Our Digital Access Fee

Exceptional service has always been our primary goal. We offer a number of services that are not offered in other offices, including guaranteed same day appointments for urgent needs, ready access for routine appointments, short wait times (and Starbuck cards of you wait more than 30 minutes), same day responses to phone calls and electronic messages, and personal care. (Dr. Barrett is on call 340 nights a year to respond to urgent needs)

In the last few years we have expanded our services to include digital care via text message, email, Skype and Facetime. In a digital age there are many conditions that can be treated without the inconvenience of an office visit. Rashes, mole checks, bladder infections and pink are examples of some of the acute conditions that can be treated without face to face interactions. Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes can also often be managed without the patient physically coming in to be seen.

While modern technology makes all of this care possible, modern insurance does not want to pay for this care. HMO insurance pays doctors an monthly stipend for all primary care services but PPO insurances pay only for face to face care.

That left us with struggling with how best to provide exceptional care in this environment. Ultimately we concluded that an annual fee was the most feasible approach. In determining the fee we considered many factors. Local “Concierge” physicians charge as much as $3000 a year for similar services (although they often do not include digital care!). A large group in Palm Springs charges a $900 annual fee. We decided to start as low as we reasonable could and are charging $120 a year. This may not cover our expenses, but we want to be as affordable as we can be.

Here are answers to common questions-

What do you get for the $120 fee?

  • In addition to providing access to the highest rated Family Practice office in town, the fee covers unlimited digital visits via text, phone call and secure messaging. Patients can also schedule visits via Skype or FaceTime for a discounted fee of $65 per visit.

How do I schedule a digital visit?

  • Call the office and the staff will happily guide you through the process

What if I don’t want digital care, do I still pay the fee?

  • In the same way that people pay for AAA but do not use all of the services AAA provides, all non-HMO patients must pay the annual fee. The fee is for access to the services.

Do HMO patients pay the fee?

  • The fee is part of the HMO payment to the office

If you have more questions, feel free to contact us.

 

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