FAQs

The doctors of Placer Private Physicians look forward to treating you and your family in an attentive, professional atmosphere. You can find out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below. If you would like more information, please call our office at 624-1777 and one of our staff can assist you.

What is direct primary care?

Direct primary care is a new exciting model for providing health care without the interference of private health insurance companies denying or limiting care.   Instead of relying on these companies to pay us for the services we provide, our patients pay us directly through a convenient membership plan.   This allows for a smaller and more personalized primary care practice, more convenient and direct communication with your physician, and more time to focus on the healthcare needs of you and your family.

What services are covered under my membership plan?

Your membership covers all your typical primary care services. This includes in-office physician visits and telemedicine. You will have direct physician communication by phone, texting, and email. Since we do not bill insurance, we do not collect copays from our private insurance patients. Your membership plan also includes all in-office labs and procedures at no extra cost.  Finally, members also have access to our nutritionist and life coach.

See our list of the many primary care services you will receive.

How does your office environment differ from the average doctor's office?

You will see and feel the difference immediately when you visit Placer Private Physicians. The reception area is calm and inviting and our office staff is friendly and professional. Our patients will experience very short, if any wait time to see their doctor, but we encourage you to enjoy refreshments or read magazines electronically on one of our tablet computers if you have a few minutes to sit.

Traditional examination rooms are available, but many times, you will see your doctor in the comfort of his office or in our cozy family conference room. We are committed to providing ample time to cover your medical concerns and answer all of your questions. You will be encouraged to bring up new issues or concerns.

In short, our goal is to provide you and your family with an experience that will not just meet, but exceed your expectations for a doctor’s office.

Is there a limit to how many patients can join Placer Private Physicians?

Yes. One of the most important aspects of private medicine is limiting the practice size to be able to devote more time and energy to each patient. Therefore, we are maintaining our total practice size to around 300 adult patients per physician.  Dr. Lichti currently has a full practice and has started a waiting list for prospective new patients.  Dr. Hedman is still accepting new patients.  Dr. Brown joined the practice in June, and is currently accepting new patients.

Do I still need to have health insurance as a member of your practice?

Yes, it is very important that you and your family maintain a medical insurance policy. We are not an insurance provider. You will need insurance to cover those medical fees not included in our membership plan such as prescription drugs, certain send out labs, diagnostic imaging (X-rays, MRI’s), and services provided by medical specialists. Most importantly, medical insurance is necessary to protect you from unforeseen high cost medical needs such as surgery, emergency care, or hospitalization. For help in selecting the best PPO insurance plan for you and your family, please contact your health insurance broker. If you like, you may also contact Lisa Brammer of Miller Brammer Insurance at (916) 632-3221. Lisa is familiar with insurance plans that work well with direct primary care.

I have an HMO insurance plan. Can I join Placer Private Physicians?

No. HMO plans require you to see a specific contracted primary care physician and limit what specialist you can be referred to. We are not contracted with any HMO plans.

I have Medicare. Can I join Placer Private Physicians?

Yes, Medicare patients are welcome at Placer Private Physicians. The direct primary care model we offer is particularly well suited to handle the more complex medical issues and medication management often associated with older patients. We can spend the time necessary to manage chronic disease and optimize your health and wellness. We will also visit you in the hospital to make sure your questions are answered and that you understand the self-care plan after your discharge. This is an important membership benefit not covered by Medicare.

See the details specific to our Medicare members.

Do you see me if I'm in the hospital?

Yes, we will. Hospital admissions and ER visits for serious medical problems are stressful and often confusing for patients and their families. During hospital admissions, you will be assigned to the inpatient physician service. These physicians are available in the hospital 24 hours per day and specialize in hospital care. Unfortunately, you will not always be seen by the same physician each day, and they often do not have the time to properly address your questions and concerns. We will be visiting you regularly to review your care, answer questions, and make recommendations to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

Do you make home visits?

Yes, we do. We will see patients in their home in medically appropriate situations. Home visits will be addressed on a case by case basis with your physician.

My family member lives in a nursing facility. Can you be their doctor?

Yes. Patients living in care facilities or who are homebound and are not able to travel to the office are welcome in our practice. There are additional fees due to the increased difficulty of coordinating care and doctor travel time. These fees are set based on the level of need of the patient and will be negotiated at a family meeting with your doctor.

How do I pay my membership fees?

You can pay by credit card or electronic funds transfer for patients paying monthly.  We will also accept personal check as payment for patients paying annually.

What are the membership fees?

Visit our pricing section for details.

Can joining Placer Private Physicians actually save me money?

