FAQs Cedar Valley Primary Access

Direct primary care, or DPC, is an innovative primary care model of medicine in which the physician-patient relationship is at the heart of how medicine is practiced. DPC practices offer a full range of primary care services for a monthly fee paid directly to the practice. No third-party billing and no insurance company hoops to jump through. DPC has shown to lead to happier patients and happier doctors through better health outcomes, lower costs, and better patient experiences. The model has gained popularity across the nation in the last 15 years. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) describes it as a meaningful alternative to the current fee-for-service insurance billing system.

In a traditional practice, doctors are compensated based on the quantity of patients they see and how they code, rather than the quality of care they provide. In a DPC practice, quality of care is the number one priority. By cutting down from approximately 2500-3000 patients to 600-800 patients, doctors working in a DPC practice are able to focus directly on their patients. For our patients, the benefits include:

  • unlimited time with the doctor
  • easier access to appointment times that meet their scheduling needs
  • guaranteed visit with their doctor, not another provider
  • the ability to reach out to their doctor via e-mail, text, and cell phone

These are just some of the benefits of a DPC practice such as Cedar Valley Primary Access.

No. The terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Both DPC and concierge practices charge a monthly fee, however, under the concierge model, that fee only provides you access to the doctor, without covering any of your care. Instead, a concierge practice still bills insurance for your visits. Often times concierge practices monthly rates are very high. Our DPC practice provides more access to the doctor at a fraction of the cost.

Absolutely! Everyone benefits from a service tailored directly to them. We’re here for you if you’re sick or hurt, but we also help you proactively maintain good overall health. Every visit with us will be thorough, relaxed and take as long as you need to address your health concerns. The longer you’re our patient, the more we learn about you, your family, and your health. That helps us to better care for you through the years.

Often patients who are considering a DPC membership assume that in order to benefit from the unlimited access and direct relationship with their physician, they must also pay a lot more money. Fortunately, that is not true! In fact, a number of our patients have saved substantial amounts of money every year.

Here’s a few real-life examples from our patients:

  1. One evening, a child at home fell and hit their head. Their parents texted us a photo of the cut to the child’s head. The doctor told them what to do to handle it right then, and had them meet him in the office right away in the morning. The visit cost them nothing extra, outside of their monthly fee. Without that expert advice and instant care access, they would have taken the child into the ER – costing well over $1000 out of pocket for them. That one ER visit would have cost almost as much as the family’s entire yearly membership (with unlimited access) with us!
  2. Another family had a child with persistent warts that required numerous treatments of liquid nitrogen to remove them. Using their family’s insurance, each visit would have cost them close to $200 per treatment at a traditional practice. This child had to have 10 treatments with us. So instead of $2,000 to solve one issue for one child, they paid $1,560 ($130/month) for an entire YEAR of unlimited access for the whole family with us – and got rid of the warts too!
  3. One of our patients came to us on a medication that requires monthly visits. In a traditional practice, he was paying $120 per visit each month, costing him $1,440 a year. By joining us at Cedar Valley Primary Access, his single membership for unlimited access for the full year was just $780. In fact, he was able to add his wife to his membership and still save hundreds!

We make the application process easy! Simply click here to access our application form. Once you’ve completed and submitted your application, it will be reviewed and, if your application is accepted, someone from administration will be in touch to get you scheduled for an appointment to meet one of our physicians. At that appointment, we will explain the membership and answer any further questions you may have about direct primary care.

Medical services include:

  • acute and non-acute office visits
  • chronic disease management
  • well-woman care/pap smears
  • well-baby care
  • electrocardiograms (EKGs)
  • blood pressure monitoring
  • diabetic monitoring
  • breathing treatments
  • Nexplanon and IUD removals
  • removal of benign skin lesions/warts
  • simple aspiration/steroid injection of joint
  • removal of cerumen (ear wax)
  • wound repair and sutures
  • abscess incision and drainage
  • basic vision screening
  • drawing basic labs
  • annual in-depth wellness examination and evaluation.

Members are also granted after-hours access to their physician and patient-focused customer service, which includes:

  • a secure app allowing you to text your doctor directly
  • no-wait or minimal wait appointments
  • same-day or next-day appointments
  • specialist coordination

Yes! As family medicine physicians, we provide care for patients of all ages and stages.

