Direct care means we have time for questions

You shouldn't have to navigate your way around the system

We make health care simple - find out how below

What is "Direct Primary Care?"

Direct Primary Care removes the middleman (the insurance companies) from the doctor-patient relationship, allowing for increased access, significant cost savings, and higher quality care by removing complexity and waste inherit in our current healthcare system. In this model, patients, not payments to third parties, are put first.

What is Advocate Direct Care?

Advocate Direct Care is a direct primary care practice that provides healthcare for all ages. Dr. Hannah Shelton is currently the only provider, although as the practice grows, additional like-minded doctors will join our team. This clinic was founded to make primary care affordable, authentic, personalized and transparent in cost.

Is Advocate Direct Care concierge medicine?

We provide a concierge service at a non-concierge cost. Traditionally concierge practices charge inflated membership fees, require co-pays for office visits, and additionally bill your insurance for their services. At Advocate Direct Care we do not bill your insurance company and there are no co-pays. For as little as $3 dollars a day you receive comprehensive primary care without all the extra costs associated with concierge branded practices. 

Do you take insurance?

No, I no longer work for insurance companies, I work for you. You are still able to bill your insurance for labs, imaging, specialists, etc. Membership fees cover your care in our office. Direct primary care frees us from the constraints of typical insurance contractual agreements. These binding contracts prevent physicians from offering wholesale prices on labs, imaging and other services.

As a patient of Advocate Direct Care do I still need health insurance?

Yes, we want all our patient members to be prepared for non-primary care services, such as need for hospitalization, emergency room, or specialist care. It is our job to keep you healthy and practice preventative medicine, but unfortunately we cannot prevent major unfortunate events from happening. Therefore, traditional insurance plans with a high deductible or health sharing plans pair nicely with the DPC model. We are happy to refer you to brokers and agents that embrace the DPC philosophy of cost savings, and will help you pair an affordable insurance product that will ensure full health coverage for any event.

If I don't have major medical insurance will you still take care of me?

Yes, but we advise you that your membership with Advocate Direct Care will only cover your primary care needs.

Do you take Medicare patients?

We cannot at this point. The government has strict rules regarding Medicare. I plan to adopt an "opted-out" status (anticipating January of 2019), in which I will start accepting Medicare patients. If you are interested, please contact us for further explanation. In addition, you will be placed on a notification list of any changes.

Can I use my HSA or FSA to pay for member services?

There is no distinct answer currently as the IRS and the Affordable Care Act disagree with their definition of a "qualified medical expense."  Please consult your tax financial advisor for advice. There is current federal legislation regarding this matter and hopefully a clear “yes” will be coming soon.

What do membership fees cover?

Fees cover as many virtual or in person visits deemed necessary and duration according to need. Complex care (including but not limited to diabetes, hypertension, thyroid, asthma, COPD etc), urgent/sick care, sports medicine, joint injections (knee, shoulder, hip bursa, etc), mental health/wellness, hospital follow ups, pre-op evaluations, weight management etc. In house labs (urine testing, strep/flu testing, injectable medication (depending on cost of medication), LabCorp labs (at wholesale cost), EKG, Spirometry, Botox (at wholesale cost per unit) simple laceration repairs, splinting/casting (depending on cost of supplies), ingrown toenail removal, acute manipulation, discounted imaging, dermatologic procedures (mole removal, skin lesion excision/biopsy, cryotherapy, incision and drainage of simple abscess, cyst removal), adult and child wellness exams, well women exams (see LabCorp cost for pathology), sports physicals, same/next day visits, and 24/7 virtual access.

Can I cancel my membership?

Yes. We ask as a courtesy you give us a thirty day notice. If you choose to re-enroll AFTER a cancelled membership, there is a $200 re-enrollment fee.

Why is there age based pricing?

We offer simple age based pricing because no one views themselves as sick. There is a limited number of members allowed in each physician panel to provide appropriate care. As age increases, patients generally become more time intensive with screening exams and management of chronic conditions.

Why would I pay a monthly membership when I am healthy or only get sick once a year?

