What conditions are treated?
Chronic joint pain
Generalized Joint Hypermobility Syndrome
Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
Localized Osteoarthritis including Erosive Osteoarthritis
Chronic Neck and Low Back Pain
Small Fiber Neuropathy
Peripheral Neuropathy including Post-Herpetic Neuropathy
And many other associated conditions (IBS, headache, depression, anxiety, insomnia, food sensitivities, etc)
Why Direct Care? Why not take insurance?
Our current health care system prioritizes procedures and surgeries over lifestyle interventions, integrative medicine, and preventative medicine. So a physician who spends 30 minutes counseling a patient on diet and exercise to treat or prevent disease makes substantially less than a physician who performs a 15 minute surgery. In order for a physician who does not do procedures to make ends meet they need to see more patients in a shorter time period. But it is impossible to provide valuable patient education in 10-15 minute increments. And with specialist copays costing patients $50-$90 per visit, patients are understandably reluctant to come back for multiple visits as this can be quite costly.
With direct care, there are many advantages. One is transparency - the patient knows what they will pay their physician and the physician knows what he/she will get paid for their services. This allows proper planning and budgeting on both sides. Because of this, a private practice which does not have ties to any particular health care system (and therefore remains free of bias) can succeed in today's health care environment. This model is also cost effective for the patient, with many services offered for one monthly fee.
Private practices using the Direct Care method of payment are able to do so with fewer patients. This allows physicians to spend more time getting to know their patients, and to spend the proper amount of time educating and treating patients. It also allows physicians to be accessible to patients outside of their in-person visit (via email, text, phone, and even televisits).
Why should I choose a Direct Care physician for a specialist practice?
While it is true that having a direct care specialist may not be feasible or necessary for everyone, there are many patients with chronic pain as their main illness or their most problematic one. For those patients, managing the chronic pain requires addressing more than just the physical cause of pain. Sleep issues, nutrition, mood disorders, and stress management (among others) must all be addressed in order to properly manage pain. Doing so is time intensive and can be expensive if copays are high. With direct care patients can see their physician weekly, biweekly, monthly, or as needed and the costs would be comparable to one monthly visit using insurance.
What if I belong to a Direct Primary Care practice?
For patients who currently are enrolled in a DPC (direct primary care) practice it may not be feasible to enroll in another direct care practice. For those patients, one time consultations are available. For more information on rates for these consultation visits please contact our office.
Can I use an HSA or FSA for my membership fees?
At this time, membership practice fees are not routinely accepted by HSA or FSA programs. Currently, we are advocated for legislation to allow this. Before using these accounts to cover your membership dues it is best to check with the company overseeing your HSA/FSA to determine if they are qualifying expenses.
If chronic pain is my main problem, do I still need to have health insurance?
While we do not require patients to have health insurance coverage to be a member of this practice, it is highly recommended that all patients carry insurance policies to cover other health care costs such as other physician visits, medications, lab testing, imaging, hospitalizations, and surgeries.
What is covered with my membership fee?
Any and all physician services including office visits, email/text/phone communications, televisits, and procedures. Direct physician to physician communication with your other doctors. Future offerings based on patient demand to include wellness coaching, purchasing of generic medications and supplements at cost, support groups, lecture series, and whatever else patients feel they may benefit from. Dr. Lobert is also trained in Internal Medicine and will be happy to manage minor care issues such as UTIs, common illnesses, and other basic conditions.
Do you prescribe opioid pain medications for the management of chronic pain?
Opioid pain medications are indicated for acute pain related to injuries and surgeries. When it comes to chronic non-cancer related pain, research suggests that these medications likely do more harm than good. For that reason, opioid pain medications will not routinely be prescribed in this practice.
Is this a pain management practice?
Not in the traditional sense. Typical pain management practices are run by anesthesiologists who do additional training in pain management and obtain board certification in pain managemnet. Often these practices are procedure based and focus on epidural injections, nerve blocks, and other pain treatment procedures. Dr. Lobert does not perform these types of procedures in her practice, although if necessary can provide expedited referrals for these procedures to be done. Dr. Lobert is board certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology, and has expertise in managing many painful musculoskeletal conditions with a wide variety of treatment options. Her approach is to treat the whole person instead of solely focusing on individual areas of pain.