Jan Hester, M.D., is a Colorado native whose caring nature is reflected in the name of her practice, “Caring for the Family,” located in Fort Collins, Colo.
Dr. Hester earned her education at the University of Denver, her medical degree at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and completed her Family Practice Residency at the University of Colorado. Her life experiences took her outside Colorado on the way to her career goals.
She served in the Air Force for 4 years after completing her medical training, then seven more years in the Reserves. Dr. Hester then became part of a family practice in Davis, Calif., where she stayed for 4-1/2 years before deciding to return to her home state in 2004 (with her 3 children in tow) to open her solo practice.
Dr. Hester operated Caring for the Family as a traditional fee-for-service Family Practice until, in 2016, she made the decision to convert it to a Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice.
What makes a DPC unique in the health environment? The DPC model is membership-based, with a strong emphasis on easy access to acute, chronic, and preventive health care. It is innovative due to the payment model—membership-based rather than dictated by insurance. Insurance is not billed within the practice, and monthly membership rates are more affordable than typical insurance rates. In the current health care environment, insurance dictates which providers patients can see, how much insurance is willing to pay for visits, labs, and radiologic imaging and determines which medications the company is willing to cover, all of which can affect a patient’s plan of care.
Within a DPC, the patient and doctor decide jointly what care is appropriate without the input of insurance companies. Dr Hester added that because her practice is a DPC, she can offer wholesale costs on medications, as well as wholesale cost on labs and many more patient benefits. Telemedicine is also part of this model of care. Once a patient is established in her practice and has been seen, some of their care can be done via phone and or e-mail without an office visit. Appointments are typically 30 minutes long, so the patient is able to share more time with the doctor, rather than the 10 to 20-minute appointments allowed in fee-for-service practices. Patients have time to have their questions answered at more leisurely appointments, or even over the phone. When patients call the office, there is a good chance they will speak directly to Dr. Hester, instead of an office staff member.
Dr. Hester stated she has found this model of care to be much more in line with how she wants to practice medicine – she values the strong relationship she has built with her patients, without the interference from the “middle man” – health care and insurance. She truly enjoys caring for her patients and loves the longevity of the relationships that form between her patients and herself.
There is much more to learn about Dr. Hester’s Caring for the Family practice and the DPC model, and the facts are well worth additional research. Take a look at the practice website: www.janhestermd.com. For more information regarding individual and family needs using DCP methods call Caring for the Family at (970) 493-2776 to set up a consultation to discuss options. Discover whether this model of care might work for you or your practice.