The answer is yes for many of our patients. As primary care physicians, we can properly handle the vast majority of your health issues and concerns. Approximately 90 percent of health care services provided today are referred to as primary care or preventive medicine. Placing these services under the umbrella of health insurance has driven up the cost, making even basic care unaffordable for many Americans. As you probably already know, having a comprehensive PPO health insurance plan for you and your family can be very expensive.   By switching to a high deductible, low premium plan, we can actually help many of our patients save money. As your direct primary care physician, we have the time to closely coordinate your care to help avoid unnecessary out of pocket healthcare spending. We have also teamed up with a lab company that will be able to provide many of our patients with a comprehensive lab service at reduced fees

With the proper time and dedication from your primary care physician, you will often need fewer referrals to medical specialists and this too can mean a substantial cost savings to you.   Moreover, by providing you and your family with intensive and comprehensive primary care, we are more likely to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations. These are two of the highest medical costs facing American families today. Also, studies have shown that an alarming number of procedures, imaging studies (such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s), labs, and surgeries are performed unnecessarily.   With proper monitoring, we will make sure you get the tests that are appropriate and medically necessary. Not only is this a cost savings issue, but a better health issue too.

Finally, we are asking you to make an investment in one of the most important aspects of your life – your physical and mental health. Many of the most common, most dangerous, and most expensive diseases afflicting us Americans are largely preventable such as obesity, diabetes, premature heart attacks and strokes, and alcohol and tobacco related illnesses. With our guidance and your active participation, we can actively work together to prevent or aggressively treat these common killers. Preventing a stroke or heart attack can save you tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, but what is the real cost savings financially, physically, and mentally to you and your family?

What if I need to see a medical specialist?

As your primary care physician, we are well trained to handle the vast majority of your medical needs. However, if a medical issue or condition is beyond the scope of primary care, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist. This referral process will include providing your specialist with all the necessary medical records and studies pertinent to your case, direct physician to physician consultation prior to your appointment with the specialist, and direct coordination of your visit. Your medical assistant will make sure the specialist is covered on your insurance plan, make sure all the necessary paper work is completed before your appointment, and remind you of your appointment date, time, and location. After your appointment, if you have any questions or concerns about your visit with your specialist, your physician will address these issues at an office appointment or by telemedicine (phone, email, or video-conference).

Remember, the best heart surgeon is the one you never have to meet. One of our main goals in providing you with intensive primary care is to avoid unnecessary health problems or diseases that warrant more aggressive therapies. So in short, intensive primary care including healthy lifestyle monitoring can greatly reduce your chances of having the heart attack that necessitates a referral to the heart surgeon!

I don't see the doctor a lot. Is this membership plan worth it for me?

Absolutely. The focus of Placer Private Physicians is not to only see you when you are ill, but to concentrate our efforts on long term health and wellness. We will work with you to come up with a personalized plan to achieve your optimal health and then work with you to maintain your health goals. We offer advanced cardiometabolic testing that can help us to identify risk factors and possible health issues well in advance of them causing actual disease. This can save time and money, prevent pain and suffering, and avoid higher costs in the long run. Our direct primary care model affords us the time to spend on this type of comprehensive and detailed approach.

I have great insurance. Why would I want to join a practice that does not bill insurance?

Good insurance does not equal good healthcare. Your insurance company does not provide you with any actual healthcare. In fact, the insurance companies save money by limiting your coverage and often making it difficult to utilize the services they do cover. In our office, you will find the exact opposite. At Placer Private Physicians, we want to see you and we want you to utilize our services, because our goal is healthy and happy members. And remember, no matter what health insurance plan you have, you are still just one of thousands of patients in the traditional primary care office.

This is also a good time to consider changing to a less expensive PPO insurance plan. For help in selecting the best PPO insurance plan for you and your family, please contact your health insurance broker. If you like, you may also contact Lisa Brammer of Miller Brammer Insurance at (916) 632-3221. Lisa is familiar with insurance plans that work well with direct primary care.

What if my doctor is on vacation?

As a member of Placer Private Physicians, you are never alone. Even when you are out of town, your doctor will often be available by phone, text or email. You will receive notification anytime your doctor will not be reachable for any extended period of time. If your doctor is unavailable, the other doctors will have full access to your records and be able to provide the care you need.   There will always be one of our trusted physicians available on call to assist you for any urgent needs.

What if I want to cancel my membership?

You are welcome to cancel your membership at any time. For members paying monthly, membership will be active through the end of the current month, and future months will no longer be billed. For annual members, we will refund a prorated rate and will issue your refund within 30 days.

Please note: If you cancel your membership, and decide to rejoin the practice at a later date, you may be placed on a waiting list pending membership availability.  You would also be subject to any price increases that have occurred since you originally joined the practice.

 

HOW DO I JOIN?

We are very excited to have you join us at Placer Private Physicians! Please see our JOIN US page where you can sign up online, obtain the membership forms to fill out and bring into the office, or request more information about the practice. Please remember, space is limited, and the practice is almost full. Once all available memberships are filled, you will be added to our waiting list, so we encourage you to act now if you are interested.

If would like more information before joining, please call our office at 916-624-1777.