Direct Primary Care Debuts in Washtenaw County

. June 30, 2019.
Dr. Jeff O’Boyle
Dr. Jeff O’Boyle

Dr. Jeff O’Boyle brings personalized, affordable care to family medicine

Eight minutes. That is the average length of time that a primary care physician spends with their patients. That is, if you actually see a primary care physician and not a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant.

It is easy to feel like a number and not a person in the insurance-driven medical system. Dr. Jeff O’Boyle knows the frustration. He felt it when he first began his career in medicine. “Originally, I did work for a large hospital system,” he said. “I kid you not, I was miserable within three months of my job. We are taught to give the patients an opportunity to talk about one or two issues. But what if the patient comes in with five issues or seven issues? Just have them come back.

Well, that’s another co-pay, and sometimes people are taking half a day off work just to be seen.”

Partners in health

Families are increasingly turning to a new model of personalized health care that embraces a more accessible and affordable approach. Direct Primary Care, which replaces high cost insurance models with affordable membership options, has been growing for the past fifteen years, with over 2000 clinics across the country. Locally, there are clinics in Brighton, Detroit, Okemos, Rochester Hills and now, Ann Arbor.

Dr. O’Boyle opened his Ann Arbor practice, Beyond Primary Care, in 2018 with the goal of working directly for the patients. Often referred to as “blue collar concierge medicine”, his membership-for-care practice covers everything from pediatric to adult primary care. “I’m passionate about affordable and accessible health care,” Dr. O’Boyle said. “We eliminate the unnecessary overhead found in the insurance-based systems. For me, that allows me to create time and space again. I can give individualized care, not just a cookie cutter approach that someone may be getting when they are seeing a doctor for five to eight minutes facetime.”

A different approach

Patients quickly realize they are in for a different experience as they are greeted by Dr. O’Boyle the minute they walk through the door. There are no receptionists, nurses or assistants. He offers bottled water and sits with patients at the kitchen table in the homey foyer, where they comfortably discuss their concerns before heading to the examination room. Dr. O’Boyle collects vital patient information himself, and even conducts blood draws and dispenses common prescriptions from his pharmacy, all at wholesale costs that are a fraction of the pricing with typical insurance plans.

“I am in family medicine, so I take care of everyone from newborns to toddlers to teenage years and their parents, also. You can bring them all in. If you make an appointment, you know it is me you are seeing every time.”

This personal approach is evident in how he communicates with his patients as well. He is responsive to phone calls, emails, and texts. Through his website and blog, he shares information on medical conditions, family financial issues, and healthy recipes, all in an effort to engage with the community.

“That level of communication just does not exist in the insurance-based model,” he said. Dr. O’Boyle understands the strain that medical costs can put on families. He offers affordable monthly and yearly membership options, with transparent pricing for meds, labs, and imaging. “You are not going to get a surprise bill in the mail,” he promises.

“Being seen by a primary care doctor is proven to be one of the main drivers for cost containment in health care,” he said. “If you can’t see a primary care physician, you go to urgent care or the emergency room, in which case the costs go up. I offer same day and next day appointments.”

“A lot of people have co-pays and deductibles that they have to meet, and often those deductibles can be cost prohibitive to even use that medical care. My clinic, hopefully, bridges that gap.”

For more information on direct primary care, visit O’Boyle’s website, beyondprimarycare.com.