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Benefits of Direct Primary Care (Guest: Dr. Nicole Hemkes)

July 9, 2019

The Heartland Institute's health care policy advisor Sarah Lee interviews Dr. Nicole Hemkes, a direct primary care physician based in Madison, Wisconsin, about why she started her practice after years working in hospital emergency medicine.

Dr. Hemkes spent over 10 years working as an inpatient hospitalist in emergency rooms, and as an outpatient clinician in traditional family medicine.

Over the years, she grew frustrated along with many of her colleagues due to the billing requirements mandated by insurance companies, the increasing number of patients doctors were seeing, and the fact that profession was beginning to face a shortage due to the growing administrative complexities of the field.

Fortunately, Dr. Hemkes, somewhere along the way, began to explore the direct primary care model and ultimately decided to open her own DPC practice. She says it's been a godsend to both her family and herself, as well as provided a needed resource to her community. Her practice does not require insurance coverage, and participants in the model simply pay a monthly fee to be included in the coverage family. Since Dr. Hemkes has the background she does, she can perform most basic medical services and even a little more traditional emergency services without patients using the emergency room as a doctor's office.

What's more, Dr. Hemkes says she has become much less frustrated with the administrative side of health care with the autonomy the DPC model provides to her. She believes the model could be what helps save the profession from shortages.

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Health Care
Sarah Lee is a policy advisor for health care and a host of Heartland's Health Care News podcast.