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frequently asked questions

Improving health through affordable access to high-quality and personal health care. You belong here. ♡

  • What is Direct Primary Care (DPC)?
    Direct Primary Care is a growing movement of care where patients directly pay a regular membership to their doctor in exchange for care. Basically DPC removes insurance as the middle man between the patient and quality primary healthcare. With a traditional payment model (which has actually only been the norm for the past several decades!) the patient pays an insurance company for their premiums, then the doctor bills the insurance company, then the insurance company pays the doctor a portion of the billed service if and only if all their stipulations are met, and then the insurance company tells the patient how much of the bill they are going to leave for the patient to finish paying. Cumbersome and costly, right? Since DPC doctors don’t “work for” insurance companies, we are better able to work directly with our patients to care for them in the way that’s best for them. Think of it this way—because DPC doctors don’t get paid per visit, we are essentially paid to help our patients be healthy! How refreshing. Check out our About Direct Primary Care page for more info.
  • Who might benefit from a Hope Family Medicine membership?
    Just about everyone! If you’re completely happy with the cost and quality of your current primary care doctor, that’s wonderful! For everyone else, DPC might be for you. For people with chronic conditions who want a close relationship and great accessibility to a doctor who knows them and has time to listen. For people who never go to the doctor. This is a great opportunity to pair a high deductible insurance or cost-sharing program with a membership to save on your overall healthcare costs. And remember that sinus infection you pushed through for a month last winter because you had gone all year and still didn’t hit your deductible? We’ve got you covered For people who are uninsured or underinsured. *DPC is not a replacement for insurance, but about 80-90% of care is addressed at the primary care level. For people who want more personal, unhurried care; who may feel like their doctor just doesn’t listen or doesn’t have the time, or the wait is too long. Our patients can typically get same or next day appointments, and our appointments are typically 30-60 minutes. For people who are always on the road or have a hard time taking off work. Many concerns can be address over the phone, text, email, or video visit. Imagine seeing your doctor on your lunch break from your office! For people who want a doctor who still does house calls. Home visits are either a modest additional per visit charge or can be added to any monthly memberships. This service is invaluable for some of our neediest patients…or moms with a house full of sick kiddos! For small businesses/self-employed. Happier, healthier employees with fewer sick-days, fewer specialist referrals and fewer hospital admissions. Additionally, it saves money by opening up options for utilizing other insurance plans (High-deductible plans, Self-funded policies, or in conjunction with HSA’s or FSA’s) In short, if you want better health care, DPC might be right for you.
  • Is DPC the same as Concierge?
    DPC and Concierge medicine have some similarities! I’ve heard it said that DPC is “concierge for the masses.” Both charge a retainer-type fee that allow patients direct and increased access to their doctor. However, concierge doctors actually often bill insurance and then also bill patients for their “VIP” services. Their rates are also typically significantly higher than DPC.
  • What specialty is Dr. Gonzalez?
    Dr. Gonzalez is a board-certified family physician and practices traditional, evidence-based medicine. She has experience in outpatient and inpatient care for children and adults, as well as obstetric care, ER, and urgent care. As an osteopathic physician she also practices osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) and takes a whole-person approach to health. This means that she believes “lifestyle”—nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, etc— plays a big role in a person’s overall wellbeing. You can read more here.
  • Do I still need insurance?
    We welcome patients whether or not they have insurance. Hope Family Medicine is not an insurance plan, though, and we recommend that all patients have either health insurance or health sharing program. This is not for us—this is to cover any major non-primary care expenses you might have, such as an ER visit, surgery, or hospital stay. Some patients also choose to use their insurance for labs, medications, imaging, and specialist visits, though that may not be necessary! (More about that below.)
  • You talk a lot about saving money. How exactly does that work?
    On our end: Did you know that in our current system 40 cents of every healthcare dollar spent goes to overhead and insurance billing? I don’t know about you, but that blows my mind! Because of this, doctors are constantly pressured to see more patients and faster in order to cover ever-rising healthcare costs. By eliminating that waste we are able to save money and time, and turn those savings around to you. Did you also know that many prices of services are falsely inflated? This is not because the hospital/lab/pharmacy/etc is greedy, but because insurance companies will invariably cover significantly less than they are asked to pay. In order to compensate, the hospital/lab/pharmacy/etc must charge more in the hopes of even breaking even! That’s how we’re able to negotiate better cash pay prices for you. On your end: No copays. No inflated costs. Breaking down barriers to getting quick and high quality care may mean an averted hospital stay or ER visit. And since our focus can shift from treating illness to promoting wellness, that means an overall healthier you… which certainly saves you money!
  • What if I need labs or imaging?
    One of the additional benefits of a membership through Hope Family Medicine is that we have been able to negotiate excellent cash pay prices on labs, imaging, and medications. No hidden fees or surprise bills in the mail! You may also choose to use your insurance instead. Whether this is better than cash pay depends on the service needed and the insurance you have.
  • What if I need to go to the ER/Urgent Care/Hospital?
    First, you might not need that visit. Absolutely call 911 if you are experiencing a life threatening emergency such as chest pain or difficulty breathing. For some things, though, such as stitches, simple fractures, or that UTI which always seems to happen on the weekend we may be able to take care of it and avoid that urgent care/ER visit. If you do need to be admitted to the hospital, that is where your insurance or health cost sharing program plays an essential role. Dr Gonzalez does currently maintain hospital privileges at Susan B Allen Memorial Hospital, and she does have a separate direct bill rate for her services if she cares for you in the hospital.
  • What if I need to see a specialist?
    We can make referrals to trusted specialist, like any traditional primary care doctor. One great thing about your care at Hope Family Medicine is that since we have the ability to have longer visits to truly discuss your health issue and this sometimes means we can avoid the need for a referral.
  • Do you accept Medicaid/Medicare?
    Medicaid recipients are welcome to join Hope Family Medicine, but will likely also be assigned a "network Primary Care Physician (PCP)" that may be required to access other health plan benefits and services. Due to Medicare regulations, we are currently NOT able to accept patients on Medicare. This will change, though, so if you would like to become a member and have Medicare we are happy to add you to our Call List and we will notify you when we are able to start taking care of you!
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