This is the first in our “Guest Expert” series. Each post in the series will highlight a DPC physician currently in practice, including an introduction to them and their practice as well as advice for those looking to go into direct primary care. We are extremely grateful for the time and effort of these wonderful pioneering physicians in sharing their expertise with us. We hope you enjoy.
Dr. Shane Purcell MD
Dr. Shane Purcell MD

Dr. Shane Purcell MD hails from the booming metropolis of Claxton, GA, a speck on the map about 50 miles west of Savannah. He completed a BS in Biology from Armstrong State College in Savannah, GA before completing medical school at Mercer University in Macon, GA. He trained in Andersen, SC at AnMed Family Medicine Residency, finishing there in 2002. Dr. Shane went onto private practice family medicine for 2 years before focusing more on urgent care medicine. In 2005, he opened Ideal Family Health, a cash only family medicine clinic in Anderson, SC which was closed in 2012. During that time, Dr. Shane also created and operated an urgent care center in Anderson that continues today–Redi Care.

In 2015, with partner Dr. Amy Cianciolo, Dr. Shane created and currently operates Direct Access MD, a direct primary care clinic in Anderson, SC. Both the Redi Care clinic and the direct care clinic operate out of the same building. Currently, Direct Access MD cares for over 550 patients since opening in August 2015.

To learn more about Dr. Shane and his practice, visit Direct Access MD’s website.

What was it that led you to DPC?

Researching new approaches to family medicine online lead me to DPC. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has a really good website and youtube page to help private cash pay clinics.

What changes have you seen since making the switch to DPC?

Since changing from full on urgent care to more routine family care in the DPC model I have more family time now. I have more time for patients, more time to learn about new treatments and tests to help them. I’m not concerned anymore about billing and coding, begging insurance companies to pay me. I can keep my oath to patients, not to insurance companies.

What was the hardest part about the switch to DPC?

For me, the switch was fairly easy. The hardest part for established clinics is usually letting staff go. Because your overhead drops so drastically when switching to DPC type of care, there is no need for staff to send bills, file claims, and deal with insurance. Also, many times established patients will choose their insurance over you. You can expect to lose some good patients that will not follow you into the DPC world.

“I wanted to get back to more family medicine and routine care, but knew it could not be done inside the regulations and red tape of insurance.”

Give us your quick elevator pitch–What is Direct Primary Care?

Direct Primary Care is family medical care (preventive care, urgent care, chronic care and wellness support) through a monthly membership fee that patients pay directly to the physician.

Dr. Purcell’s top 5 DPC resources:

-AtlasMD blog (blog.atlas.md)
-AAPS Online (aapsonline.org) and on Youtube
The Official Guide to Starting Your Own Direct Primary Care Practice by Douglas Farrago
-DPCfrontier.com
-Searching Youtube for “DPC”

“Anything that interferes with the patient-physician relationship stands in the way of quality.”

As medical students and residents, what should we be doing now to prepare for a career in Direct Primary Care?

Read all you can about DPC and view all the videos you can. Go to youtube and search direct primary care and watch. Find a mentor in DPC. Go to a DPC conference and meet others really doing it. Prepare to live like a resident for a while to pay off debt.  Put every extra dime to your school debt.

What parting advice/wisdom would you like to share with our followers?

Go it alone. Many others are out here that are willing to help. Remember that medicine is about people, not numbers, data, or quality indices. Anything that interferes with the patient-physician relationship stands in the way of quality.