ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dr. Tom Pascuzzi did something a few years back that many of his colleagues could probably only dream of: He gave up a medical practice to start one that’s free from all the rules and paperwork that go with health insurance.
His new enterprise, called GoPrivateMD, is based on the direct primary care model. Pascuzzi, a former Air Force physician, serves both individual clients and employers paying extra to give their workers immediate – and they say less costly – access to urgent care services as well as physicals, flu shots and help setting up wellness programs.
Known as Dr. Tom to his clients, the affable former emergency room physician, who says he also wanted to spend more time with his three pre-teen sons in making the career shift, charges a flat monthly fee of $150 to individuals and employers and is easily reached by text, email and cellphone, or talking via FaceTime or Skype. He has far fewer patients now, but he can spend more time with each one.
The goal of the direct primary care system is a simple one, say other local providers who have started offering services on a cash-only basis. They all charge monthly fees instead of accepting insurance, and they offer customers near-constant access rather than an appointment a few weeks out.