Fort Payne, AL – DeKalb MD, a growing regional network of primary care clinics, has partnered with Nucor Vulcraft in Fort Payne to provide on-site and near site primary care services. The partnership will give Nucor Vulcraft team members and families access to DeKalb MD’s network of primary care clinics, as well as on-site care at the Vulcraft facility. The clinics, known as direct primary care clinics, are geared toward both individuals and families, as well as employers looking to increase the value of their employee benefits programs.
DeKalb MD is also opening a new clinic in Rainsville, Alabama, which will celebrate its official opening in May. Members can also visit Fort Payne and Chattanooga clinics. Future projected locations for 2019 include Gadsden, Albertville and Scottsboro.
Dr. Chad Williamson, a north Alabama native, opened his first clinic in Fort Payne two years ago. Since then, the DeKalb MD network has grown to include two clinics in Chattanooga, and now Rainsville. In the direct primary care model, individuals or employers pay a monthly fee for unlimited and near-immediate access to their doctor. Each clinic has its own pharmacy, and prescription drugs and lab tests are provided at pass-through costs, or at a fraction of normal costs. DeKalb MD providers can even make house calls.
“Our model focuses first and foremost on the doctor-patient relationship,” says Dr. Williamson. “With DeKalb MD, people can call and see their doctor the same day. Our members have our cell phone numbers and email addresses, and we are available any time they need us, day or night.”
“Healthcare in America has gotten to the point that people are more afraid of going to the doctor because of the bill they’ll get instead of the shot they’ll get,” said Dr. Williamson. “With our model, the monthly fee covers as many visits, phone calls, and texts as you need, so our clients don’t need to worry about the bill. It never shows up.”
But the model extends beyond just the doctor-patient relationship, according to Austin Jett, an Employee Benefits Advisor with Russ Blakely and Associates in Chattanooga.
“Employers are desperately searching for ways to bend the cost curve while providing better benefits for their employees,” says Jett. “Many large employers provide on-site clinical care for employees and their families because it improves the quality of care and helps to control costs over time. Approaches like Dr. Williamson’s network bring the upside of an on-site clinic to small and midsize employers, but in an affordable near-site model.”
According to Jett, these models of care do not replace insurance, but instead work to address the issues that drive up insurance and healthcare costs over time.
Vernie Slaton, from Ider, AL, is a nurse practitioner at the North Shore clinic in Chattanooga and the Fort Payne clinic. She is trained as a family practice specialist. She joined the network because the model allows her to spend as much time as needed with each patient instead of feeling rushed to get patients out the door.
“I get to focus 100 percent of my energy on working with my patients,” says Slaton. “At DeKalb MD, we limit the number of patients that each provider sees to make sure there is always time for everyone. When a patient needs me, they call me or just come on in to see me.”
Direct Primary Care is used by all type of employers: self-funded, fully insured, as well as no insurance. For more information, contact Dr. Chad Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256) 979-1633.