There are big problems with our centralized healthcare system

Submitted Mark Holder, MD

Direct Primary Care may be the solution

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” —Albert Einstein

In the midst of this global pandemic, there has been plenty of time to evaluate the limitations and shortcomings of the present dominant Third Party Payer (health insurance-based) healthcare system.  Any alternatives?

During much of this pandemic, most Americans have been weary to seek medical attention for fear of contracting COVID-19 at clinics and hospitals. This has led to a decrease in primary care and acute care during this time, and to a sicker population overall. For those having COVID-19 symptoms, testing continues to be a challenge. 

Some have been able to get tested and then sent home awaiting lab results, without therapy.  While everybody is waiting for results, the corona virus is replicating. When viruses replicate, they enter mucous secretions and are able to spread as those secretions are expelled.

Common points of exposure of the virus include droplets from sneezing and coughing, hand shaking, communal keypads (ATM, phone, elevator, computers), and door handles.

Stable patients with positive tests are frequently given an O2 saturation machine and a thermometer and advised by hospital staff to self-quarantine at home for two weeks. They are told to alternate Tylenol and ibuprofen every four hours to keep fever less than 100 F, with the warning, “By the way, if your O2 sat is less than 90%, come back fast!’

Many are receiving no prescribed therapy and are at home in physical misery and fear.  And some are dying.

A smaller group of people who are members of a Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice, Mperial Health, have received completely different experiences and outcomes during this challenging time. They have the ability to reach directly to their doctor through telemedicine at the first sign of disease, receive early therapy and close follow-up, and experience the reassurance of having a doctor on call. 

Some of these patients have also contracted COVID virus but have stayed home and been managed by a Board Certified Family Physician through Telemedicine. These patients are being treated for a fatal disease in their homes.

Prescriptions are verbally ordered to the pharmacy of choice or provided to the patient by Mperial Health. None of these patients have been hospitalized, and all are alive. Praises to Almighty God. 

Early recognition of COVID-19 infection and early therapy has a significant effect on the prognosis (course of disease) and mortality. Assess for COVID-19; clinically diagnose; treat immediately; test when available; treat close contacts.

Direct Primary Care is a subscription medical practice that gives a patient direct access to their primary care physician through text messages, phone calls, emails, and in person visits. In Essence, the DPC model allows an individual to pay for their health care similar to a gym membership and use care anytime they wish/need. It leads to smaller patient panels, easy access to physician, longer patient visits, improved outcomes, and happier providers and patients, all for a lower cost. 

DPC is a paradigm shift from a centralized healthcare system that capitalizes on disease and treatments to direct access to your doctor, who is further incentivized to keep you as well as possible. In the DPC model, patient care decisions are made between patients and physician; no insurance, no problems! Many DPC practices dispense prescription medications directly from clinics. 

There has been a national trend towards DPC practices for the past five years, secondary to the general rise of healthcare cost and the desire for a better way to provide health care. With the recent loss of life, jobs, and health insurance, there is an even greater need for thoughtful, cost-effective, patient-centered care. Many individuals, families and employers are looking to Direct Primary Care as the solution for a higher quality of care at a reasonable price. 

The ABCs of DPC

  • Prevention and Wellness focused
  • Unlimited Visits
  • Increased access to physician, including text, calls, and emails (same and next day appt)
  • Saving time and money, including labs and prescription medications

Mperial Health’s COVID prevention list

  • sleep 7-9 hours per night
  • quit smoking, no illicit drugs
  • wear mask in closed public areas
  • sanitize hands (or wash hands) after touching public keypads or handles
  • eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • consider the following supplements (especially if you have chronic condition): Zinc, L-lysine, Selenium, Multivitamin

Mark Holder, MD is a Board Certified Family Medicine Doctor in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. He is a graduate of University of MN-Physiology; Morehouse School of Medicine; and University of Miami Family Medicine Residency. He is naturally optimistic, creative, determined, and caring. Dr. Holder provides patient-centered care through customized medical services and health services memberships.

Dr. Holder has practiced Medicine at Grady Health System in Atlanta, GA; Phebe Hospital in Gbanga, Liberia; JFK Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia; Jackson Memorial Health System in Miami, FL; AM/PM Emergency House calls in Miami, FL; The Port of Miami Clinic; MD Now in West Palm Beach, Florida; Whittier Clinic (HCMC) in Minneapolis, MN; and Mperial Health in Edina, MN.