The national average for face to face time between a patient and their medical provider is just 7 minutes. Kelly Botta, PA-C, MSPAS, owner and founder of Smartypants Medicine decided to take a less traveled medical career route by opening a direct primary care practice that would allow her more time with patients. “After years of practicing medicine in a traditional medical office based setting with a fee-for-service business model, I found the pace and industrialized approach to primary care was negatively impacting me personally and professionally as well as many of my patients; it was all too rushed, something felt as if it had gone awry, and we all felt it. I wanted to find a way to practice medicine that was slowed down enough to provide personalized, compassionate medical care for my patients that felt more fulfilling, balanced, and sustainable for years to come.”

The practice is setup as a low cost membership model, billed monthly with no copays. As a member, you have access to your provider via phone, text, email, telehealth, and house call visits all for a flat rate that is determined based on age, not severity of illness or pre-existing conditions.

As the medical field landscape has changed over the years, private practices have been abandoned due to lower numbers of graduates choosing primary care, burn out rates of current professionals, regulations and compliance requirements raising the costs of doing business all while reimbursement from payers has continued to decrease. Botta says, “I am hopeful there will be reform surrounding prior authorizations, which are notorious for delaying patient access to needed medical care. The entire pharmaceuticals/prescription medication industry needs to be reimagined to allow patients lower cost options – thankfully we are seeing the beginnings of some of these solutions over the last year with Amazon’s Pharmacy and Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs. The record high burn out rates in medical providers and all medical personnel across all fields and in all settings is going to be absolutely vital in the near future. We will be at a grave place indeed, if when in our time of medical need, we have no helpers to help us. The pandemic only illuminated this problem.”

Health outcomes disproportionately affect patients in lower economic levels according to multiple studies, and decreased access to paid healthcare adds to the distress. Copays and additional fees due at each medical appointment results in people waiting to seek the care they need. The membership model at Smartypants Medicine, “provides the same care and same costs for those who are insured and those who are uninsured. We strongly believe in and provide price transparency – helping people avoid medical debt, bankruptcy, and surprise bills. We assist our patients in finding the lowest cost medications and tests – sending coupons, calling various facilities to price source, etc. We make getting medical care as easy as possible via text, email, telehealth, and house calls – patients can stay at work and save their PTO, or stay at home and save their gas money, and still get their medical concerns taken care of.” By removing the barriers entrenched in traditional healthcare settings currently, Botta hopes people are more inclined to get medical care as early in the process as possible, resulting in better outcomes, affordably.

Members also benefit from the increased time they have with their care provider. Standard visits range from 30 mins to an hour, with guaranteed sick/acute visits same/next day in addition to text, email, and phone call access. Members experience faster, more convenient access to medical care, with more time available to spend on education related to healthy lifestyle and disease/illness prevention, as well as personalized health goals. Exactly what healthcare should be.

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