Frequently Asked Questions
Why charge a membership fee?
The membership fee allows us to provide the vast majority of a person's primary care in an innovative way for a simple, fixed price. Much like Netflix or a gym membership, it allows members to better budget their healthcare finances; without worrying about extra costs, co-pays and deductibles for routine care.
Why would I pay ‘extra’ fees for health care?
We do not think of our services as “extra”; rather an independent, alternative and better way to do your primary care. Most of our members save money when combining Whole Family Health with a high-deductible health insurance or medical cost sharing plan. (vs. standard low-deductible/"copay" insurance plans)
Can I just have a visit without becoming a member or do I have to be a member?
No, you must be a member. To keep things simple and consistent for all of our patients, we do not provide visits or care outside of our standard membership system. If you’d like to come check out our clinic and meet Dr. Scherer before joining as a member, we’d be happy to show you around and answer any questions.
Are there any contracts or commitments? What if I decide to cancel?
We do not require members to sign any contracts that commit them to a certain period of membership. Memberships are ongoing and open but must be paid ongoing in order to maintain service with us. A minimum of the first month of membership and a registration fee is paid upfront and are non-refundable. If you decide to cancel and have a balance of prepaid membership fees remaining, a pro-rated refund will be given to you based upon date of cancellation.
May I re-start my membership after canceling?
Yes, we do allow for re-enrollment after cancellation, but members will be charged a re-enrollment fee of $200 per member before service can be restarted.
Is this like “concierge” medicine?
A little, but without the high price tag . . . or valet parking! 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.
Does Whole Family Health accept members with existing medical problems?
Yes. Our memberships (eligibility or fees) are not based upon any existing medical issues or conditions.
Are there any income or health guidelines for becoming a member?
No, we do NOT have any income or health guidelines to become a member. Our fees are the same regardless of income, insurance arrangement, level of health or utilization of our services.
What if I am healthy and rarely go to the doctor?
That is great! Our primary focus is to keep members well and avoiding lots of "medical" care. As such, we can dedicate more time to prevention and lifestyle issues to continue to keep you away from the expensive, cumbersome health care system. However, when you do need care, we are available 24/7 to help get you back on track; and avoid trips to ER or urgent care.
Can you provide memberships (virtual visits, etc.) to people “out of state”?
Dr. Scherer only has a medical license in the state of Illinois 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 a period of time. Ultimately, some care (sick visits, etc.) must be provided in-person and so we do not encourage people to join our practice unless they can reasonably visit us in person should we request.
Are there any hidden fees?
Nope. We provide most care to members without any fees at all! If we do charge for non-covered services, we always list prices upfront. If we recommend outside services, we try very hard to find you an upfront, reasonable price if paying cash.
What about lab work and other testing?
All members have access to many basic lab and diagnostic testing (cholesterol, diabetes testing, strep, EKG, urine dipstick, etc.) for a small charge, if at all. For non-covered labs, we offer significantly discount wholesale prices -- 50-90% less than insurance based prices. If you require labs not listed, you can contact us for pricing of just about anything.
How much does ___________ cost?
Check out contact us with specific requests if needed. We are committed to upfront pricing of all of our services.
When do I pay my fees for medications, labs, etc.?
For any fees for non-covered services, we expect full payment at time of service for most services, including medications, labs, procedures, etc.
How much will my first visit cost?
We do not charge "per visit". New members must pay a registration fee and a minimum of one month of membership fees upfront. To get started members will usually pay a minimum of around $100. If any non-covered services are required (labs, procedures, etc.) the first visit cost may be slightly more.
How much does a "check-up" cost? wellness visit?
All wellness visits are provided at ZERO cost to all members, there may be a small lab fee for blood tests!
What are your regular clinic hours? evenings? weekends?
Office hours are from 9-3PM daily. However, all members have access to the doctor 24/7/365 by phone and after-hours visits, if required. All visits require an appointment, so just call, text, or email Dr. Scherer.
Are you a walk-in clinic? Do I need an appointment?
While we can always offer same or next-day to our members (even newbies), we require scheduling all visits.
How long are doctor visits?
As long as you need! Taking into the consideration the number and complexity of medical issues, most of our clinic visits are scheduled for 20-60 minutes.
Can I really have multiple visits without co-pays?
What if I need outside care? Specialists, diagnostic testing, ER, hospital?
We can order or refer just as any insurance-based doctor can do. For some outside services, we can help find reasonable "cash" prices if you are paying out-of-pocket - especially radiology and lab. We can provide many urgent care and minor emergency services during regular or after-hours (stitches, simple fractures, etc.) that can help people avoid a trip to the ER. However, we do recommend having health insurance in the case of an unexpected, expensive event such as surgery, ER visit or hospitalization.
Will Dr. Scherer do housecalls?
Only with prior approval.
What type of visits can I do by phone or webcam?
We think of "virtual visits" 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. coughs, sinus infections, ear infection, new pain, etc.) we will recommend a traditional clinic visit.
