These are some of the mostly commonly asked questions about our practice, the care we provide, and the direct endocrine care model.
Direct Endocrine Care, or DEC, is a model of healthcare that puts patients first by getting rid of the red tape that constrains traditional practices. How? It's simple: we don't accept insurance, and – believe it or not – this actually saves you money in the long run.
You won't have to pay a co-pay for office visits. Also, you'll be able to avoid many visits altogether by sending your questions directly to us via email and text for timely replies — something you usually won't get from a traditional practice. We've negotiated lower prices for many blood tests and imaging on your behalf. If we had contracts with insurance companies, we would be legally obligated to charge higher prices. Most patients find a high-deductible, low-premium insurance plan so they're covered in the case of a major health issue.
Of course. Everyone benefits from a service tailored directly to them. That’s why we offer truly custom healthcare. We help you proactively maintain good overall health. Every visit with us will be thorough, relaxed, and as long as you need to address your endocrine concerns. The longer you're our patient, the more we learn about your health and lifestyle, and the better we can help you maintain that health.
The terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Both DEC and concierge practices charge a periodic fee. However, under the concierge model, this fee only gets you access; that is, it doesn't actually cover any of your care. Instead a concierge practice still bills insurance for your visits. Under DPEC, your visits are included in your fee, plus you're provided with other incredible benefits like wholesale pricing for some labs and imaging studies, direct digital communication with your doctor, and all the rest.
Here’s a few articles that profile the direct care approach to medicine:
The fee covers pediatric endocrine care through office visits with no copay. This includes office visits for chronic care with minimal wait times in the office. The fee also covers direct communications with your doctor via phone, text, video chat, or email. Our patients have access to special procedures and some discounted tests not included in the membership fees.
We treat patients from newborns up to age 26 with endocrine (hormone) conditions. We help you manage type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, pediatric overweight, pediatric obesity, or disorders causing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). We evaluate and treat short stature due to conditions causing poor growth. We manage thyroid disorders such as congenital hypothyroidism, acquired hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or thyroid nodules. We manage adrenal disorders such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or premature adrenarche. Among other endocrine conditions we manage are growth hormone deficiency, diabetes insipidus, and panhypopituitarism.
For starters, having such unprecedented direct access to your doctor will reduce hospitalizations and specialty referrals in many cases. When those types of care are required, Dr. Ferry will coordinate with your hospitalist and any specialist.
We refer appropriately to a licensed and registered dietitian as well as a certified diabetes educator to optimize your diabetes care. Some licensed dietitians are also certified diabetes educators, which simplifies your encounter. These professionals will directly bill your insurance for their services.
Of course! Physician access is one of the greatest benefits of the direct pediatric endocrine model. Because illness and injury do not respect regular office hours, you may call, text, or email your physician whenever you have questions about potential impact on your endocrine care.
We maintain high standards of patient privacy. We will never provide your health information to any third party unless you specifically ask that we do so or as required by law.
Charges will be added and applied to your preferred method of payment when non-covered labs and procedures are ordered.
We expect to have an open, honest, respectful relationship with you. If you have voiced a complaint that we cannot satisfy together, we will gladly allow you to terminate your membership.
It is our position that you should be able to pay for your membership fees through your health savings account because the services we offer are qualified services. However, different plans have different requirements. You may want to confirm with your plan administrator to be sure.
Specialty medications (like synthetic insulins or recombinant human growth hormone) and durable medical equipment (like insulin pumps) cannot be negotiated to wholesale pricing, so the membership fee does not cover such costs. We will support you to justify such costs to other payors.
As the old medical axiom says, "diagnosis before treatment". The majority of children do not require growth hormone therapy. Moreover, it is illegal to prescribe or administer recombinant human growth hormone unless indicated medically. We will properly evaluate your child for potential endocrine disorders, which typically requires serial visits over time to assess growth carefully. If we diagnose a condition indicating endocrine therapy, we will discuss the risks and potential benefits of therapy with you.
Happily no, and fortunately for both you and us. Perhaps the most critical distinction in our model of care centers on a direct, personal relationship between you and your doctor. That directness carries over to our business model as well. You might use your auto insurance to fix a smashed fender or other major damages, but you'd never use your auto insurance to change the oil...or pay for gas! For some reason, health insurance is currently being used for the equivalent of oil changes for people — routine office visits and simple blood tests. This just doesn't make sense.
We forgo insurance payments in order to save our patients from the arbitrary, intrusive decisions that come with using insurance. Charging a direct monthly fee frees us from the typical contractual agreements that prevent non-direct care physicians from offering their patients discounted wholesale prices on laboratory tests or imaging services.
Yes, we take care of any patient regardless of your insurance situation. Since we work completely outside of the insurance system, none of the billing for physician services here is eligible for insurance reimbursement. However, we recommend everyone have insurance coverage, which is still important in the event of a major health issue.
Yes. We recommend our patients continue a major medical plan with a high-deductible and a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA). If you experience a major health issue such as hospitalization, you will still need insurance to help cover it.
Yes. You need only sign a one-time waiver declaring that neither you nor your doctor will directly bill Medicare for our services. Even though Medicare will not pay us for any services you receive in our practice, your Medicare benefits will otherwise remain unchanged and can continue to be used for all other medical care received outside of our practice. Medicare will still cover any laboratory testing, imaging, medications, or hospitalizations recommended by our physician.
It is our position that you should be able to pay for your membership fees through your HSA or FSA because the services we offer are qualified services. However, different plans have different requirements. You may want to confirm with your plan administrator to be sure.
No, you can cancel your relationship with our practice at any time by providing 30 days' written notice to us. Patients who leave the practice then subsequently decide to return to this practice will incur the prevailing enrollment fee.
Sí, Dr. Ferry habla español, pero nuestro acuerdo todavía es escrito en ingles. Yes, Dr. Ferry speaks Spanish fluently, but our written agreement is available only in English at this time.
Are you ready to become a member? Great! We’re excited to have you on board. Just press the "Get Started" link or fill out the form to get the ball rolling, and we’ll be in touch.
Still want to learn more about direct endocrine care or our practice? Check out our FAQ page for answers to many common questions.
Get in touch! We’re happy to chat and answer questions, at no obligation to you.