Should your membership in the Primary Access program lapse or be terminated, there will be a $150 re-enrollment fee you must pay in order for your membership to be reactivated.

The hope is that by spending more time with your primary care physician, the need to refer you to a specialist will decrease significantly. However, in the event that you do need to be referred to a specialist, we have a close relationship with all of the wonderful specialists within the Cedar Valley Medical system. We will personally call the specialist on your behalf in order to schedule an expedited appointment. If you have a preference for a non-CVMS specialist, we will refer you to whomever you want.

This works alongside your existing insurance. If most of your care is handled by our doctors in a primary care office, you could save significant money by going to a high deductible health care insurance plan. We still recommend some form of insurance to cover catastrophic illnesses and expenses, along with hospital or specialty care not covered in our office.

We can obtain prior authorizations if needed. We have access to discounted pricing at ADI (Advanced Diagnostic Imaging) and often the cash price for testing is less out of your pocket than it is when using insurance.

No. It’s a subscription-based healthcare model. We recommend our patients do have insurance coverage for medical catastrophes such as cancer, trauma, or unexpected surgery. These events are extremely expensive. Often, a combination of a high-deductible plan and our services provides an excellent quality of care.

We understand that many people simply cannot afford insurance at this time. We are able to take care of most primary healthcare needs. Insurance is not required to use our services, nor do we bill insurance.

Some of our patients choose to work with cost-sharing programs or health ministries to expand their coverage. We do have a list of programs that our patients have used and recommended to us. Just ask – we are more than willing to share these resources with you.

You may discontinue your membership in the Primary Access program by submitting written notice to Cedar Valley Primary Access. This notice shall be deemed served if sent by First-Class Mail to Cedar Valley Primary Access at 4006 Johnathan St. Suite B, Waterloo, IA 50701. Click here to download the disenrollment form.

At your first office appointment, you will be given access to an unlisted, confidential phone number. This is exclusively for our patients to reach us quickly after hours.

Yes! We will help you to set up an account with Spruce. This is a phone/computer app that allows you to text or securely message us. If you text or message us after office hours, we will respond the next business day. If you have an emergency need and it is outside of clinic hours, please use the exclusive-access phone number provided at your first appointment to reach the doctor directly.

In an emergency, or a situation that you could reasonably expect to develop into an emergency, you will need to go to the nearest emergency department or call 911 and follow the directions of emergency personnel.

While our services are extensive, we do not cover the following:

  • Hospital admissions
  • Emergency room visits
  • Urgent care visits: We want you to call us before heading to urgent care. We’ve found we can handle most situations via telemed or a phone call discussion with your doctor, avoiding the need for urgent care.
  • Some labs
  • Prescriptions: We will work with you to find the best prices on your prescriptions. Some medications we dispense from our office for just $5-$10 for a monthly supply.
  • Ancillary services such as physical therapy, counseling, specialty visits and procedures
  • Ambulance rides
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Immunizations: For children 18 and under without insurance, or who have insurance that does not cover vaccines, we will work with you to get these covered at no cost through the state VFC (Vaccine For Children) Program.

We recommend you will still carry some form of health insurance to cover services not included under Cedar Valley Primary Access. However, we do not require insurance to use our services, and will work with you to help find alternative insurance options. (See FAQ “Is this considered health insurance?)

One thing all our patients have in common is their first reaction upon hearing about our practice: “Unlimited visits? Texting my doctor? This seems too good to be true!”

It isn’t. It’s simply a new way (a better way, we think!) to provide healthcare – for both patients AND providers. We went into healthcare to help people, not to work for insurance companies. This model takes us back to the old-fashioned doctor-patient relationship – the one where the doctor made house calls and knew you and your family personally.

When you’ve had enough of what isn’t working for you, we’re happy to help you think about something new. What if…..

  • Your wait time, including check-in, was under 10 minutes?
  • Your phone calls were returned the day you made them?
  • You had clear pricing for most of your medications at the time they were prescribed?
  • You knew exactly how much all of your non-emergency medical care was going to cost you for the year?
  • You could see your doctor and not worry about surprise bills 4-6 months down the road?
  • You could email, text or Facetime with your doctor?
  • You never felt rushed during appointments? Our average first time visit is 60-90 minutes for us to get to know you.

Still have questions? Give us a call! We’d love to talk to you about your needs. Ready to sign up? We’d love to have you! Visit our sign-up page here.