Dr. Jeffrey Gold, the Founding Physician and CEO of Gold Direct Care PC, was interviewed by Adam Torres on Mission Matters Innovation Podcast.
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After practicing medicine for over a decade, Dr. Jeffrey Gold, MD launched his solo practice, Gold Direct Care PC, to address accessibility gaps in the US healthcare system, working toward a more affordable and transparent system for all.
How did you get started?
Dr. Gold says his efforts are driven by a longstanding frustration with the healthcare system, which took root for him at a young age. When his grandmother developed dementia and eventually passed away, he witnessed the poor medical assistance she received from their family doctor in spite of the fact that she had adequate health insurance coverage. As he spent his first ten years as a professional in the healthcare industry, reporting to a renowned hospital as a primary care doctor, he realized the harm patients were enduring; this led him toward the care model he supports today.
What do you think is wrong with today’s healthcare system?
“Today, the public is forced to believe that everything the healthcare system does for the people is expensive,” Dr. Gold notes. “People can’t afford it if they don’t avail the third-party system, i.e., insurance coverage or Medicaid. Another myth is that, if they have an insurance card, they’re guaranteed to receive high-quality, accessible care.” A direct primary care model, he says, can better address many of the issues patients face.
What is direct primary care?
Under the direct primary care model, he explains, a patient is charged an age-based monthly membership fee ranging between $40-$135. This fee includes everything taking place in the office, from in-office consultations and telehealth visits to skin biopsies and joint injections. He recommends that patients still obtain health insurance to cover costs for expensive or unexpected medical circumstances. The direct primary care model allows doctors to spend as much time as they need to meet with patients, online or off, rather than minimizing their consultations to just a few minutes. This model sidesteps the structure of the current system, in which third parties require doctors to attend quickly to up to four patients per hour, often resulting in incomplete visits, miscommunication, decreased patient and provider satisfaction, and poor outcomes.
How can this model be used to fix our dysfunctional healthcare/health insurance system?
Insurance companies extract huge sums of money, Dr. Gold notes, but they generally fail to provide the level of service they promise. He points to data showing more satisfied patients under the direct primary care model compared to those relying on their insurance coverage.
The direct primary care model covers a range of procedures and conditions like skin biopsies, joint infections, laceration repairs, and more. “Health issues need a lot of care and attention, which is impossible in an 8-minute visit,” he says. “In the direct primary care model, doctors try to keep patients away from the (unnecessarily) expensive part of the system.”
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How can this model scale in terms of convincing people?
Six years ago, Dr. Gold became the first physician in Massachusetts to start a direct primary care practice. Now, there are more than 15 practices working within the model throughout the state and around 2,000 direct primary care doctors across the country. “More medical students need to enter this model,” he stresses. “This way, they can help people in rural areas where they cannot afford expensive doctors.”
He notes that a direct primary care model can also be added to employee benefits’ plans to help small and big companies provide excellent, personalized healthcare options for their employees while saving company dollars on insurance claims and increasing premiums.
How does the Starseed Group fit into this model?
Starseed Group is a startup initiated by Dr. Gold and two of his peers in the industry. Together, they are working to help businesses consider direct primary care options for an enhanced experience for the employee and the employer.
Opting for Starseed, through a self insured benefits plan, will lower monthly premiums, reduce the number of claims filed, and improve the financial health and wellness of the employee and the employer. He explains “the company can also save 20% – 30% of their savings on their employees’ health insurance expenditures.”
The Road Ahead
“It is a tough battle,” Dr. Gold says. “It is a social movement, and I want to involve as many people in the US as possible, whether it’s doctors, patients, or employers. Currently, I’m looking for funding to market and advertise, so that people get to know about this revolutionary model.”
To learn more about Dr. Gold’s practice, visit www.golddirectcare.com or reach out to Dr. Gold directly at [email protected]. For more information on the direct primary care model, visit dpcalliance.org or dpcfrontier.com.