What is direct primary care?
What kind of services are provided at sparkMD?
Please click here for a list of services provided. If there is not something listed that is meaningful to you, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (208) 369-4590 and we can answer you directly.
What is NOT available at sparkMD?
The doctors 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, DOT physicals and we are not the admitting doctor when our patients need hospitalized.
Do Dr. Gunther or Dr. Potter take care of their patients in the hospital?
Our doctors will often visit their patients when they are in the hospital. Please call us if you desire this! Dr. Gunther or Dr. Potter will discuss your care and provide any needed charts or records with the hospitalist doctor to facilitate the best possible care. Upon discharge they 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. Both Dr. Gunther and Dr. Potter are 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 physicians. 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 true 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. It’s not only a good idea; it’s the law. These events are extremely expensive and there’s no way around it. Patients who need regular subspecialty 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. Senate Bill 1989, presently in the works, 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?
There is a technicality in IRS law that isn’t clear whether HSAs can be used to pay for direct primary care fees. Present legislation (SB 1989) seeks to clarify this and is in process. Dr. Gunther is working with the Direct Primary Care Coalition on this matter. For now, you can use your HSA for billed labs, imaging or medication fees at sparkMD.
Where are you located?
Downtown Boise. Here’s a map.
Do you have parking?
Yes. Behind our building (turn in off 3rd street) and on 3rd street and Idaho street (no meters).
Do you do immunizations?
Flu shots are free to our members. We also have tetanus and tdap 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.
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…
- You called your doctor and a real person answered the phone?
- 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 text your doctor, facetime with your doctor, send photos related to questions to your doctor?