Dr. Bhavana Rao, family physician and a long time resident of The Woodlands, is among the growing number of physicians who have opened practices that offer a membership based Direct Primary Care. Clinics like Meridian Springs Primary Care (SpringsMD.com) do not need insurance but members pay a low monthly membership fee of $50 for individuals, $120 for family of 4. There is no copay charged per visit and no limits to number of visits.
"In other words we are like Netflix but for healthcare. Patients pay one low monthly fee and get access to the physician 24/7, which includes telemedicine after hours." Dr. Rao said Meridian Springs Primary Care caps their patients at 700, which is as much as 3 times lower than an insurance based clinic. "We can afford to have lower number of patients because of low overhead costs. We don’t have to employ billers, coders and other auxiliary staff to handle the dealings with the insurance companies. The cost savings are passed on to the patients. It is an overall win-win for the doctor and the patient."
Both individual families and small businesses benefit from the new direct care model. For businesses, bundling direct primary care with catastrophic insurance plans help reduce their healthcare spend significantly. Businesses will also see lesser absenteeism due to better access to the physician through same day appointments and telemedicine.
Dr. Rao completed her residency at the Conroe Family Medicine Residency Program. She got the idea of starting a direct primary care clinic when her husband was pursuing his MBA at Mays Business School, Texas A&M. She recommended her husband study the feasibility of direct care model. "When my husband was looking for a good topic for his capstone project, I recommended he study direct care model. When he was done studying, we were ready to invest in this venture. I was completely surprised at the speed at which we decided to open the clinic. My husband's graduation and clinic opening happened together!"
The clinic is located at 25420 kuykendahl rd to the south of the village of Creekside Park in The Woodlands. The clinic serves patients living in the Woodlands, Tomball, Spring, Magnolia and Houston areas.
Meridian Springs Primary Care is currently accepting patients
For more information, call 281-826-1359 or visit SpringsMD.com