Sponsor spotlight: New model, old medicine — Lynnwood doctor on the revolution of primary care

Remember the days when health care was simple? When you start to feel ill, you call your primary care doctor and they’d see you the same day without having to go through the waiting game? You paid for your visits upfront without any  surprise billing later because your insurance did not cover part of it. In this day and age, navigating the health care system has become a complex problem and continues to be a big burden for patients and physicians. When you want to see your doctor, there is difficulty getting in to see your doctor and once there, you then wait for a long time just to have a brief visit with your primary care physician. There is significant regression of doctor-patient relationships with insurances dictating your health care and payments. In order for a practice to survive, doctors are needing to see about 20 patients a day just to compensate for all the overhead they need to meet. A lot of practitioners are starting to feel burnt out and walking away from the career that they love to do and have trained for many years of their lives. 

Direct primary care (DPC) is a novel way of health care delivery by going back to the roots of the old medicine. DPC practices is based on the direct relationship between the physician and the patient without involving a third party payer. This is simplifying health care that hopefully transforms how medicine is delivered today and in the future. It also uses technology to improve access and serve the patients the best care possible without having to wait for days to hear back from their doctor. This movement has been increasingly popular the last few years and has been gaining traction in the Pacific Northwest. 

This is why Dr. Sherry Franco Balauag, founder of transforMD Primary Care, has joined the primary health care revolution by taking on membership-based medicine without insurance billing. After several years of working for a local health clinic, Dr. Balauag looked for a better way to serve her patients. The direct primary care model allows her to spend more time with her patients and provide better access when needed. She sees half the number of patients she used to at her previous practice and offers convenient times to patients who need to come in outside normal business hours. Her patients are able to access her 24/7 if they have questions through texts or phone calls. People who are not able to afford health insurance due to the rising cost of premiums are able to get unlimited visits with a low monthly fee between $40-99, which is cheaper than your monthly phone bill or getting a latte every day to work. Patients who are looking for personalized care find value in being a member of a DPC practice. Small businesses and employers who would like to offer health benefits to their employees, also gets this low-cost option to keep their workers healthy and reduce absenteeism. Common generic medications, laboratory tests and other ancillary tests are also offered with select partners at discounted pricing. 

“I believe that health care should be patient-centered, affordable and accessible to all with or without insurance.”  -Dr. Sherry Balauag

A patient who was unable to get health care benefits was very thankful of how she happened upon DPC and Dr. Balauag’s practice, which was in her neighborhood. A few patients even travel an hour through the I-5 corridor to see her, and if they are unable to do so with their busy work schedules, they correspond through email and text messaging. They did not even think that taking advantage of the technology of today could make their care be more complementary. A young family of four is only paying $200 per month for all their primary care visits and it definitely comes in handy on their budget, especially during this time of the year when their kids are cycling through a lot of viral illnesses being in school and day care. They can make video calls with the doctor if they are hard-pressed for time (or during the snowstorm) and best of all, it’s all included with their membership.

There are only a few DPC practices in Snohomish County and transforMD Primary Care is here to help transform primary care and transform lives. 

For more information, visit their website at www.transforMDpc.com or call (425) 770-2820. 

— Sponsored by transforMD Primary Care

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