FAQ

What is Unorthodoc?

Unorthodoc is your personalized medical home. Through an affordable membership, you and your doctor become partners in your primary care. This not only makes your care safer but more coordinated and accessible, as well. It also protects that space between your doctor’s eyes and your own, the most valuable and meaningful real estate in health care.

 

What is “Primary Care?”

Primary care is the part of health care you would be using most often … if the system worked. It should include your wellness visits, chronic disease prevention and management, and most of your sick/urgent visits. It should also be the container of all your important medical information in a form that is easy for you to access. If done right, it’s the first place you turn to for any health issue and reduces your need for specialists and hospitals. When those things are necessary, your trusted physician adviser should be your advocate and coordinator.

 

What is “Direct” Primary Care?

It is a new kind of health care payment model based that operates regardless of your insurance, but it is not a replacement for insurance. With membership healthcare, patients pay the doctor directly for her time, using a predictable fee structure no matter how much is “done” during your visits. This allows the doctor to stop thinking about how insurance requirements and billing will impact your care. Instead, she can focus on providing you with the health care you deserve at a cost the helps your bottom line instead of that of some faceless third-party. It returns doctors to a direct relationship with patients both socially and financially.

Direct primary care is typically financed by a reasonable monthly or yearly membership fee. In return, patients have ready access to their physician who delivers comprehensive, personalized primary care. It essentially eliminates growing frustrations with the current system, particularly problems with third party payment, paper work, and bureaucracy, experienced both by patients and their doctors. Preliminary data show excellent outcomes and greater satisfaction for patients and doctors alike while reducing overall costs by 20-50%.

 

What is part of Unorthodoc membership?

In addition to annual comprehensive assessments and same-day or next day urgent appointments, basic labs and tests are offered at no additional charge. We also have the flexibility to replace in-office visits with phone, video, or home visits, when appropriate. Members have 2-way secure text messaging and greater access to their records. Most importantly, they have a long-term relationship with a trusted health adviser that can’t be disrupted by changes in insurance, employers, or politics. Our visits are unrushed, questions are answered, and wait times are short. Now you really can have a doctor “in the family.”

 

How much does a membership to Unorthodoc cost?

Member Monthly Yearly (save 10%)
One Adult* $54 $583
Each Child 0-18 (or 26)* $39 $429
Family 2 adults/2 kids* $167 $1,785
Each additional child * $10 $109

Primary care for a family of four is $4.92/day, less than the cost of a sandwich!  One adult is $1.60 a day — the cost of a cup of coffee.

*Per visit charge (in-office, phone, video) $20 adults and kids over 6, $10 kids 6 and under. At least one parent or legal guardian must be enrolled with children from the same family.

 

WAIT! Why is there a per-visit charge?

The per-visit fee ($20 per adults, $10 kids under 6) allows us to keep your monthly fees steady while covering the costs of the replaceable items and digital platforms we use during your visits. This allows you to have as many visits as you need. It’s also a North Carolina requirement for this type of practice.

 

Is Unorthodoc a substitute for health insurance?

No, you still need insurance to cover expensive, unpredictable, or catastrophic health surprises. But since so much of the day-to-day medical care is taken care of with Unorthodoc, members frequently find that their health insurance needs change. They discover that adding an Unorthodoc membership is often less expensive (and more satisfying) than the premium increase to purchase the next higher level of insurance coverage. Health plans that combine Direct Primary Care with wraparound catastrophic coverage are actually provisions of the Affordable Care Act (section 1301 a3, page 58, Full Text).

“For catastrophes, you need insurance; For primary care, you need assurance.”

 

What about costs outside of Unorthodoc?

We are not responsible for costs that you incur outside of Unorthodoc, such as outside labs, outpatient radiology, pharmacies, or specialists. However, when using your insurance is essential, we try to find those providers that will give you the best value. We can also can refer you to specialists covered by your plan, if appropriate.  If you pick an insurance plan that includes Carrboro Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, located next door to Unorthodoc, you can have the convenience of an in-network practice when it’s required, such as for vaccinations, etc.

 

What if I go into the hospital?

In the event you or your family member needs to be hospitalized, your doctor will serve as a consulting physician to the team caring for you.  She will speak to you or your family while you are admitted and discuss your medical problems, medications, and test results with the hospitalist providing your in-patient care. We also help to ease the transition back home after your discharge.

 

What about expectant parents?