  • WELLNESS MEDICINE: This a problem with our healthcare system today. Patients only go to their doctor when they are sick. Medicine should be focused on wellness and preventative health to prevent illness. Advocate Direct Care would like you to feel like the best version of yourself, so we build weight loss management and dietary advice into your membership.  
  • ACCESS: Have peace of mind knowing that you will have around the clock access to YOUR doctor - not a midlevel provider or physician who doesn't know you. Feel ill and want to be seen the same day? Come meet us in the office, we're available. Traveling out of town? Call or video chat us, we're available.
  • TIME: Time is money to the working population of America. Instead of waiting in a room with others that are sick or waiting hours in an Emergency Room or Urgent Care, you can take care of the matter via telemedicine or be seen at your convenience. In some instances the physician might be able to see you at home!
  • TRANSPARENCY: Even though you may get sick once a year, that one Emergency Room or Urgent Care visit could cost you well over a thousand dollars. Additionally, the anticipation of the cost may be stressful as well. After an Emergency visit you and/or your doctor have no idea of projected cost . At Advocate Direct Care you will know costs before you agree to treatment.

Why the need for monthly fees?

First it is necessary to understand how the current healthcare system works. Primary care clinics are perversely incentivized to see as many patients as possible (and as often as possible) during clinic hours as they are reimbursed by insurance companies on a fee for service basis. Insurance companies rarely reimburse services that include phone consults and text messaging. In order for doctors to pay their overhead expenses and still make a reasonable living, they need to see a large volume of patients on a daily basis. This results in short appointment times and ultimately a lack of quality care. Having a direct financial relationship with you in the form of an affordable monthly membership, allows us to remove the insurance variable from the equation. This allows us to keep our overhead low and accurately estimate our expenses. This results in significant cost savings and higher quality care for you and your family.

Do you take one time walk in visits?

No, we believe in continuity of the patient-doctor relationship. Healthcare has undervalued this important relationship of trust between you and the physician. Our patient members have around the clock access to us, so if we accepted one time walk-in patients, then it would take away the time for our valuable members.  Dr. Shelton chose family medicine as a specialty because she believes that facilitating a trusting relationship between the patient and doctor is a cornerstone to a healthy life.

 

What if I need to see a specialist?

We can make referrals like any primary care doctor to your prefered specialist. If you have had a specialist that you want to keep your relationship with, no problem, we can continue to work with your specialist and communicate any health concerns or needs. If you need a specialist, Dr. Shelton has been in the Conroe area for the past 5 years and will only refer you to a doctor that shares her same ideals and passion for quality patient care. As a patient member at Advocate Direct Care we have the time to really discuss your health issues with the goal of minimizing referrals. Your membership includes e-consults with specialists through RubiconMD. This connects your doctor with a specialist to discuss your care within the same day! 

What if I need to be admitted to the hospital?

If you feel that you have a life-threatening emergency then call 911 immediately!  Life-threatening emergencies are time sensitive and Advocate Direct Care is not an emergency facility.  While we do not have admitting privileges at local hospitals, we will be happy to coordinate care with your Hospitalist at the facility of  your choice. The goal of our clinic is to minimize any hospitalizations or emergency visits by focusing on preventative care and access to your doctor.

Can I contact my physician after hours? And how?

Yes of course! Before any medical care is started we will go over the patient agreement with you. This document includes the best way to contact your doctor at each time of the day. You will be given the exclusive member number that will go straight to Dr. Shelton after you become a paying member.

Can I be seen outside of office hours?

Absolutely. We understand with an 8-5 job it is difficult to fit in an appointment during normal business hours. Although appointments are preferred during business hours, Dr. Shelton will be flexible to your needs scheduling after hours or on weekends if necessary. You will be surprised how many things can be handled virtually, but if you have a need that requires us to be physically present, we will certaintly accommodate you.

 

What do you NOT do?

We do not treat chronic pain with narcotics. Any controlled substances such as stimulants and benzodiazepines will require additional paperwork and contracts if deemed needed by the physician for treatment.

How will I know if the doctors at Advocate Direct Care are right for me?

Dr. Shelton is available to chat on the phone or you are welcome to come in for a non-obligation free visit. This is a good way to start a conversation of your healthcare and to begin what we trust will be a long, productive, healthy relationship.

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