TOP QUESTIONS WE HEAR FROM PATIENTS
Tell Me About Empower Direct Care
What is Empower Direct Care Clinic?
We are a family medicine clinic, operate under a model called Direct Primary Care (DPC) and we focused on putting you, the patient, first. That means treating you when you need it, never rushing through appointments, and being proactive with healthcare treatment plans. A pattern of affordable family health care that is immediate, comprehensive, and very personal. Like many DPC clinics, we don’t accept insurance, rather we choose to work directly with you, providing free or wholesale diagnostic tests along the way. You can choose to be a MEMBER or NONMEMBER. Dr. Nguyen can help you in many ways: your primary care need, skin care beautification, as well as medical weight loss and post-bariatric care.
Is Concierge Medicine the Same as Direct Primary Care (DPC)?
The terms are often used interchangeably, and essentially refer to the same thing but DPC is much affordable and do not bill insurance. Monthly fees allow us to focus on providing high-quality, convenient, personalized primary care. More time and attention for you means better care, better results, and a better experience.
What sets Empower Direct Care apart from other primary care practices?
We provide a concierge level of service to all members but try to make things affordable for people of all incomes, with or without insurance. You will get reliable primary care and more. By cut the red tape of bureaucracy, we restore the patient/provider relationship and compassionate relationship with patient. Dr.Nguyen aims for personalized care and empower you to embrace both health and beauty.
Why pay a membership fee when I already have primary care through my insurance?
Enjoy hassle free and unlimited one on one time with Dr. Nguyen. Save money on low cost lab testing and imaging services. Receive medical advice directly from Dr.Nguyen by phone, text, video chat or email in between office visits.
Will I still benefit from Empower Direct Care even if I don’t require frequent medical attention?
Of course! Everyone benefits from a proactive healthcare service tailored directly to them. Our primary focus is to keep members well and to avoid lots of "medical" care. Dr. Nguyen can dedicate more time to prevention and lifestyle issues to continue to keep you away from the expensive, cumbersome ER/urgent care visits. We will be able to spend unlimited amount of time with you and together we will build a comprehensive, intimate knowledge of your health- your custom healthcare. Our practice is devoted to empowering you with the knowledge and confidence to take control of your health and well being. It is impertinent that you take active role in health maintenance, and ultimately lead to enhancements of your daily experience.
Most of the unexpected trips to ER or urgent care that would have emptied your pocketbook can easily be covered in a same day visit at Empower Direct Care Clinic, often saving the member enough to justify the cost of a year worth of membership fees!
Do you accept Medicare, Medicaid or other medical insurances?
No, thankfully no. We forgo insurance payments in order to save our patients from the arbitrary, intrusive decisions that inevitably follow with third-party payors. Patients are charged a monthly membership fee for physician services. Patients who has insurance and can join as members for the usual membership rate. If you do have insurance, it will still cover any laboratory testing, imaging, medications, or hospitalizations prescribed by our offices.
We are currently not enrolling Medicare members. The government has very strict rules on this and we are currently not able to care for Medicare and Medicare-eligible patients. Please let us know if you would like to be added to the waitlist, we will notify you when this changes.
Is Empower Direct Care membership substitute for health insurance?
No. Our membership is a great way to receive high quality primary health care, but we do believe insurance is needed for unexpected and expensive events. We recommend that you continue to carry both a major medical plan and a health savings account, thereby ensuring financial help should hospitalization or referral to a specialist be necessary. Dr.Nguyen will be happy to guide you or connect you with a health insurance expert to find the best catastrophic coverage plan for you and your family.
Are my monthly care fees to EMPOWER Direct Care tax deductible?
No. Your retainer is not yet defined as a “medical expense” in most states and as such is not deductible. However some of the health share plans are recognizing DPC and will reimburse for the monthly fee. The American Academy of Private Physicians is lobbying hard to win rightful deductibility for these expenses. In the meantime, If you have private health insurance, a health savings account (HSA) or high deductible health plan, contact your insurance carrier or accountant directly to find out.
Perks & Benefits of Being Member
How can I reach my physician?
Members can reach the physician at any time via telephone call, text, email to the doctor or by sending a message through a secured patient portal in the AtlasMD electronic medical record.
What services does the membership fee include?
An annual physical, office follow up visits as needed, and access to Dr. Nguyen through direct telephone, email and video visits online. See list here of the membership services we provide.
Are there any hidden fees?
There are no hidden fees. We provide most care to members without any fees at all! If we do charge for non-covered services, we are always transparent with our pricing. If we recommend outside services, we try very hard to find you an upfront, reasonable price if paying cash.
What services are billed separately from the membership fee?
All members have access to many basic lab and diagnostic testing (strep, EKG, urine dipstick, pregnancy test, etc.) for no charge at all. Certain office procedures as listed on the nonmember list. If you do have insurance, fees for lab work, tests and imaging depend on your insurance status. Most plans will cover labs ordered by Dr.Nguyen, however some HMO plans will not. For non-covered labs we offer significantly discounted, wholesale prices - 50-90% less than insurance based prices with the local lab and radiology center. Go to the pricing tab to see complete pricing list. If you require testing not listed, you can contact us for pricing of just about anything.
Do you see people who are not interested in a membership?
Yes. Visits are open to individuals for non primary-care services only. Please see the available services on the PRICING tab. Patients who pay per visit will be asked to schedule a clinic appointment via phone.
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Who is eligible for membership?
From newborn to elderly are eligible for membership. We currently have a waitlist for those who has Medicare.
How will I know if Dr. Nguyen is right for me? What is the“Meet and Greet” visit?
