Board-certified family practice physician Dr. Dana Mays opened the first direct primary care/house call practice, YaphaMD, in the Alexandria-Pineville area of central Louisiana on July 1, 2014. She opened it to provide an alternative to “being herded like cattle through a typical office setting.” Her practice is named YaphaMD, with “yapha” being the Hebrew word meaning “to shine,” to reflect her “simple yet lofty overriding goal in life … to shine the love of God into all that I do.”
YaphaMD membership includes discount pricing on medications, after-hours visits for emergencies, virtual visits, consultation over the phone to avoid unnecessary treatment, and a host of other perks not offered in traditional doctor offices, all in an effort to meet the goal of saving time, cost, and getting the best treatment possible.
“Our primary focus is to keep members well and avoid lots of ‘medical’ care,” says Dr. Mays on her website. “As such, we can dedicate more time to prevention and lifestyle issues to continue to keep you away from the expensive, cumbersome health care system that often leads to costly, unnecessary tests.”
Dana and her husband, Jody, live in Pineville, Louisiana, with their three goats, two miniature horses, and one cat.
We recently asked her some questions about her practice. Her are her answers.
How is your practice different than a typical one?
My practice YaphaMD is a direct primary care, family medicine practice which is based on a monthly membership model. I work directly for my patients rather than for insurance and third-parties. My typical appointments are a half hour to one hour long with my patients. I often spend even more with new patients. I am also able to take care of many of my members’ needs via text, email, and phone. Patients know that they are not charged any additional fee for an office visit, so if I ask them to come in, it’s because I really need to see them. It is a very personal, laid-back atmosphere compared to usual doctors’ offices.
I opened my practice on July 1, 2014, doing house calls. When I started I only did house calls/work calls. As the practice grew, this became more challenging and my husband converted his business office into a small office for me. I still do house calls/work calls at times.
What are some of the advantages to your practice that patients most appreciate?
Availability, low-cost medications, on-site dispensing of medications, low-cost labs.
For example, a thyroid test that usually costs over $100 at the hospital lab I can get for $10 or less! One of my patients was paying $60 per month for her blood pressure medication with her “good” insurance. Since joining my practice, she gets a three-month supply for $10 and she doesn’t have to also go to the pharmacy!
What are some of the problems with regulation of health care that you are able to avoid by having a DPC?
I can do what is best for my patient rather than trying to meet bureaucratic mandates and check boxes on a computer screen. Regulation impedes the doctor-patient relationship. DPC restores the sacred doctor-patient relationship.
Could you elaborate on your slogan “Your time is precious. You are not just a number”?
Modern medicine in the USA has become depersonalized and unfriendly. It often feels like cattle are being herded through the typical insurance-based office. My desire is make medicine personal again recognizing that patients are people who have lives and responsibilities. Their time is just as important as anyone else’s time. My goal is to see my patients as close to their appointment time as possible. I notify them of delays, but they are rare. Usually the only time my patients wait for me is when they show up early.
Why did you join Samaritan Ministries?
When I left employed practice, we had to obtain our own health coverage. Our insurance premiums and deductible had risen so that my husband and I would have to pay over $20,000 in premiums and deductibles before we ever saw a dime of our insurance kick in. We had to find a better way. I’ll admit that I was scared at first, but ultimately we decided that it was a matter of trusting God. We felt that He wanted us to step out in faith in this area.
What has your experience been with having a need?
The first time I called for a need, I was overwhelmed with how simple and personal the process was. It was so antithetical to what I had experienced with insurance companies. In addition, all our needs have been met. I have personally had a major surgery that was around $10,000 after lots of cash discounts. One hundred percent of that need was met by Samaritan Ministries members. If we had still had our high-deductible insurance, that would have been 100 percent OUR responsibility. God definitely took care of us in our time of need through Samaritan Ministries. He and Samaritan Ministries are trustworthy!