What is direct primary care?
What is NOT available at sparkMD?
The providers at sparkMD do not manage chronic pain and they do not prescribe chronic pain medications. They do not have or keep any pain medication at the clinic. This is because these medications are heavily regulated, need substantial monitoring, have a high rate of diversion and for most patients, long term, are detrimental to their overall health and well-being.
We are not a fee-for-service same day clinic. We work hard to meet our member’s needs as they arise but do not offer ‘same-day’ or ‘one’time’ visits for non-members. We believe in long-term primary care relationships. It’s what we do best.
We do not do pregnancy care, chronic pain management, DOT physicals or determinations for medical disability. We are not the admitting doctor when our patients need hospitalized.
Do you take care of patients in the hospital?
Our doctors will often visit their patients when they are in the hospital. Please call us if you desire this! We will discuss your care and provide any needed charts or records with the hospitalist doctor to facilitate the best possible care. Upon discharge, we will readily follow up with you and your family to try and keep you on the road to recovery and reduce confusion after discharge.
sparkMD doctors do not write the orders, bill or ‘call the shots’ when you are in the hospital. Dr. Gunther is in good standing with Treasure Valley hospitals, and sparkMD patients are encouraged to select whichever hospital they feel most comfortable with for their inpatient care.
What if I need care on the weekend?
If you have an urgent after-hours concern that you believe cannot wait for routine business hours, we will be available by phone to assist you. While we will come in on the weekend for urgent needs, we find that that need is very rare. We are not available for routine needs or matters that can wait until normal business hours on the weekends. Our doctors are dedicated to your care and to a healthy, cultivated physician-patient relationship.
So, no matter when I need you- you’re available?
No…not exactly. We are primary care providers. This means we can address most problems, most of the time. We are also a very low cost medical clinic. We are cultivating something sustainable, enjoyable and transformative. And it requires a partnership with our patients.. In this age of instant responses and digital access, we are striving for sustainability. We ask our patients to utilize our services, in person or electronically, when they need us. We also ask that if matters can wait until waking hours that they do.
What if I’m having a medical emergency?
As is customary with any medical emergency, CALL 911. If you are not having an emergency but feel you need prompt medical care, please call sparkMD.
How does this work with my existing insurance?
You have choices.
We recommend all patients have and maintain insurance coverage for medical catastrophes such as cancer, trauma and unexpected surgery. These events are extremely expensive and there’s no way around it. Patients who need regular sub-specialty care (say if you have multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis) need reasonable insurance coverage for the specialists they see along with any specialty drugs they may need.
We understand, however, that many hard-working people simply cannot afford insurance. We encourage you to consider consulting with an insurance agent (we can recommend some, if needed) who understand direct primary care. Our patients have found ‘high deductible’ plans that are ACA compliant on yourhealthidaho.gov. Other patients choose to work with cost-sharing programs like Samaritan Ministries to arrange some type of financial coverage in the event of a medical catastrophe.
There are other options currently in process. In two states patients can purchase ACA compliant high-deductible plans that are somewhat designed with direct primary care in mind. The Primary Care Enhancement Act, a piece of tax legislation introduced in 2017 (information ) would allow for HSA dollars to be used for the monthly direct care fee. The bottom line, however, is in most situations, insurance or no insurance, direct primary care clinics can save people time, money and headaches with our low-cost, transparent care model.
What if I don’t have insurance?
sparkMD will take care of you just like everyone else.
What if I have Medicare?
We’ll take care of you, too.
Can I submit sparkMD charges to my insurance for reimbursement?
Can I get reimbursed for sparkMD fees from my HSA?
Not at this time. (See the information about the Primary Care Enhancement Act of 2017 above).
Where are you located?
West Boise. Here’s a map.
Do you have parking?
Yes. In front of our building: 2402 W Jefferson St, Boise, ID 83702
Do you do immunizations?
Flu shots are free for 2022 to our members. We also have tetanus and tdap and PPDs and can order travel vaccines at wholesale cost. Other immunizations are done at the local pharmacy or Central District Health Department.
We encourage proper immunization of our patients of all ages and are very open to discussion of questions or concerns.
We will help you with the Centers for Disease Control’s most up to date recommendations and immunization tracking on IRIS (the state database) We don’t have immunizations at the clinic because we have no way to save you money on them. Pharmacies are already so good at this and they are pretty much sold at cost.
Can I see your wholesale prices on imaging and labs?
Yes. Here’s our in-house pricing sheet.
Can I see a list of your in-house medications including pricing?
Sound too good to be true?
It isn’t. When you’ve had enough of what isn’t working for anyone, we’re happy to help you think about something new. What if…
- Your wait time, including check-in, was under 10 minutes?
- Your phone calls were returned the day you made them?
- You had clear pricing for most of your medications at the time they were prescribed?
- You knew exactly how much all of your non-emergency medical care was going to cost you next year?
- You could see your doctor and not worry about surprise bills 4-6 months down the road?
- You could email, facetime with your doctor and send photos related to questions to your doctor?