Bozeman Primary Care Opening

Dr. Terry Edwards and Nurse Practitioner Melissa Blixt will be opening Bozeman Primary Care, the first direct primary care model practice in Bozeman, on April 1, with a grand opening on April 8.

A new medical practice is coming to Bozeman, using a membership-based program its physicians say Bozeman hasn’t seen yet.

Bozeman Primary Care will open in the Ferguson Farm development on April 1, using a direct primary care model. The model gives members unlimited office visits and access to providers via text, email and phone. Members can also access primary and preventative care without having insurance, as the program is designed for people who have no insurance or a high-deductible plan, said Dr. Terry Edwards. The practice will accept all private insurance as well, he said.

Services offered include urgent care visits, basic mental health, wellness exams and routine care, lab work and minor procedures, said Melissa Blixt, nurse practitioner and co-owner of Bozeman Primary with Edwards.

Costing $99 a month for an individual, the model is meant to address 80 to 90 percent of patients’ basic medical needs. The other 10 to 20 percent consists of emergency care and anything requiring a specialist, Edwards said.

To address that, people may enroll in a health sharing plan, which covers additional care Bozeman Primary doesn’t offer, he said. For an individual, a health sharing plan would probably cost about $150 to $200 a month. Bozeman Primary will offer a 10 to 20 percent discount on a health sharing plan if people sign up for the direct primary care membership, he said.

Edwards and Blixt met while working at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. They wanted more autonomy and to improve accessibility and wait times for patients.

Primary care physicians in the U.S. see an average of 1,500 to 1,800 patients, Edwards said, and the number of patients he saw at Bozeman Health was close to that.

Edwards said he and Blixt will see about 400 to 500 patients. This leaves them with more time to spend with people.

The model works because it eliminates a lot of overhead and some costs of paying billing companies to manage insurance paperwork, Edwards said. It also helps having predictable income, Blixt said.

They’re also in talks with specialists to see if they can offer discounted services to members of Bozeman Primary’s program, Edwards said.

The two already have individuals and businesses wanting to join the program. It can be a cheaper option for small to medium-size businesses, he said.

“We think it will really take off in Bozeman,” he said.

Abby Lynes can be reached at alynes@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

Abby Lynes covers business and the economy for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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