We are happy to set up a complimentary meet-and-greet with you to discuss your newest family member’s pending arrival and care. Once your baby is born, the doctor can work with the hospital team to insure a smooth transition back home followed by regular follow-up for your family.

 

What about vaccinations?

Routine vaccinations, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, are not included in the membership price because, by law, they must be covered by all insurance policies or by the state of North Carolina. Our patient care coordinator can help you with options to handle your vaccines. There are multiple affordable and convenient options, including the office next door.

 

Can I really reach the doctor 24/7?

Yes! There is no answering service between us. You may get the voicemail if we are busy with a patient in the office, but we will call you back. The doctor is always carrying her pager for truly urgent issues.

 

Can I communicate with the doctor via email or text?

For text, the answer is yes; Unorthodoc is using a HIPAA-compliant texting platform that also allows us to share pictures, videos, and documents. Email (currently Gmail) is OK for non-HIPAA compliant communication where personal identifying/health information is not exchanged.

 

Can we have a “virtual” medical visit?

Yes.  This can work really well for follow-up of some chronic problems and for information visits, like discussing lab results. In many instances, it works for some sick visits, as well. This can help families save time and provide earlier treatment plans and interventions in the hopes of returning you to health quicker.

 

What happens when my doctor is on vacation?

Even doctors who love their work need to take breaks to recharge. If your physician is not available, coverage will be provided by trusted colleagues.

 

Why not just use an urgent care or one of the new, cheap online consult services?

One of the biggest problems in health care today is fractured, unrelated healthcare information and services delivered by providers that don’t know you. Retail solutions can significantly worsen that problem if not used in cooperation with your true Medical Home (see Removing Dangers of Mobile Health Care).

 

What if we get sick while we’re out of town?

At Unorthodoc, we aim to provide more than just a once-a-year checkup. Even if you are healthy, we strive to keep you that way by promoting your goals for exercise, nutrition, and overall well-being. If you want a health coach or accountability partner, Unorthodoc is here. Our incentive is not to do things to you, but rather provide care for you, both when you need it and when you wish you had it. A membership to Unorthodoc gives you assurance and peace of mind that should a problem arise, we are here for you. But, we are also here when you are healthy, cheering you on and serving as a resource for your health questions. The membership model is the only payment model in health care that actually rewards the doctor for keeping you healthy. For a moment, think about what that says about the rest of our “healthcare” system.

 

We rarely go to the doctor.  Is having a doctor at our beck and call really necessary?

At Unorthodoc, we aim to provide more than just a once-a-year checkup. Even if you are healthy, we strive to keep you that way by providing a wellness plan which revolves around exercise, nutrition, and overall well-being. If you want a health coach or accountability partner, Unorthodoc is here. Our incentive is not to do things to you, but rather provide care for you, both when you need it and when you wish you had it. A membership to Unorthodoc gives you assurance and peace of mind that should a problem arise, we are here for you. But, we are also here when you are healthy, cheering you on and serving as a resource for your health questions

 

When my children go to college, can they still discuss a health concern with you?

Technology makes it easy for college students to remain in touch even though they may be miles away. Refills of non-controlled prescriptions can also be handled in the same manner.

 

Can Unorthodoc be given as a gift?

Yes.  There is no better gift than the gift of health and peace of mind, whether it is for your family or for a neighbor of limited means. Membership gift certificates are available.

 

Can my annual membership fee be paid for with my Health Savings Account?

I recommend talking to your tax professional. HSA funds are not to be used to pay insurance premiums, but Direct Primary Care is not insurance. US House Bill 365 insures that you will be able to do this without question in the future. If you have no other reason to contact your house representative, at least tell them to support bipartisan House Bill 365.

 

How does Unorthodoc handle narcotics, stimulants, & other controlled substances?

Unorthodoc has a very strict policy about prescribing controlled substances (strongly addictive medications). We NEVER prescribe them outside of an actual handshaking office visit with legally established patients. If there is ever a good clinical reason to prescribe such medication, you will be expected to return to the physical office at least once every three months for an evaluation and to pick up your hard copy prescription. It will not/cannot be mailed to, faxed to, or picked up by anyone other than you or your pre-identified legal representative (spouse, parent, legal guardian). No exceptions. No excuses. And we never replace “lost” prescriptions. We also belong to the North Carolina Controlled Substances Database. Trust that we check to see if you are being prescribed controlled substances elsewhere. Your life and our reputation are too important not to go by the book here.

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