Frequently Asked Questions
What is Direct Primary Care?
Direct Primary Care means direct access to your doctor. It’s a membership-based healthcare model whereby patients pay a one-time membership fee and a flat monthly fee for unrestricted access to their family doctor, extended visits, same-day or next-day scheduling and more. That means no barrier of receptionists and nurses when you want to communicate with your primary care physician.
Learn more about membership with Hemken Family Medicine on our Member Benefits page and Covered Services page.
What does the membership fee cover?
The fee covers excellent primary care through unrestricted office visits, annual wellness exams, well-child exams, sports physicals, school physicals, basic office procedures, treatment of acute illness or minor injuries, and 24/7/365 access to your doctor, all with minimal wait times in the office. Our patients also have access to discounted prescriptions.
Why don’t you take insurance?
Billing insurance companies takes a lot of time – time that I’d rather spend getting to know my patients. Because my practice in Ames is membership-based, I’m not trying to see as many patients as possible in-clinic. I like that I have time to listen to my patients and get to the root of their concerns. It also allows me to develop a treatment plan that is right for the patient by including them in the decision-making process.
Not involving insurance also means there is no middle-man dictating a patient’s health care based on what they will and won’t cover. It’s just the patient and doctor deciding what is the best plan based on medical knowledge, science and patient preference.
Do I still need insurance when I am a member?
Depending on affordability, most patients still carry insurance for coverage of healthcare services that cannot be provided in the primary care practice setting, such as specialty care and hospitalizations. The direct primary care model is especially well-suited for patients with high deductible plans where they normally pay out-of-pocket for primary care services that are not considered preventative.
Is my membership fee at Hemken Family Medicine tax-deductible?
Your membership fee is not yet defined as a medical expense in most states and therefore is not tax deductible. However, the American Academy of Private Physicians is lobbying hard to win rightful deductibility for these expenses. We advise that you discuss this further with your tax preparer or accountant. Anything we order, such as labs, radiology and medications, can be applied to HSA, HRA, FSA, or an out-of-network deductible.
What costs are involved in becoming a patient?
There is a one-time sign-up fee of $150 per family. A membership fee, paid monthly or every six to twelve months, is all that is required. This will cover costs of providing primary care to you and your family throughout the year. We will not charge or collect any co-payments, co-insurance, or deductibles for visits. When you come for a visit, it’s okay to leave your wallet at home – you’re covered!
Does Hemken Family Medicine see patients of all ages?
Absolutely! Hemken Family Medicine currently provides care for patients from birth on up seeking individualized primary care.
What if I decide to cancel?
We expect to have an open, honest, respectful relationship with you. If you have voiced a complaint that we cannot satisfy together, we will gladly allow you to terminate your membership. If your membership is canceled, terms of cancellation will be applied and are outlined in the Patient Agreement. The details of this can be discussed with Dr. Hemken at any time.
Become a Member or Request More information
Hemken Family Medicine’s Ames-based clinic provides patient-focused, direct primary care to individuals throughout central Iowa and beyond. Contact us anytime to learn more about becoming a patient or to make an appointment.
Monday – 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Thursday – 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Friday – 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday and weekends *Closed
*Dr. Hemken is available via text and/or telemedicine appointment for acute and urgent issues.