Dr. Andrea Kaupas, owner of Coast 2 Coast Healthcare on the island, aspires to provide the type of care that many islanders have grown up with.
If you’re over a certain age, you’ll probably remember when your family doctor treated everyone in the family and even made house calls when needed. Then we entered an era inundated by a sea of specialists where it became difficult to determine which doctor to consult for which disease. But now there seems to be a resurgence of old-school doctors practicing modern medicine for the whole family.
“My goal is to provide better health care for the whole family,” said Dr. Kaupas, a board-certified family physician who opened his island office on Beachland Boulevard this summer. “It seems that the practice of medicine has become so specialized that there is very little time left for doctor and patient to establish a long-term relationship. I am committed to spending more quality time with every patient, addressing all patient concerns at every visit. As a board-certified family physician with over 10 years of experience, I am very happy to provide primary care for all ages.
I focus on preventive, acute and chronic care.
Coast 2 Coast Healthcare operates as a direct medical care provider that improves access to healthcare through simple and affordable membership fees based primarily on age, with younger people paying lower fees.
Under the arrangement, there is no fee-for-service or third-party billing. All office visits are covered by the membership fee. This model of medical practice allows patients to have access to their doctor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the doctor is accountable to the patient and not the insurance company.
“I found that being able to practice medicine as I wanted was not compatible with a corporate environment and I want to return to one-to-one relationships with my patients,” Dr. Kaupas explained. “I also want to be able to treat the whole family and not just focus on the geriatric or pediatric population. And I try to do everything I can to make it affordable for everyone.
Dr. Kaupas has developed a sliding scale fee structure based on age. For children from birth to 18, the fee is $50 per month; for ages 19 to 39, it’s $125 per month; for ages 40 to 64, it’s $175 a month; and for those over 65, it’s $250 a month. She also offers discounts for families of four or more and limits her membership so she can spend as much time as needed with each patient.
“Generally, a geriatric patient will require more attention than a child, so I wanted to structure the fee to reflect the time I will be spending with that patient,” Dr. Kaupas said.
“I try to do as much as possible in the office to avoid having to go to a specialist.
“Having worked in emergency care, I am proficient in laceration repair, minor dermatological procedures such as skin lesion excision/biopsy, cryotherapy, abscess drainage, cyst excisions, EKGs, casts and splints, earwax removal, colposcopy, joint aspiration and injections, etc.
These are made for my members at no additional cost.
Coast 2 Coast Healthcare also offers annual skin mapping with computer technology for members. This cutting-edge technology is highly effective in skin cancer detection as it takes an annual photo that covers 90% of the body and documents where suspicious moles and spots are. Then, the following year, a comparison can be made using the computer-generated photo in addition to visual examination, allowing the doctor to see changes in mole size, shape, and color.
To keep medical costs as affordable as possible, Dr. Kaupas offers discounts on lab work and medications. She has negotiated spot prices with local labs and will order drugs at her expense and pass the cost savings on to her patients.
Although Coast 2 Coast Healthcare does not have its own laboratory, it has the technology to perform urinalysis, rapid strep, RSV and acute care tests. Swabs and biopsies are collected at the office and sent to an outside lab for diagnosis. When the results come back, Dr. Kaupas discusses the results with his patient.
“Most of my practice focuses on preventative care because the healthier you are, the less long-term medical costs you will incur,” Dr. Kaupas explained. “Of course, I see my share of unforeseen injuries, like a child falling and cutting its head. I can stitch him up right here at the office without having to subject his family to the inconvenience and expense of an emergency room visit.
If an injury or illness is serious enough to land you in the hospital, Dr. Kaupas can consult with specialists and help coordinate your care. Helping her patients navigate the ins and outs of hospital care is paramount to her. “As a primary care physician, I know my patient better than their treating specialists. Sometimes it is confusing for the patient to understand prescribed procedures or medications and just trusting me to help them understand is comforting to them.
Sports, school and even DOT physical exams are included in the membership plan, but Coast 2 Coast will also provide these services for a small fee to non-members.
Dr. Kaupas completed her medical training at Kansas City of Medicine and Biosciences and her internship and residency at Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital. She joined a family practice group in Traverse City, Michigan, where she was associated in practice for 10 years. She and her family moved to Florida to open her own practice – Coast 2 Coast Healthcare. She is now accepting new members in her office located at 660 Beachland Blvd., Suite 202, Vero Beach. Call 772-268-9800 for a free consultation to see if his plan is right for you.