A new health care provider has come to the area, bringing what its founders like to refer to as “modern medicine, the old-fashioned Way.”

Advanced Primary Care, at 1100 Our Lady’s Way in the Edge Business Center, offers patients options to the current model of health care, including a pricing model which can be far below the cost of current health care while providing excellent care. The new health care provider operates on a membership business model, where patients pay a monthly membership fee with no copays and direct billing.

Advanced Primary Care’s founders, Dr. Lori McCoy and Alona Gilliam, along with medical assistant Teresa Boggs, form the core of the care team.

“We started forming the practice in 2016,” Alona Gilliam said. “I have a medical background, and have been in the medical field for over 30 years,” with degrees in X-Ray and administration.

“Dr. McCoy is the Medical Director. She used to be at Trinity Station, but she is no longer with them. Now we have two locations, the first one is in Huntington, West Virginia, and now we have the Ashland location,” she said.

Gilliam said they originally started in Flatwoods, but the Huntington and Ashland locations are where they operate now.

“We are the first and only direct primary care in the Tri State area,” Gilliam said. “Direct primary care has been around for over 15 years, and is in 48 states, but we are the first to bring it to our area,” Gilliam said.

Co-founder McCoy attended the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, and is Board Certified in Family Medicine.

“I did my residency at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, and worked for them for a brief period of time,” McCoy said. “I was introduced to direct medicine through a friend with whom I had went to medical school. I spent a lot of time reading about it and researching direct medicine, and going to conferences. It fascinated me because it seemed the way to practice medicine that I had went to medical school to practice.”

“The difference between a direct primary care office and a conventional office is basically time,” McCoy said. “In a traditional office, the goal is to see as many patients as possible in the shortest amount of time.”

McCoy said she learned from experience working in that type of environment that it was very difficult to get to know a patient.

“It’s hard to get to know them and address all of their concerns in that short amount of time. And it is also inconvenient for those patients who can’t get through to the office or never get a call back from the office. And they have to wait sometimes two weeks just to get in.”

McCoy said when combining these negative factors, it became apparent to her that direct primary care was the future of medicine.

Another major difference between conventional and direct primary care is that direct primary care does not bill insurance, McCoy said.

“It is actually a membership model much like Netflix or a gym membership,” she said.  “And it is very affordable, with a national average of between $55 and 70 per month. And with that fee the patients get a lot of outstanding benefits. The first benefit is unlimited visits with their physician.

“One monthly fee is going to cover you for as many times as you need to be seen, whether face to face, telehealth, texts or email. Face-time, telephone, whatever you need.”

McCoy said this membership also gives patients access to their physician after hours and on weekends as well.

“And there is little to no wait time, either,” she said. “Same day or next day appointments are available also. I still make house calls, and my elderly patients really appreciate that.”

In addition, routine labs are included at no cost, McCoy said. “And the labs alone are a huge saving for most patients.”

Advanced Primary Care is also able to fill medications when generics are available. They do not dispense any medications deemed controlled substances, but are able to fill blood pressure and diabetes medications among others. And should a patient require them, they are also able to dispense antibiotics.

“This is something that is very low cost for patients, because they can essentially purchase their medications through us,” McCoy said. And it goes along with the ease of the business model, she said, because patients can pick up their medicine on the day of their visit or simply come by for their refills.

“We do encourage everyone to have insurance if they are fortunate enough to be able to get it,” McCoy said. “Because you can use insurance for catastrophic events or things you can’t predict. You just don’t need it in our office; and our goal is to save our patients as much as we can. And we can save them from using their insurance so much. In our office, they never have a copay, and they’re not going to get billed for every little thing we do. “

McCoy said by reserving insurance for the larger expenses, it helps to keep overall expenses down. In many cases, Advanced Primary Care can provide many of the same or similar services at or below what patients would normally be out of pocket for an insurance copay.

Advanced Primary Care also has memberships available for businesses and offers discounts for those businesses with 5 or more employees. McCoy and Gilliam said they help businesses of all sizes, and can help cut down on the ever-increasing cost or workers’ compensation expenses. They also offer occupational and workplace health services, and because of their drastically increased access model, they can help reduce the need for unnecessary Urgent Care and ER visits.

Advanced Primary Care will have an open house at its new Ashland Office from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 21 and invites everyone to stop in and learn about the new “old-fashioned” medicine and what it can do to simplify the care experience.

“And if you already have a physician you enjoy seeing, by all means keep that physician,” McCoy said. “There are a lot of wonderful doctors in our area. But if you come by for at least an initial visit, then we can be there for you when that doctor is unavailable.”

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