What is Avoda Health?

Avoda Health is a Direct Primary Care medical practice.  Direct Primary Care is a straightforward way to do medicine where the patient directly pays the physician for their care.

Is Avoda Health a concierge practice?

No.  The term concierge practice is often used for any practice that charges patients a fee but there is an important difference.  Concierge medicine is a way of practicing medicine that caters to the affluent.  Physicians generally have less than 200 patients and provide on-demand care for a high up front and/or monthly price.  Direct primary care began in the last 10-15 years with an emphasis on providing reasonably priced care and removing the barrier to better care for all patients.  The doctor-patient relationship becomes the focus rather than the wishes of a third-party payer (insurance or the government).  Direct Primary Care Clinics do not accept insurance but instead work directly with the patient to provide them the most affordable price for many aspects of their health care from labs and imaging to prescriptions and referrals.

Will I still benefit from Avoda Health membership even if I don't require frequent medical attention?

Yes!  Everyone benefits from a service tailored directly to them.  From prevention to acute illness, everyone needs some kind of health care.  Every visit, for whatever reason, will provide a chance for us to have a complete knowledge of you and your health.  Then, should the need arise, we are ready to care for you even through the unexpected.  Remember also that an ounce of prevention . . . well, you know the saying!

Does Avoda Health accept insurance? 

No.  This is a direct fee-for-service model where you are charged a monthly fee and a per-visit scheduling fee.  We forego insurance which means our office will NEVER bill your insurance for our services.  When you leave the clinic, you will know exactly what your cost was with no unexpected bills in the mail from us.

As a patient of Avoda Health, should I cancel my insurance?  Does this meet my requirement for insurance with Obamacare?

No and, unfortunately, no.  You still need insurance.  However, you should check with your insurance or an insurance agent about a lower cost option.  I recommend that you carry a high-deductible major medical plan, a health share, and/or a health savings account, to ensure that you are financially covered in the event of hospitalization or referral to specialists.  If you are interested in talking to someone about your health insurance options, you can contact Carol Burks, an independent agent, at (503)510-2959.  For information on health share ministries, visit their website at Liberty Health ShareSamaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries or Medi-Share.

Can I become a member at Avoda Health if I have Medicare?

Yes.  You just need to sign a waiver prior to care that states that neither you nor I will directly bill Medicare for my services.  Medicare will still cover any laboratory testing, imaging, medications, or hospitalizations as they did before.   For possible savings, you should look at the level of your Medicare Advantage or supplement paired with the clinic membership and decide if any changes can be made.  I recommend working with a skilled agent to help compare plans as choosing well can be difficult.  See Carol's information above for assistance.  However, you DO NOT have to make any changes to your Medicare plan to enjoy coming to our clinic.  Medicare will still continue to pay for your specialists (kidney doctor, eye doctor, neurologists, etc).  Nothing changes with your prescriptions!  I will send your prescriptions to your pharmacy and Medicare will cover them as they have before.  Imaging studies (CT/CAT scans, ultrasounds, x-rays, MRI, etc) can be ordered by myself and Medicare will cover as before.  Your membership fee and per-visit fee cover the services done at Avoda Health as explained in the contract. 

Is my membership tax deductible?  Can I use my health savings account?

Monthly memberships are not yet deductible as the IRS does not recognize monthly memberships as a claimable medical expense.  We are hoping that memberships at Direct Primary Care Clinics will soon be defined as a "medical expense" through the IRS (legislastion is being considered).  Annual membership fees are considered by our clinic to pay for your annual physical/well child exam and are generally tax deductible and a recognized health savings expense.   Please ask for a receipt at the time of your physical/well child visit, if needed for tax purposes.   Health savings cards can be used at the clinic for payment of health expenses.  Health savings accounts are directed and overseen by the IRS and your ability to claim any health service as a health savings expense may vary.  Consult your tax professional with any further questions as we cannot give individual tax advice.

Can my children become members?  Do my children need memberships?

Yes to both.  I am happy to see children (birth to 18) at $20 a month with a paid adult membership.  If children wish to join, but there is no adult joining then the 1st child is charged at the adult rate of $49/month and each additional child is $20/month.  The first 3 children in a family pay the child rate.  The 4th child and beyond are not charged a monthly fee.  So a family of 3 or a family of 7 pays the same monthly price.  Every child that is seen is charged the $20 per visit fee when seen.   So even though the 4th child does not pay a monthly fee, he/she still pays $20 at his/her visit.  Children that still live at home for college or similar continuing education may remain on a parents account until age 26, with proof of current full-time enrollment and signed statement from parent stating child lives with them.

What does Avoda mean?

Avoda, or Avodah (Hebrew: עֲבוֹדָה‎), is a Hebrew word, literally meaning "work".  In a modern context, it usually refers to business-type activities or agriculture.  More traditionally, it means serving God as in one's calling or service to Him.  Avoda Health derives its name from the fact that Dr. Brown considers medicine to not just be her Avoda (work) but her Avoda (calling or service to God).