Later this month, Johns Hopkins Health System employees will elect their benefits for the 2020 calendar year. Among the offerings is Direct Primary Care, an innovative primary care practice managed by Johns Hopkins Community Physicians. The practice offers employees, and their adult dependents, who elect an Employer Health Programs (EHP) insurance plan greater and easier access to primary care services such as an annual physical, point of care tests, and coordination with specialists to help employees better manage their health.
We sat down with the people who know Direct Primary Care best — its providers and patients — to identify the top five reasons why you may want to elect this EHP add-on benefit for 2020.
1. Available on Your Schedule
Part of Direct Primary Care’s appeal is the ability to get in touch with primary care physicians when you need them, day or night. “We understand that you can’t take a day off from work every time you need to see your provider,” says Carolyn Le, a nurse practitioner and one of two care providers at the Direct Primary Care practice. “We offer extended office hours so that you can be seen before or after work.”
Colleague Norman Dy, physician and office medical director, agrees: “We offer video visits and email through MyChart, with a quick turnaround. Typically, we can see a patient on the same day if needed, or we can arrange another means to get the medical problem resolved.”
2. Longer Appointments
Direct Primary Care offers appointments with care providers that are up to 60 minutes long, and they even extend beyond that if a case requires. These long face-to-face interactions give patients the time they need to ask all of their medical questions. It also allows the providers time to understand the underlying factors that may be contributing to patients’ problems.
“We have ample time to comprehensively evaluate and address each patient’s concerns, and to view these concerns more globally so that we can address issues that the patient may not have noticed yet,” says Dy.
3. Greater Patient Involvement in Care
These longer appointment times also allow the care providers to work with patients to develop tailored care plans that can fit into their lifestyle. “Nurse practitioner Le has listened to my health concerns and has made me an active participant in my health and wellness journey, which I appreciate,” says Kendra Fryer, a registered nurse and clinical coordinator on the oncology unit at Howard County General Hospital. “[Le] works with me to establish a plan of care that is best for me.”
4. The Health Care Team Approach
To ensure patients have the access they need to a care provider, Direct Primary Care staff members work together to manage patient needs. This approach ensures that patients gets answers to their health care questions when they need them, even if their primary care provider is unavailable.
“While you will choose one of us as your primary care provider, you will have access to both Dr. Dy and myself for your care,” says Le. “Dr. Dy and I work closely together to provide the best care for our patients.”
“Our practice has become known as one that is very easy to work with, and in which all staff — from the medical office assistant to the care provider — is obsessed with each patient’s well-being,” says Dy. “Our patients swear by how friendly our clinic is, how easy it is to communicate with us and how quickly we respond to any requests.”
5. Strong, Personal Relationships
This combination of teamwork, approachability and accessibility promotes a culture that encourages close relationships among all care team members and the patients.
“The Direct Primary Care practice is different from other primary care practices because the people who work there are a dedicated team that truly cares about my health and wellness,” says Fryer.
Jasmin Butler, a Johns Hopkins Outpatient Pharmacy inventory specialist, agrees. “Everyone at the Direct Primary Care practice goes above and beyond to put your health first.” Butler says. “I don’t consider them just my doctors, but my family!”