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SEPTEMBER 20, 2020



"Direct Primary Care Doctors Reduce Emergency Room Visits by more than 40%"

Dr. Josh Umbehr

"My Story from China to Freedom Part 1"

 REPEAT FROM SEPTEMBER 22, 2019  audio only

Dr. Shizhong Chen

"Direct Primary Care Doctors Reduce Emergency Room Visits by more than 40%"

New Study: Home Visit Doctors Reduce Emergency Room Visits

By over 40 percent — and could lower your health-care bills, too.

August 18, 2020, 12:02 AM



Have you visited an emergency room lately? They’re practically empty thanks to the COVID-19 pandemiceven though people aren’t any healthier. In fact, America may see an increase in deaths related to strokes, heart attacks, and other critical issues because of missed emergency care.

It doesn’t have to be this way. A new study shows that you can avoid the emergency room without risking your health by using primary care doctors who don’t take insurance, are incentivized to get you healthier, and charge far less than insurance-based doctors.

The model is called Direct Primary Care (DPC), the study comes from the Society of Actuaries, and the results are stunning. DPC patients went to the emergency room 40 percent less than traditionally insured people, sought medical care 12 percent less often, and saw their doctor either from home or after spending just four minutes in the waiting room. Doctors often visited patients at their homes after scheduling a same-day appointment.

Avoiding the emergency room for the right reasons means real differences for Americans and their families. The UnitedHealth Group estimates that an ER visit is 12 times as expensive as an average primary care physician visit and 10 times more expensive than an urgent care visit. The group also estimates that two-thirds of insured Americans who go to the ER don’t need to – which means 18 million people could save $32 billion in unnecessary spending, almost $1,800 per person.

The study found that DPC doctors spend an average of 38 minutes with patients — not the 14 minutes most primary care physicians spend — because they only have one-quarter of the patients. Text messaging between doctors and patients was common, as were home visits. Fully 88 percent of doctors provide telemedicine and other additional services at no cost.The DPC model gets these results by creating the right incentives for everyone involved in the continuity of care. Patients pay a monthly membership fee and see a price list for additional care options like X-rays provided by their doctors, so they know exactly how much their care costs and what’s included. Doctors are paid by results, not per service provided, so they are incentivized to provide true preventive care.

All of it is meant to create a true patient–physician relationship — and it works. Even though the study found that most DPC doctors make less than their insurance-based counterparts, they were happier and felt that they were back to practicing real medicine. And patients spent less time traveling to and from appointments without sacrificing their health.

The study did find that since most DPC doctors require a small up-front fee, there was a 1.3 percent increase in initial costs to get on the patient rolls. My patients view this as an investment in their future because emergency room visits are obscenely expensive — avoiding the emergency room and seeking less care overall far outweighs these small initial fees. And during the coronavirus pandemic, avoiding busy waiting rooms and receiving high-quality care is like getting a Jaguar for the price of a used pickup truck.

Emergency room prices have skyrocketed in recent decades, putting patients in the position of paying too much and doctors in the position of working too long. Many efforts have been made to fix this, such as Oregon’s 2008 Medicaid expansion. Unfortunately, that experiment led to more people going to the ER because they didn’t have a trusted PCP.

The solution to getting Americans great preventive care is high-quality, personalized attention. This is what is provided by DPC doctors like me, and the Society of Actuaries proved that it works. There’s no need to have worse care because of the pandemic. You can save money, spend more time with your loved ones, and be healthier simply by finding the right doctor for your needs.

Dr. Josh Umbehr is a board-certified Family Physician and the Founder of Atlas MD, a Direct Primary Care medical practice.

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My Story from China to Freedom Part 1



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About Dr. Shizhong Chen

Dr. Shizhong Chen has been active in projects concerning China for over 30 years. He has founded, co-founded, or been spokesperson for a number of organizations concerning China, and has spoken extensively on issues related to China.

Dr. Chen began his activism in 1989, when he helped to organize supporting activities during the 1989 Beijing Student Movement. Outraged by the June 4th Massacre, Dr. Chen founded the Tiananmen Square Foundation, has served on the Board of the Press Freedom Guardian, and was elected as the vice president of The Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars in the U.S.

Upon learning the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China, Dr. Chen founded the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group in 2001, and has since submitted over 100,000 cases of human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners to UN Special Rapporteurs. He also founded and is President of the Conscience Foundation, a non-profit organization to publicize and remind people that the human conscience is the very essence of humanity.

Dr. Chen has spoken extensively on the issue of human rights in China. Since 2001, he has frequented meetings of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva (now the Human Rights Council), spoken to the Council, to Special Rapporteurs, and at many forums to forward the cause of human rights. He was a panelist at an annual meeting of the California Bar Association, has spoken to Amnesty International’s US West Region, and has made numerous appearances at various forums and on radio and TV shows and interviews.

Among the books that Dr. Chen has authored or co-authored are: Stories of Conscience, The Falun Gong Report, Falun Gong, Humanity’s Last Stand, now in its third edition, and, most recently, a comprehensive report on the extensive psychiatric torture taking place in China.

In 2005, Dr. Chen conceived the idea of the Courageous People, Spirited Land TV series and implemented the project. The programs have since become very popular in China where viewers have been disseminating them defying Chinese regime’s prohibition.

From 2010, Dr. Chen has given a presentation on The Renaissance of Chinese Culture over one hundred Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, Lion Clubs, and various colleges.

From 2012, Dr. Chen has been working with a group of activists in China to use China’s current laws to defend civil rights.

Dr. Chen was born in China in 1962. At 15, he entered the gifted program at China University of Science and Technology. He came to the U.S. in 1982 to study and received his Ph.D. degree in molecular biology at University of California, San Diego. He currently owns and runs a molecular biology startup in San Diego.



Here is a link to one of the manuscripts mentioned in Dr. Chen's bio, and may provide some background to a topic that will be covered in our show:

Here are links to one episode of the documentaries that The Conscience Foundation have produced, in case you are interested:


jPrevious shows with Dr. Chen: