, DPC Summit steering committee member, founder of Paradigm Family Health and DPC grassroots organizer, gives a brief summary of each of the talks from the DPC Summit. For each talk she not only gives a brief synopsis of the content but also the importance of each talk to the overall growth of the movement.
[4:30] In “Take a Leap of Truth” Jeff Gold, MD talks about the meaning of “Salveo,” and its importance to his work as a DPC doctor.
[6:02] In “Prove It or Lose It: Defining Outcomes the DPC Way” Joel Bessmer, MD talks about the importance of defining outcomes to prove to payors the efficacy of DPC and how Strada has been able to do this with nearly no additional effort on part of providers.
[8:19] In “DPC as the Advanced Alternative Payment Model — National Update” Brian Forrest, MD talks about the success of the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative pilot
[10:14] In “If You’ve Seen One DPC Practice, You’ve Seen One DPC Practice” Thomas White, MD (Moderator); Cory Annis, MD; Maura McLaughlin, MD; Kylie Vannaman, MD talk about the uniqueness of each DPC practice and how doctors are able to individualize their practices
[11:15] In “Working With Small Employers: Creating Healthy Employees and Happy Employers’ Risheet Patel, MD, and Brad Banks, Co-Owner of Banks and Brower, LLC talk about how DPC as a covered benefit has helped improve employee and employer satisfaction
[12:25] In “Tunneling Through the Rock: The Qliance Experience” Erika Bliss, MD delivers a candid talk about the rise and fall of Qliance, expressing hope and optimism for DPC
[13:40] In “Lines in the Sand: Boundaries and Sustainable DPC” Julie Gunther, MD, and Delicia Haynes, MD talk about the importance of boundary setting when offering “24/7 access”
[14:47] In “Pearls of Wisdom for DPC Practices — What Works and What Doesn’t” Brian Forrest, MD and Emilie Scott, MD talk about the importance of keeping the DPC set-up simple and straightforward
[16:06] In “DPC Advocacy Briefing” Staci Benson, DO and Jay Keese give an update on the current status of the “Primary Care Enhancement Act”
[17:37] In “DPC Changed the Rules; Reclaim Full-Scope Practice!” Vance Lassey, MD, and Nick Tomsen, MD talk about how DPC has allowed them to reclaim full scope of practice, including maternity and in-patient care
[18:44] In “Employers & DPC: How-to Guide” Chris Larson, DO talks about how his practice has been able to pair DPC with wrap-around coverage to lower cost and improve value
[19:43] In “DPC Hustles Harder” Paul Thomas, MD talks about the importance of branding and social media presence for DPC practices
[20:30] In “Pressure and Fire” Julie Gunther, MD talks about the impact that pressure has had on her character, ultimately helping her grow as a person from the experience of being a DPC doctor
Dr Staci Benson is a family doctor from Dallas, Texas. She is the founder and owner of Paradigm Family Health. Among many accomplishments, she is an experienced grassroots organizer and has been instrumental in promoting the DPC movement.