Tired of the hectic pace at a conventional family practice in
The idea clicked. After 12 months, Spoon has nearly 700 patients and is hiring a second nurse practitioner this month to continue growing the business. She said
Spoon doesn't make as much money as she did at her former practice, but she measures her success in the time she's able to devote to patients, and her own quality of life.
"My life/work balance is amazingly better," she said. "I get to go home ever day for lunch."
Similar direct primary care practices are gradually catching on across
Two other former Doctors Clinic doctors in
Only a tiny fraction of the county's providers and patients are involved in direct primary care, but many are eager to extol its benefits.
For providers, its an opportunity to spend more time practicing medicine. Spoon cared for about 4,000 people at the conventional primary care practice in
Lehmann said he can devote 90 percent of his time to patients, "not on billing, medical coding, compliance with insurance regulations, etc."
Most patients still carry an insurance plan to cover specialty care and emergencies. The direct primary care memberships, which range from about
"It's been amazing," Gibson said. "You have plenty of time for your appointments."
The direct primary care model isn't a fit for everyone. The monthly membership tends to make the most sense for families that see their doctor frequently. Spoon said she's had a number of people sign up for memberships and later drop out.
Still, buzz around Spoon's clinic is growing. August was her busiest month to date, with 36 patients signing up, all from word-of-mouth referrals.
As for herself, Spoon said she has no interest in returning to a conventional practice.
"I'll do this for as long as I can," she said. "It's given me a lot of peace and freedom."
(c)2016 the KitsapSun (Bremerton, Wash.)
Visit the KitsapSun (Bremerton, Wash.) at www.kitsapsun.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.