Frequently Asked Questions
Your Questions Answered
HOW IS VITALITY FAMILY HEALTHCARE DIFFERENT FROM TRADITIONAL MEDICAL CLINICS? Vitality Family Healthcare uses an innovative model of care known as Direct Primary Care (DPC). In this model, doctors are paid directly by their patients, rather than through insurance companies or governmental payers. By cutting out the middleman, we eliminate unnecessary cost and insurance-based inefficiency to providing care. The DPC model allows the physician more time for each visit with patients, giving the patient added value to their healthcare. This model of health care is becoming increasingly common nation-wide. Even some specialists are starting to switch to this model.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AS A PATIENT? You can expect very short wait times, longer appointments, and expanded access to your physician. No more rushed visits or waiting weeks for an appointment. You can contact your physician via phone, text, or e-mail when it’s convenient for you. Find out more about our benefits in the Member Benefits section of our website.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Our monthly membership fees are based on the patient's age. In addition to low monthly membership fees, we have an on-site wholesale pharmacy which saves our patients significantly on prescription costs. In some cases, patient's save enough on prescription costs to offset their membership fee. Patients are also offered wholesale cash prices on lab tests (often 95% lower than traditional costs). We additionally have cash-pay options available for our patients for low priced ultrasound, X-rays, CT, MRI, etc. We also have relationships with cash-pay surgical centers, saving you large sums of money on surgeries.
DO I STILL NEED INSURANCE? All patients are encouraged to have at least catastrophic medical coverage, either through an insurance or share plan. One way to save money on your healthcare is by getting insurance with low premiums and high deductibles. Another option is to look into DPC-friendly share plans, which often give premium discounts if you are part of a DPC practice like ours. The ACA legislation exempts patients from the underinsured/uninsured tax if you have major medical/catastrophic coverage and a physician on retainer, which is what you will get with Vitality Family Healthcare. In addition, the minimal fees you do incur at Vitality (such as for labs) can oftentimes be applied towards your insurance deductible.
MY HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY IS VERY EXPENSIVE WITH LITTLE BENEFIT. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS? This is a common sentiment for everyone (patients, employees, and employers) and why we practice medicine OUR way, not insurance's way. It’s amazing how affordable primary care can be when insurance isn’t involved. Studies show 95% of most healthcare needs can be handled in the primary care office. The reason to have coverage with insurance or a share plan is to protect yourself against that other 5%. This protects you from catastrophic bills for surgeries, hospitalizations, and other medical emergencies. In other words, you need to insure what you can’t afford to lose or pay for when emergencies occur. Another option separate from medical insurance exists for people of the Christian faith,which is joining one of the Christian Health Sharing Ministries (CHSM). These non-profit companies existed before the ACA was enacted and were grandfathered in. They generally exist as underwritten refund-style memberships (where you get paid back by other members for your qualified healthcare expenses.) Oftentimes they function much like catastrophic insurance and are very affordable options compared to traditional medical insurance plans. CHSM options include Liberty HealthShare, MediShare, Samaritan Ministries, and several others. A quick internet search will help you research these ministries. For businesses or non-christian patients, there are similar share plans such as Sedera, Zion, etc, that offer both business health benefit plans as well as coverage for individuals. As stated above, they often also offer an additional discount if you are a patient of a direct primary care clinic such as Vitality Family Healthcare. Finally, there are still catastrophic plans available as group insurance products, as well as self-funded or partially-self-funded "ERISA" plans. Although these plans can save you lots of money, they're only available to groups (i.e. employers). Talk to your employer about your options, as some of these companies offer significant discounts to employers whose patients use DPC practices and such employers could save up to 60% on their insurance expenses. Allied National is a good example.
CAN MY MEMBERSHIP FEES BE REIMBURSED BY MY INSURANCE COMPANY? In some cases, you can submit a receipt for your membership fees or lab/medication costs. Some insurance companies will apply these payments toward a deductible.
CAN I USE MY HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT TO PAY MY DIRECT PRIMARY CARE MEMBERSHIP FEES? The law currently allows the use of HSA money to pay for medications, imaging tests, labs, etc. However, it is legally unclear if HSA funds can also be used to pay for DPC membership fees. This is a question for your tax professional. Legislation has been proposed to clarify if HSA money can be spent on a DPC physician's retainer or membership fee, but it currently remains unclear.
