Rhonda Carlson, MD

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Click the question below to view the answer.


  • What is Direct Primary Care?

    Direct primary care is a direct relationship between patient and physician.  The physician works only for the patient.  Affordable monthly membership fees cover the vast majority of primary care services.  Easy physician access, relaxed visits and small practice size allow for a more personalized healthcare experience. 

  • Is Direct Primary Care the same as Concierge Medicine?

    The terms are often used interchangeably.  

    Both models focus on putting the patient first, but Direct Primary Care physicians do not bill insurance.  They choose to work only for the patient.  

  • What medical services are included in my membership?

    • Primary care office visits
    • In-office tests, treatments and procedures including: EKG, blood oxygen test, urinalysis, stool blood test, blood sugar test, strep test, pregnancy test, flu test, mono test, B12 shots, Toradol shots, antibiotic shots, steroid shots, oxygen, breathing treatments, skin biopsies, joint and bursa injections, cryosurgery, electrosurgical treatments, ear wax removal, iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis, overnight pulse oximetry and more
    • Comprehensive annual exam emphasizing prevention and your personal health goals
    • Personalized weight loss program
    • Low-cost options for out-of-office, non-covered services such as laboratory, imaging, medications, cardiac tests, and more
  • What other benefits are included in my membership?

    • Physician and staff who know you
    • Same or next day appointments
    • 24/7 access to your doctor
    • Email, phone and fax communication with your doctor
    • Small practice size
  • How difficult is it to get an appointment?

    You will be seen on the same or next day in most cases.

  • How long will I have to wait if I come in for an appointment?

    Our goal is no waiting when you come in for your appointment.

  • How long do office visits typically last?

    Visits last from thirty minutes to over an hour, whatever you need. They can also be quick if you're in a hurry.

  • Can I be seen by the doctor without an appointment?

    We prefer you give us a call first so we can make sure you have all the time you need to address your concerns.

  • Will you see my family?

    Yes!  We love families! 

    We provide basic children's health services including yearly checkups, sports physicals, sore throats, allergies, asthma, acne, teenage (and parent) angst, etc.

  • How do I contact you if I have a problem?

    Always call 911 first if you are having a medical emergency. You may contact Dr. Carlson by cell phone after hours for urgent health concerns. You may contact Dr. Carlson by email for less urgent concerns. You may contact our office during regular hours by phone, email or fax. Regular office hours can be found on our contact page.

  • Can I still see my gynecologist?

    Sure! We offer female exams, pap smears, family planning and menopause management but you are welcome to see anyone you want.

  • What if I need to see a specialist?

    We will coordinate your specialist referral and always advocate on your behalf.

  • What if I need to go to the emergency room or hospital?

    While Dr. Carlson will be available to you by phone and email, there may be medical situations that require more advanced care than she can provide in the office. In these cases you would be advised by the doctor to present to an Emergency Room. In the event of a medical emergency, patients are advised to call 911 prior to calling our office to begin evaluation and treatment as soon as possible.

    If Dr. Carlson determines that you need Emergency Room services or evaluation for admission from her office, she will coordinate transportation and call the Emergency Room to let them know you are coming.

    Dr. Carlson does not directly admit patients to the hospital. Please let us know if you are admitted. Even if we are not the treating physician, we are always an advocate for your care.

  • What happens when Dr. Carlson goes out of town?

    When Dr. Carlson goes on vacation, she is usually available to answer phone calls, messages and help coordinate your healthcare needs. Our office staff will still be available to help Dr. Carlson coordinate your care. There will also be a physician available locally if needed.

  • What does it cost?

    A. Membership Fees are based on age:

    • Age 8-19    $25/month with parent/guardian membership
    • Age 20-29  $50/month
    • Age 30-64  $75/month
    • Age 65+     $100/month

    B. Nonrefundable $100 Registration fee per member.  Registration fees are waived if annual membership is paid in advance.

  • How do I pay the doctor? Do you accept annual or monthly fees?

    We accept fees paid annually by cash, check, bank debit or credit card.

    We accept fees paid monthly by automatic bank debit (ACH authorization) or credit card.

  • Are there co-pays or additional costs not included in the membership fee?

    There are no copays or additional costs for medication, tests and services provided by Dr. Carlson in our office. 

  • What about medication, tests and services not provided by Dr. Carlson?

    Medication, vaccines, tests and services provided outside of our office are not included in the membership. You may use your insurance if you'd like, however we negotiate significant cash-only discounts (typically 50-95%) for tests and services and pass 100% of the savings on to you.

