I want to thank Senator Alvarado and members of the committee for having me today and appreciate the opportunity to discuss direct primary care. I, Melanie Story, I am a family physician. I own Genesis 1 Health; a Direct Primary Care practice in Louisville, Kentucky. I have practiced Family Medicine in Kentucky since 2005, practiced Direct Primary Care since the fall of 2015 and was raised in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. I realize from many prospectives how much we need accessible comprehensive affordable primary care across Kentucky.

This legislation defines Direct Primary Care as an easily accessible health care option to provide the complete scope of primary care services for the people of Kentucky. Patients in DPC pay a periodic fee for a set of primary care services by his or her physician. In my office this includes complete primary care services with procedures, in office injections, in-office testing, wellness, preventative care, health maintenance correspondence and acute care treatment. There is no co-pay, deductible or additional unanticipated financial responsibility from the patient. Physicians in the Direct Primary Care model can make house calls, nursing home visits, and courtesy hospital visits should it be necessary. We all agree on the importance of health insurance for major medical expenses; yet, Direct Primary Care can be a much more cost effective form of health care delivery for a patient’s primary care needs.

Genesis 1 Health is one of a growing number of Direct Primary Care physician offices throughout our commonwealth which are providing quality independent comprehensive primary care to our patients. This form of practice appeals to a diverse array of patients and employers; alike. Individuals, family members or businesses can be the payer of these physician services in the DPC model. Your support of this legislation allows me along with other Kentucky physicians to continue to practice in this model which is inherently positive for patient and physician. By nature of the practice alone drives down health care cost.

Through Direct Primary Care, health care and accessibility is readily available not simply health coverage for our patients. For instance, a 32-year-old single mother with seven major medical conditions who has health insurance with a deductible that is 1/3 of her total income states she cannot afford to see anyone but a Direct Primary Care doctor as she cannot afford the deductible costs her coverage requires to seek care. Improved patient outcomes, reduced hospitalization, reduced ER visits, reduced acute care visits, reduced advanced imaging and testing costs, with additional focus on preventative and wellness care along with direct communication are some of the many inherent pieces of the Direct Primary Care. The model is defined by the close physician-patient relationship which can be lost in many ever-changing healthcare landscapes. Patients need to have the option for Direct Primary Care services within Kentucky should he or she desire. I recently prevented an ER visit and surgery consult with hospitalization and ambulance transport cost in an 86-year-old patient from the nursing home by simply going to the nursing home myself and performing a procedure at the bedside in the patient’s room. Health care dollars are being saved daily in this model and many physicians can share additional stories such as these.

I presently sit as a Board Member of the Direct Primary Care Coalition in Washington, D.C. This coalition is composed of many direct primary care practice communities across our country. This is truly a health care movement driven by physicians to preserve the patient relationship throughout our great land. Patients and businesses across our country understand the value direct primary care brings to patient care and the subsequent health care savings this model provides.

We all want the people of Kentucky to have the best options available. Direct Primary Care should be an item on the healthcare menu from which patients in Kentucky may choose. To date, sixteen states have passed legislation defining Direct Primary Care as a viable health care option. I ask your assistance in making Kentucky the seventeenth with your support of this legislation.

This will help continue to open doors for innovative health care accessibility and continued quality care the people of Kentucky deserve. Should you have the opportunity; we welcome you to Genesis 1 Health in Louisville, Kentucky or one of the various other Direct Primary Care practices serving the people across our beautiful commonwealth. We all love the opportunity to share another way health care is being delivered in Kentucky communities. It excites me to think we have the opportunity now with your support to promote excellent primary care to small and large communities throughout Kentucky in a different way. Help us bring innovative change to the health care landscape in Kentucky with your support.