This is a free and optional tele-visit where we will get to know each other and discuss your needs for health care. During this chat, we will not treat any medical conditions or refill any medications. It’s the only reasonable way to begin what, we trust, will be a long, productive, altogether healthy friendship.
How much does membership cost?
Please click here to see the membership fee. If you then choose to enroll as a member, you will be billed monthly or a lump sum up to your preference via recurring bank or credit card withdrawal.
What is your DPC membership cancellation policy?
You may cancel your membership at anytime. Fees charged within 30 days of cancellation are non-refundable. Once membership is cancelled, you can re-enroll at any time with re-enrollment fee of $200 per person. And of course plus any previous outstanding balance.
How is payment for DPC membership and other services processed?
All payments for monthly membership fees or any single payments for services will be drafted from your bank or withdraw from your credit/debit card. The payment information is input and encrypted into our EMR payment processor. It is not stored by Empower Direct Care. No one, including our office staffs can see nor extract this information once it is entered. Of course, you may also pay with cash.
Can Empower Direct Care work for kids? Pediatrics? Ped Vaccines?
Absolutely! We can provide all standard childhood health care services including yearly physicals, acute care (cough, cold) and chronic disease management (asthma, allergies, etc.). We do have the flu shot at low price for everyone. We are NOT currently giving childhood vaccinations, but can review records and send you to the Health Department for completion.
What are Empower Direct Care’s views and policies on vaccines?
It is reasonable for parents to be cautious regarding injecting or ingesting artificial substances into their children's body! However, medical evidence shows that benefits of most vaccines far outweigh their risks. We recommend a standard schedule of childhood & adult vaccines. Dr. Chi is open to discussing vaccines with all of our patients and does not limit membership to any patient based on vaccine status.
Do you prescribe controlled substances?
Besides medical weight loss medication, we do not prescribe maintenance controlled substances. If you need a long term prescription for a narcotic, tranquilizer, stimulant, or controlled sleep medicine, then it must be prescribed by your pain specialist, psychiatrist or sleep specialist. We can provide you a referral to these services as needed.
Can you manage chronic pain? prescribe narcotics?
There are many modalities available to help minimize pain of chronic conditions and Dr. Nguyen aggressively work with patients to achieve adequate comfort. Empower Direct Care generally has a cautious and conservative approach to using narcotic/opiate medications such as hydrocodone, morphine, Lortab, Percocet, etc. We rarely use these controlled and potentially dangerous medications for acute pain, and we have a policy of not prescribing opiate or other controlled medications for chronic problems.
Can you provide memberships (virtual visits, etc.) to people “out of state”?
Dr. Nguyen is licensed in the state of Texas and cannot practice medicine in other states. If a member establishes care (has a visit) in-person, we can provide remote monitoring of issues over phone and internet for some period of time. Ultimately, some care (sick visits, etc.) must be provided in-person, so we do not encourage patients to join our practice unless they can reasonably visit us in person.
Still have questions? That's okay, we are here to help.
Call/text us or fill out the form with your question and we will get back with you with an answer.
I am READY, sign me up!
How do I sign up for membership?
Enrolling as member patient with EMPOWER Direct Care is easy. Just fill out the enrollment form and we will contact you to make an appointment. We will never share your private information. The form will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and will require information about your medical history. No payment will be due until your enrollment is finalized.
Should I request send all my medical record to you if I am a new patient?
No, visit the Doctor first and we both can decide what medical history is necessary.
Are my medical records ever shared with insurance carriers or pharmaceutical companies?
Your privacy is one of the top priority. We are never obligated to provide any third party with a copy of your records, unless you consented.
I AM a Member, let’s get healthy!
HOW ARE EMERGENCIES HANDLED?
If you feel you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately or go to the Emergency Department.
If not life-threatening, just as before, you can call or text Dr. Nguyen . Once she have heard your situation, she will advise you whether a trip to the ER is necessary, or perhaps just an office visit or even better, taking care of you from remotely.
What are your regular clinic hours? evenings? weekends?
Our regular clinic hours are 9:00a - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday. However, all members have access to the doctor during off hours by phone/text/email/video and after-hours visits in the office if required. We try to reserve off hours for urgent or emergencies. A specific handout regards who and how to contact will be provided to patient members.
Are you a walk-in clinic? Do I need an appointment?
While we can always offer same or next-day visits to our members (even new patients), we do require scheduling all visits beforehand. A quick phone call or text to us, to verify that we are free is usually all that is required.
What type of visits can I do by phone or webcam?
"Virtual visits" should be thought of as a supplement to good primary care - not a replacement for in-person care. Generally, if the issue does NOT require a physical exam, a virtual visit is fine. Many chronic issues (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, etc.) can be largely managed by email and virtual visits. However, any issue requiring a physical exam (e.g. sinus infections, ear infection, new pain, etc.) we will recommend a traditional clinic visit.
What happens if I go to the hospital? Can my doctor see me?
Dr Nguyen can see you as a social visit, to review your hospital course with you and your hospital team. She will not be able to place orders or directly review hospital medical records. We hope to decrease hospitalizations to a minimum through excellent preventative care, but in the event that you do go to the hospital, you will be cared for by the hospitalist, your specialist, or admitting physician.
How is care handled when my doctor is away?
Dr. Nguyen is the first point of contact for patients in the event of an illness. Dr. Nguyen may takes vacation 2-3 weeks per year and is usually still available by phone. She is "off the grid" for one week a year. Practice members are notified in advance of these dates. There will be a covering provider when Dr. Nguyen is off the grid.