    We are passionate about lowering the cost of healthcare while improving quality and service. It makes us happy to help you find the highest quality medication, tests and services for the lowest possible price. We will help you determine if it less expensive to use your insurance or pay cash.

  • Why would I pay extra for health care when I already have health insurance?

    Because health insurance is not health care.

    All of us are conditioned to think that having health insurance means getting health care. That is no longer true.  With high deductible insurance plans, health care costs often come directly out-of-pocket because people never meet their yearly deductible.  Our goal is to help you avoid or minimize severe or chronic conditions that trigger high out of pocket costs and take a toll on you and your loved ones.  Improved access to your own personal physician can lead to better health outcomes.  Many of our patients discover that our negotiated prices for labs, imaging, medication, cardiac testing, etc are LESS than using their insurance!

  • Do I still need health insurance if I join your practice?

    We highly recommend it.

    Direct Primary Care combined with health insurance provides better access and service at the primary care level while maintaining financial protection via insurance for serious illnesses.

  • Is your practice compatible with my insurance plan?

    Most insurance plans are compatible with our practice model.

    Direct primary care represents an added investment in your health and wellness. In time we believe that insurance plans will develop that encourage patients to invest in more focused preventative and coordinated care. In the meantime, there is nothing in your plans that prohibit you from securing direct primary care at your cost. We think this investment will pay dividends in terms of the quality of your life.

    HMO plans are more challenging to combine with our practice model since HMO plans sometimes require an "in-network provider" for access to other services. Dr. Carlson is considered "out-of-network" for insurance purposes. If you have an HMO and wish to join our practice, you may also need an "in-network provider" to help us coordinate your referrals, prior authorizations, etc.

    We recommend speaking with your health insurance advisor about insurance plan options. If you do not have a health insurance advisor please let us know and we will recommend one.

  • Will you bill my insurance plan for office visits?

    No. We do not contract with any private or government health insurance plans. 

  • Will my health insurance reimburse me for office visits or put it toward my deductible?

    Maybe. If your health insurance plan allows for out-of-network coverage and reimbursement we can provide information for you to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement or to put toward your deductible for certain procedures or costs, but not for your monthly membership fee. Medicare does not allow reimbursement for our services as we have opted out of Medicare.

  • Will my insurance plan reimburse my membership fee? Is it tax deductible?

    At this time we do not believe membership fees can be reimbursed by insurance plans. That said, insurance reimbursement and tax laws change and evolve over time. We recommend you consult with your insurance broker or representative, and with your tax or financial advisor, to secure competent advice on those issues.

  • Can I use my insurance elsewhere if I join your practice?

    Yes. Your insurance continues to operate "as usual" outside of our office for specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, labs, imaging and other covered services.

  • If I have Medicare, can I still join your practice?

    Yes. Dr. Carlson has opted out of Medicare so you must sign a contract declaring that neither you nor Dr. Carlson will directly bill Medicare for her services. Medicare continues to operate "as usual" outside our office for specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, labs, imaging and other covered services ordered by our office.

  • Is your practice considered health insurance? Does it satisfy the requirement for "insurance" under the Affordable Care Act?

    No, but "Direct Primary Care" is mentioned in the Affordable Care Act as potentially participating in "insurance exchanges". The details are still very unclear. We are not an insurance plan.

  • Why charge a membership fee instead of fee for service?

    Keep it Simple + No Nickel and Dime = Less Math + Easier Budgeting 

    Membership allows you to obtain the vast majority of your primary care needs for a simple, fixed price.  You develop a close relationship with your personal physician and staff because of easy access, extended communication, care coordinatinon and a focus on keeping you healthy.

  • Can I just have a visit without becoming a member?

    No. Our small practice size allows better access and services. Call, come by, meet us, we'll show you around and answer any questions.

  • Do I have to sign a long-term contract? What if I move or want to cancel my membership?

    We do not require you to sign a long-term contract. Memberships are ongoing and open but must be paid in order to maintain service with us. You may cancel your membership at any time. If you have a balance of prepaid membership fees remaining, a pro-rated refund will be given to you based upon the date of cancellation.

  • Can I enroll as a member in your practice anytime in the future?

    Yes, as long as Dr. Carlson's practice is open to new patients.* 


  • How do I sign up?

    Contact our office to get your registration packet and complete all the necessary documents. Return your packet to secure your membership.*