INSURANCE & HEALTH PLANS
Is Whole Family Health health insurance?
Is Whole Family Health a substitute for health insurance?
No. Whole Family Health is a great way to receive high quality primary health care, but we do believe insurance is needed for unexpected and expensive events.
Can Whole Family Health bill my insurance plan?
No. Whole Family Health does NOT contract with any private or public insurance plans.
Does Whole Family Healht satisfy the requirement for “insurance” under the Affordable Care Act? Obamacare?
Not likely for individuals. However, this type of practice is loosely termed “Direct Primary Care” and is mentioned briefly in the Affordable Care Act as "participating in insurance exchanges with a wrap-around insurance plan”. The details of such are still very unclear, but we are not waiting around for Washington or any other capitols to provide our community with high quality, affordable primary care.
Do you accept Medicaid?
We do not contract with any Medicaid plans and cannot bill them for our services. Medicaid recipients are welcome to join Whole Family Health, but will likely also be assigned a "network Primary Care Physician (PCP)" that may be required to access other health plan benefits and services.
What about Medicare?
We can contract with Medicare beneficiaries to provide stellar primary care services. Our charges CANNOT be billed to Medicare by us or the patient and the beneficiary must sign a Private Contract prior to joining acknowledging this fact. As Medicare is an open network, patients may continue to use their Medicare benefit elsewhere with accepting providers as usual.
Can I use my insurance elsewhere if I join Whole Family Health?
In most cases, yes. Your insurance plans will continue to operate “as usual” at other doctor's office, hospitals and pharmacies. PPO-style plans do not require a designated “gatekeeper” doctor for referrals, medications, tests, etc. Dr. Scherer can order or refer just as another doctor would do. HMO-style plans often do require an in-network designated primary doctor for access to other services, so they may not pair as well with Whole Family Health.
Can I submit visit claims to my health insurance plan for reimbursement?
For the time being, insurance companies do NOT recognize our membership fees as a reimbursable expense. For non-covered service fees (meds, labs, x-rays, etc.), we can provide a receipt of payment so you can process with your insurance plan if you wish. However, most of our members have not found it not worth the time and effort to do so.
Can I use my FSA or HSA accounts with Whole Family Health?
Please contact us or an accounting professional to discuss this matter.
What type of insurance would you recommend?
We are not financial or health insurance advisers and recommend you speak with a professional in that industry if you have questions. However, our members often find that high-deductible (or catastrophic) insurance plans are very pleased with their arrangements when combined with our services. Whole Family Health can provide day-to-day services and a high-deductible plan can help limit the enormous expenses of a major event.
MEDICAL SERVICES & MEDICATIONS
Is this an “alternative” medicine practice?
We think of our business model as an alternative to managed care medicine, but Dr. Scherer is a board-certified family physician (American Board of Family Physicians) and practices very traditional medicine. She is a medical doctor (MD) and attended residency at Waukesha Family Medicine Residency in Waukesha, Wisconsin. However, Dr. Scherer is generally very conservative with ordering of tests and medications; and would much prefer to prescribe a book or an iPhone app to solve health problems.
Can you do women’s care? pap smears?
Yes. We can provide standard women’s and gynecologic services, including pelvic exams, pap smears, birth control and menopause management. We currently do offer colposcopy, Nexplanon, and IUD insertion.
Can Whole Family Health work for kids? pediatrics?
Absolutely! We love little tikes of all sizes. We can provide all standard childhood health care services including yearly physicals, acute care (sore throats) and chronic disease management (asthma, allergies, etc.). We are NOT currently giving childhood vaccinations, but can review records and send you elsewhere for completion.
What are Dr. Scherer’s views and policies on vaccines? Is she "vaccine friendly"?
Dr. Scherer recommends the standard schedule of childhood and adult vaccines per the CDC schedule. However, she is comfortable caring for anyone who chooses not to vaccinate or prefers an alternative schedule.
Do you give vaccines?
Currently we only stock TDaP (tetanus) and influenza seasonally. We hope to offer standard childhood vaccines as our practice grows. Dr. Scherer can review vaccine records and refer you several places to have them completed as needed.
Can you manage chronic pain? prescribe narcotics?
There are many modalities available to help minimize pain of chronic conditions and aggressively work with people to achieve adequate comfort. Dr. Scherer is generally cautious and uses a conservative approach to using narcotic/opiate medications such as hydrocodone, Morphine, Lortab etc. She will refer you to pain management specialists.
What about mental health problems? depression, anxiety?
Dr. Scherer is comfortable providing primary care for most any mental health problem, including associated medications. She generally has a conservative and careful approach when using medications (particularly benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium) in this area and strongly promotes the use of non-medicine therapies and lifestyle changes.
Can you treat ADD/ADHD? prescribe amphetamines, Adderall?
Dr. Scherer does not prescribe amphetamine medications and will refer patients to a specialist for further care.