CAN I GET ALL OF MY MEDICATIONS FILLED AT VITALITY FAMILY HEALTHCARE'S PHARMACY? As a member, you have access to our entire pharmacy and you pay only our cost, which is nearly always below retail pharmacy prices. We only dispense medications we can save you money on. Therefore, almost all of the medications in our extensive inventory are generic. Name-brand prescriptions are generally expensive and therefore you'll typically get a better price on name brand drugs using an insurance prescription drug benefit or a prescription drug discount card at your local pharmacy. We do not dispense any DEA-controlled medications such as narcotic pain medicine, sedatives, or stimulants from our pharmacy. We also have wholesale licensure for certain supplemental and dietary products.
ARE THERE MEDICATIONS OUR PROVIDERS DON'T PRESCRIBE? Dr. Peterson does not prescribe narcotics, benzodiazepines, or other controlled substances. Certain controlled substances for weight loss may be used only in the appropriate candidates through the Obesity Management Program. Some prescriptions we do not carry in our pharmacy due to high costs, but these can be prescribed through other pharmacies, savings programs (such as GoodRx), and drug manufacture savings programs.
OUTSIDE OF MEMBERSHIP FEES, MEDICATIONS, LAB FEES, AND RADIOLOGY SERVICES, ARE THERE OTHER FEES I CAN EXPECT TO PAY? Dr. Peterson performs a variety of office procedures. These are priced at a very low cost compared to standard market prices for these procedures. To see a full list of these prices, look at our member services page. For after hours visits, home visits, and one-time walk-ins, an additional fee may apply and is subject to Dr. Peterson’s availability. There are no extra fees for text, email, or phone calls after hours. For patients who leave the practice and wish to rejoin it, a $200 re-enrollment fee will be charged. Re-enrollment is not guaranteed to be available.
WILL VITALITY FAMILY HEALTHCARE SEE PATIENTS ON A FEE-FOR-SERVICE BASIS IF THEY ARE NOT MEMBERS? Yes. We offer cash price/ fair market value visits, labs, medications, and procedures for non-members. For a full list of services, look at our member services page and reference the non-member rates.
HOW CAN I CONTACT DR. PETERSON AFTER HOURS? We know that illness and injuries don't always happen during office hours. If you just need to get in touch with us to order a medication refill or schedule an appointment, you can e-mail or leave a message on the office phone anytime. If you have a non-urgent question, but one that probably shouldn't wait until the next day, members can text Dr. Peterson and he will reply as soon as he is available. However, if you believe you need emergency evaluation or treatment, you should not delay care and should immediately seek care at the nearest emergency room.
HOW CAN YOU GUARANTEE SAME OR NEXT DAY APPOINTMENTS? Dr. Peterson only plans to accept approximately 500 patients. Considering that typical health care has driven modern era physicians to patient panels of 2,000- 4,000 patients or more, it's no wonder you encounter long waits and very little time with your current provider. By having a smaller patient panel, Dr. Peterson has more time and availability for you. This is the kind of attention and accessibility we'd want our family to have, and it's what we are able to offer our patients.
WHAT IF I NEED REFERRED TO A SPECIALIST? Dr. Peterson has been trained in many office based procedures. However, if specialist consultation is needed, Vitality Family Healthcare utilizes a service called RubiconMD that offers web-based eConsults with top specialists across the country. These eConsults allow our patients to receive more comprehensive care while often avoiding unnecessary and inconvenient referrals to specialists. The RubiconMD eConsult service incurs no additional cost for patients. If you need to see a specialist in person, we are happy to refer you.
WILL DR. PETERSON TAKE CARE OF ME IF I GET ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL? Dr. Peterson does NOT have inpatient privileges at Grand Island area hospitals. No matter where you are hospitalized though, if you notify him, Dr. Peterson can be in direct communication with your hospital provider. You are not charged extra for Dr. Peterson’s coordination of your care. However, routine hospital facility fees (nursing care, food, medication, procedures, xrays, etc.) will be charged by the hospital to you or your insurance company.
DO YOU MAKE HOUSE CALLS? For special circumstances we can make house calls. We can also visit local businesses, particularly if multiple employees need to be seen. House visits will cost an extra fee and have limited equipment and testing ability. They will also be subject to availability when clinic patients are not scheduled.