Frequently asked questions
What is Sana Vita Health?
We're a Direct Primary Care and Lifestyle Medicine clinic opening May 11th in Des Moines, Iowa. Check out the "How it Works" page for more information about how Direct Primary Care is refreshingly different from what you've experienced before.
Is Direct Primary Care the same as Concierge Medicine?
No, but there are similarities. We love the level of service concierge practices are able to provide by caring for so few patients, but we wanted our practice to be affordable to most people. We cost about as much as cell phone bill. Concierge usually costs about as much as leasing a car. And top of that, they often bill your insurance and subject you to all the co-pays, deductibles, denials, and all the rest.
We are driven by a desire not just to have meaningful therapeutic relationships with our patients and deliver the highest quality of healthcare anywhere, but also to help fix the broken healthcare system by thinking and practicing outside the box. DPC is more than a business model. It's a movement of patients and physicians taking the doctor-patient relationship back from the intrusive and expensive insurance-administrative industrial complex. Keep an eye on our
blog to hear more about that sometime!
How many patients will you be taking?
Multiple studies have found that for primary care doctors to take "perfect" care of a typical patient panel of 2,500-3,000 people would require somewhere between 21-25 hours per day of the doctor's time. Obviously that's not possible.
In the interest of providing the best care of our patients that we possibly can while also adhereing to a balanced lifestyle ourselves, we will be capping our practice at a much lower number than is typical. We dont' have a specific number yet but I think we'll know when we get there. Once we're full, you'll have the option of joining a waiting list.
I'm young & healthy and rarely go to the doctor. Why should I join Sana Vita Health?
This is a bit like saying "I'm young and not in financial distress, so why should I worry about retirement planning?"
Just because you feel fine doesn't mean you are on track to stay that way, or even that you really are right now. As youth inevitably fades, health problems are more likely to crop up. How you live your life now plays a large role in determining your risk of future problems. Because we at Sana Vita are so focused on prevention and lifestyle modification, we can help not ony when you are sick with a short term illness like strep throat or pneumonia, but we can also help you optimize every aspect of your life to set you up for long term true health and vitality as you age.
Could I save money with Sana Vita Health?
That depends on a lot of factors, but for many people the answer is yes. Some scenariors to save money:
1. Your deductible is higher that it would cost you to join Sana Vita Health for one year, as is often the case even with so-called low deductible plans. Traditional visits often cost nearly $300, plus enormous fees for any labs, procedures, or other services provided, so in many cases two visits per year would be more expensive than a year of Sana Vita Health membership. If you go to the doctor three times in one year, you're almost certain to have saved money at Sana Vita Health.
2. You are self employed and have been buying insurance for you and your family on the open market. Join Sana Vita and then join Zion Health, Sedera, or a health sharing ministry to cover the rest. You'll likely save hundreds every month.
3. OK, this one isn't really saving money, but if you are someone who makes too much for Medicaid or a subsidy for insurance, but can't afford to buy insurance or even use if it if you could afford it, at least join Sana Vita. Consistent access to high quality primary care will help keep you healthy and out of trouble down the road. Remember, health insurance isn't health care. It's an expensive, confusing payment plan. Sana Vita Health is health care, simplified.
Why monthly membership fees?
In the traditional healthcare system ("Fee For Service"), doctors are incentivized to see as many patients as possible as quickly as possible because they are paid per visit -- hence the long wait to see your doctor and the short amount of time you get to spend with them. Sometimes they are even financially incentivized to order labs or expensive imaging. In the traditional model, the sicker you are, the more money everyone in the "health" system makes.
At Sana Vita Health, the only source of income we have is the membership fee. We don't make more money but rushing you through your visit to get to the next. We don't make more money by ordering tests. We don't want so many members that we can't provide great care because then you'd probably leave. We are incentivized to help you reach optimum health on as few medications as possible and to keep you ecstatic with the service you receive here.
Can I join if I have health insurance?
Absolutely! We just won't bill your insurance or have anything to do with them. Many insurances require you to select a primary care provider in their network. That doesn't mean you have to actually utilize that person's services so just pick a person at random if you like.
My employer provides me health insurance, but I want to join Sana Vita. What should I do?
If you have the option of a high deductible plan, consider switching to that plan. The money you save is often more than enough to pay for membership with Sana Vita. Then your insurance starts to really act like insurance -- something you hope to never use -- rather than an expensive, complicated, and restrictive healthcare services middleman.
Who is this for?
Sana Vita is for people who want more than disease management. It's for people who strive to be better than just diesease free. If you want to thrive and live as long and healthy of a life as possible by being guided along an evidenced based path and having the oportunity to work with a health coach who partners with your physician, Sana Vita Health is for you.
If you want to have a real relationship with a compassionate doctor, where your doctor knows who you are, what you do, what your life is like, and spends as much time with you as you need, Sana Vita is for you.
Sana Vita is also for you if:
You don't like waiting in lobbies with sick people or for a long time
You don't like waiting for weeks to get an appointment with your doctor or compromising and seeing someone who isn't your doctor just because they were available in an acceptable time frame
You'd like it if your doctor talked with you about what you can do
now to reduce your risk of specific common diseases -- such as dementia, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, etc
You think your doctor is the only person who needs to know what you're coming in for -- not the nurse, the receptionist, and certainly not anyone in the lobby who can overhear you.
You're sick of health insurance companies that influence your diagnostic and therapeutic options
You want a private doctor that doesn't share any of your information with
anyone without your explicit permission -- not insurance companies
What is Lifestyle Medicine?
Lifestyle Medicine is an evidence-based approach to preventing, treating, and sometimes even reversing many common lifestyle-related diseases (diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, Alzheimer's, etc) by optimizing habits and behaviors in six key research-proven pillars of health: diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and promotion of social connectedness.
Lifestyle medicine is not the same as herbal medicine, functional medicine, or other alternative modalities which are rooted primarily in tradition or theory rather than in scientific evidence, although there is sometimes some overlap. For example, evidence has shown strawberries to be effective as an adjuctictive treatment for esophageal cancer, so that might fall under the umbrellas of both lifestyle medicine and herbal medicine.
Where do I get vaccines?
Vaccines are expensive, come in bulk, expire, and require refrigeration, so we are not able to offer them at this time. We will help keep you and your children up to date on vaccinations through the Polk County Health Department. Influenza vaccines are widely available at pharmacies as well as the Health Department.