Every day, hundreds of doctors and pharmacists across the US use GoodRx to help their patients save money. We recently checked in with one doctor, Dr. Amie Stringfellow, who runs Milepost Medical in Houston, Texas, to learn how GoodRx helps her direct primary care practice.
Direct primary care, or DPC, is a new breed of medical practice where patients pay a monthly fee (similar to a retainer) to get access to the care they need. Patients can reach their doctors by phone or email, and in-office procedures and house calls are often part of the package. Direct primary care physicians don’t take any insurance, but patients can still use their insurance for their medications and out-of-office services.
Dr. Amie, a triple board-certified physician, started her own direct primary care practice after five years at a private, insurance-based practice. She made the switch to DPC because she felt it would give her more time to connect with her patients and provide a higher quality of care. And as you’ll read, Dr. Amie considers helping her patients find affordablemedications an integral part of that care. (We found Dr. Amie, by the way, when we spoke to her patient, April, about her GoodRx Helps story last month).
Could you tell me about your practice?
I started the practice 3.5 years ago, and I specialize in internal medicine, pediatrics and sleep medicine. Dr. Ana Molina-Anstee just joined this past January, and she also specializes in internal medicine and pediatrics. My husband, Greg, is our office manager, and we have a medical assistant, Shelby, who helps with things like drawing patients’ blood and answering phone calls.
We have an established patient base, but our day-to-day is unpredictable. We could see between 0 and 10 patients a day at the office, but it also depends on house calls or other patient needs.
How did you find out about GoodRx?
When I was first thinking about starting my own practice, my husband had told me about a doctor – Dr. Umbehr from Atlas MD in Wichita, Kansas – on the radio who was speaking about direct primary care. I ended up reaching out to him, and GoodRx was one of the resources he shared.
How do you use GoodRx with your patients?
Whenever I prescribe something, I look up the drug on GoodRx and guide them to another pharmacy if it’s cheaper there. More often than not, there’s a generic version of the medication, and generics are typically cheaper cash-pay. My patients can save a significant amount of money with GoodRx even with good insurance coverage.
Do your patients generally have insurance?
Most of my patients have insurance, but they usually have high-deductible plans so their medications are expensive for the better part of the year. 25% of my patients don’t have any insurance.
What do you do when a medication is too expensive for a patient?
There are usually multiple options for treatment, and I’ll look at all the options’ prices just to make sure the patient is getting the best price. If there isn’t a common alternative for the treatment, then I’ll lay out the risks and benefits with the patient.
Have you noticed that some medications are consistently expensive, even with insurance?
I see it a lot with diabetes drugs because there are no generic alternatives. Some brand drugs like Synthroid have reasonable prices, but it can really be hit or miss.
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Do you use any other tools like GoodRx in your practice?
I’m always looking for cost-efficient options for my patients, for medications and other things like X-rays and exams. I wish there was an app where I could just find all the things I need! I know there are some tools to find cash prices for medical services, but they’re not as fleshed out in the Texas area.
I’m always going around to local places in the area to look for the best prices for good quality services that my patients need. The other day, I found a local GI doctor with good colonoscopy prices, and they are cash only.
It sounds like helping your patients find affordable options is a priority for you.
It’s extremely important to my patients. I can recommend a treatment all day long, but they need to follow through and take it. And cost is a major factor for a lot of people not taking their medications.
And they appreciate it! April told me she was very thankful to have you looking out for her.
I think that’s why GoodRx so great – it’s easy to use and shows the cost differences right away, along with ways you can save money. People shop around gas stations for the cheapest gas all the time, but they don’t necessarily know that their prescriptions may be different in costs from one pharmacy to another. A drug might be half price at one pharmacy versus another pharmacy. It’s helpful to show right away that they can save.
GoodRx started with a simple idea: Help people find affordable medications. Help people understand their options. Help people get what they need for their health. Have a story about how GoodRx helped you? Email us at email@example.com or tell us on Facebook or Twitter – don’t forget to tag #GoodRxHelps!