Nampa residents can now buy a 'monthly membership' for primary care doctors

Posted at 10:39 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 00:39:54-04

An alternative form of health care is becoming increasingly popular in the Treasure Valley -- one that tries to put doctors back in the driver's seat.

And today, the opening of one private practice broke new ground in Nampa. Nampa City Councilman Victor Rodriguez says this is the first Direct Care facility for the city, and he believes it could have a major impact for those looking to nix the middleman from their doctor's visits.

"If you want to go for health care, and can't afford it, will you go? And the answer is no," said Councilman Victor Rodriguez. "If you can't afford to go, you're gonna wait until the last minute 'til it turns into a crisis, and you don't have a choice."

Sadly, for many Idahoans, the cost of healthcare often outweighs its very existence. But with the ribbon-cutting of his new private practice, one Nampa doctor is looking to change that.

"My experience was that a lot of the insurance companies would put, almost like, stepping stones or stumbling blocks in the way to get the things that I felt were needed for my patients," said Dr. Josh Leavitt, Family Medicine Doctor of Nampa Direct Care.

Dr. Leavitt wants is leaving the traditional system behind as Nampa sees its first opening of a "Direct Primary Care" facility -- that -- get this-- doesn't accept insurance.

"In this model, they pay a monthly membership fee to me, to my clinic, and then they have as much access to health care as they need, without office visit charges, co-pays, or anything like that."

The monthly fees range from $19 to $99 per month, depending on age-- which may be hard to swing for some people, but Rodriguez says it's less than most health insurances.

"For those who are not able to afford healthcare, this is the alternative that I have been looking at."

So far Nampa Direct Care has enrolled more than 150 patients and will cap out at 600. He says he'll see fewer patients than he has in the past.

"Those patients can text, and say, "Hey I have these symptoms, what do you think about them?' and I can say, 'oh that sounds like we may need to diagnose that via a urine text, or, I may need to take a listen to your lungs today."

Thus allowing him to establish meaningful relationships with them.

"You're able to get in quickly, you're able to get the attention that you need."

Members of the direct care model are not covered, however, in the case of unexpected, expensive, health events such as surgery or hospitalization.