ERIE, Colo. — A new direct primary care clinic called Strive Direct Health recently opened in downtown Erie.
Direct primary care is a healthcare model that does not require insurance to cover costs and instead offers paid memberships for patients interested in primary care services.
“It's a monthly membership plan for our patients where they have direct access to myself and Dr. Schuster. We don't have any staff, and so when the patients need us, they contact us directly 24/7 whenever, wherever they need us,” said Dr. Brad Brown, owner of Strive Direct Health. “Removing the insurance middlemen is very professionally gratifying because we have the bandwidth and the time to spend with our patients to where we can work with them on their health goals.”
Brown said Strive’s memberships are based on age.
“Kids up until age 18 are only $40 a month and then older than that it’s $85 a month for adults. We have family plans, I come from a big family. So I thought it would be unfair to, you know, penalize parents for having huge family. So after two and a half kids, I guess is what the math comes out to be, then the price is capped.”
According to Hint Health, a healthcare software company, 40 U.S. states have direct primary care networks, and Colorado is seeing more growth.
“There's quite a few in the Denver area and Colorado in general,” Brown said. “It's really driven by the people of Colorado. I mean, just the other day, I had a patient up at, she was at the top of Copper Mountain. And she texted me and she was like, ‘Hey, I just twisted my knee, my first run of the year, and I don't think I can make it down the mountain.’ So I gave her a call, talked her through it, and she actually could make it down on her own. And then she came in the next day and we checked out her knee.”
Shannon Kennedy, owner of Golden Ember Salon in Erie, is a Strive Direct Health patient.
“I noticed that [Dr. Brown] was opening and it was close to my salon. So, I figured it would be best just to have a doctor right next door. You know, we do have accidents that happened in the salon, burns and things like that. So, I wanted to have my staff be able to come and see a doctor,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said she appreciates the personal relationship she’s been able to build with her doctor.
“Dr. Brad, I think it's nice because he looks at me like a whole human and not just specifically looking at what ailments that I have… traditional health insurance that I've had before, it's like I was paying a lot, and I didn't even know who my doctor was. So with this subscription-based model, I feel like it is definitely more affordable. And I do get personalized care.”
Kennedy said she does have additional health insurance to cover medical emergencies but her membership still saves money.
“We definitely recommend people still have some type of insurance, health insurance,” Brown said.
But Brown said when it comes to primary care, the membership is meant to remove some barriers to healthcare and give direct affordable access to primary services.