Hello everyone! My name is John Blanchard, and I am a family physician with SALTA Direct Primary Care. We are a 6-office primary care group in Michigan. I am doing these videos to get good information out to the public during this viral pandemic. I am doing these videos from a camper, I call the COVID camper. I am living in the camper, so I do not risk bringing the virus home to my family. When I do these videos, I am going to answer questions that I am receiving from patients or coming in through our Facebook page. Then I am going to talk about one thing that I am grateful as I think this is important and then one positive thing I hope comes out of this pandemic, and then finally how SALTA Direct Primary Care works for me and why I like being a direct primary care doctor.
For those of you who do not know, our practice has been around for 20 years, we do not bill insurance, you pay a monthly membership fee and for that the patient receives enhanced access to their provider. Companies also hire us to take of their employees so their employees can have enhanced access to a provider, better experience of care, better outcomes of care, and ability to lower the overall cost of care.
What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus? The symptoms develop anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. It looks like many develop about 4 days after exposure. The symptoms can be just like a cold, runny nose, cough, fever. Dry cough and fever are one of the hallmarks of the condition. Some can feel achy as well. Most people, 80% will have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, especially very young children. We are managing many people from home now with video visits and home visits. In fact, we have done over 900 since March 1st. Managing these patients from home is important as we are all being told to stay home who don’t need to be in the emergency room or hospital.
What are the critical and server symptoms of Coronavirus? If you are taking care of someone at home or have the virus yourself, the signs you need to look for that could mean that there is an emergency are very difficult time breathing, or if the person seems confused, lethargic, or bluish color to lips and face. This means they’re not getting enough oxygen. This is a very important role in primary care today and what we’re doing all the time and at SALTA Direct Primary Care if we notice someone is worsening at home, we bring them into the office and we do an assessment whether we can continue to manage at home or if they need to go to the emergency room or hospital. I encourage you to be in contact with your direct primary care doctors about your symptoms and if those symptoms are beginning to worsen, then contact them about coming into the office. If the more critical symptoms are present including the bluish face, confusion you need to get to the emergency room.
What can I do to prevent from getting sick or getting COVID or what can I do to not worsen? Get plenty of rest, eating a balanced diet, go for a walk. If you are outside maintaining a safe distance of 6 foot. Manage your stress, mindfulness! Wash your hands, cover your cough, cover your sneeze! However, do not go on the internet and find things that are being promoted. Some things are even being promoted by doctors during this time of fear and crisis which is very underhanded. Healthcare professionals are promoting extra vitamins and IV solutions with vitamin C. I am getting a lot of questions from my patients if I should be doing these things. The truth is if you are eating a balanced diet and maintaining physical activity continue to do so. You are not going to help yourself by taking extra vitamins. It is advised to take 1000 units of vitamin D each day in Michigan. But this will not help you prevent COVID. There are no studies that have been proven to do IV solutions or extra supplements or nutrients from nutraceuticals. People are going to be peddling this to make money off this crisis and I think it is underhanded and you should avoid doing these things.
One thing that I am grateful for is the management team at SALTA Direct Primary Care. All our staff members including the administrative staff, the medical staff, medical assistant staff, and the leadership. Everyone in our organization has really pulled together during this time and we went from seeing thousands of people in our six locations to seeing people virtually all within a week. I am proud of this accomplishment that our team has done. It is such a joy to work with such great, positive, and enthusiastic people and I really appreciate that. Like many other healthcare professionals today playing this important critical role in healthcare and coming to work every day. We are thankful for all of you out there staying home and doing your part so we can be in the office and helping those who need it.
Something positive that I think will come out of this pandemic is I think this will represent a paradigm shift in primary care. More care will be provided in a virtual environment including video through messaging and telephone. This has forced the issue, but I think as much as 30-40% will be completed virtually. This allows for individuals to not have to take time off work necessarily or take the time to come in the office. Fortunately, SALTA Direct Primary Care has already been doing 30-40% of their care virtually for 20 years and have mastered helping their patients best utilize their time. Traditional primary care models and the way the physician is compensated has not allowed for a 30-40% virtual setting because of the insurance and government.
One way that SALTA Direct Primary Care works for me is the way direct primary care gives us the time to love our patients. Like most primary care physicians, we go into primary care because we really do love our patients and the relationship we develop with our patients. Any relationship depends on time. Time is the currency of excellence. If we want to be excellent at anything we must spend time on it. For a direct primary care doctor, it’s time with our patients that is so important. Direct primary care here at SALTA has an average of 30 minutes with our patients compared to a traditional primary care doctor who is billing insurances that has much less. Our visits are 30 to 60 minutes, and we only see 10 to 14 patients per day. The traditional healthcare provider is forced to see 20 to 30 patients per day. So, more time with our patients, and more time allowing for us to better communicate with our patients. For us in direct primary care, it is about communicating to arrive at a true diagnosis and a true treatment plan. It’s only through time and communication that we can foster a trusting positive relationship with our patients. This has been lost in today’s healthcare system. Doctors are more and more doing paperwork for insurance companies and less and less time with patients creating a great stress on providers and patients.
If you want to learn how direct primary care can work for you, feel free to call Kyle at 248.922.3076 you can also follow us on Facebook @salta_directprimarycare. OR you can search us on Google stating “direct primary care near me!”
Stay safe out there, love each other, and reinforce that relationship with your provider!