Direct Primary Care
Learn how innovative Direct Primary Care puts physicians and patients back in charge of healthcare decisions by removing insurance and other middlemen.
A new beginning
An innovative model of medical care is expanding across the country and it is changing the delivery of healthcare. It is called Direct Primary Care (DPC). DPC practices are redefining patient-centric, value-based medical care. While these adjectives are “buzz words” for insurance-based healthcare entities, there is a refreshing application of the same adjectives to personalized patient care delivered by DPC physicians who do not participate with insurers. DPC redefines and reapplies medical care for patients and physicians. A periodic medical service fee, such as a monthly subscription (think Netflix or Costco), pays for a comprehensive list of medical services. Patients get to “binge” on their healthcare! Specialists are jumping on-board too in which case the model is called direct care or direct medical care. Our country has not seen this kind of innovation in the healthcare arena for decades which makes this choice for patients and physicians a breath of fresh air.
The DPC model was born for many reasons; two of the needs are crucial. The first were the needs of patients, who found themselves in the middle of a severely broken, expensive, and inefficient healthcare system. DPC reacted and developed ways to improve access, attention, and affordability. The second need was the physicians’ desire to restore sanctity to the patient-physician relationship. Removing the roadblocks, such as administrative red tape of middlemen, helps patients and physicians meet each others’ needs for a better healthcare experience. Patients and doctors enjoy benefits from the DPC model; patients have more time with their doctor, experience affordable care while doctors spend more time with their patients, and provide improved access. This win-win scenario which preserves the patient-physician relationship results in improved health outcomes. DPC is a cost-effective option for patients’ basic primary care needs. Front-line primary care should never be cost-prohibitive for patients.
• DPC offices actually answer their phones! And if you leave a message during office hours, they get right back to you.
• Same day/next day appointment for acute issues, non-acute issues within a week.
• Unrestricted number of office visits.
• Unrestricted amounts of telemedicine-talk, video, text - these services are included with the periodic medical service fee.
• DPC patients have their doctor’s email address and cell phone number for direct access after regular office hours.
• Urgent Care and ER visits, hospitalizations, readmissions, specialty visits are reduced for DPC patients.
DPC physicians never want to tell their patients, “sorry we don’t have enough time to address all of your issues today [in your 7-10 minute visit]. You have to schedule another appointment to discuss some of those issues.”
This can be a waste of your time AND cost another co-pay while adding to deductible expenses. Patients are scheduled for prolonged appointments, averaging between 30-60 minutes (sometimes longer if needed).
DPC physicians coordinate care with specialists and help patients navigate the existing complicated and expensive medical system.
This is a word we don’t hear often when talking about health care in the US. But DPC is changing that - paradigm shift!
Prices are 100% transparent and always discussed with patients. Direct Care offices negotiate wholesale costs for laboratory testing, radiology services, and most offices dispense generic medications at near wholesale prices directly from the office to the patient.
Direct to consumer discounted pricing drives down the cost of ancillary medical services.
DPC leaves no one behind
Pre-existing conditions are not an issue with the vast majority of DPC patients unless their condition falls outside the physician’s scope of training. DPC compliments all insurance plans through either access, affordability, or attentiveness.
Health care received in a DPC practice benefits the well-insured (Medicare and Medicaid patients are paying out of pocket to be part of a DPC practice), the under-insured (high deductible patients love discounted cash prices), the uninsured (DPC helps navigate the system, often finding cash prices for medical services needed outside of primary care), health sharing plans, Short Term Limited Duration Plans, employer self-funded plans (DPC saves employers quite a bit of money), Association Health Plans, Indemnity Plans, etc.
There are no racial, socioeconomic, cultural, or religious barriers in DPC practices.
Telemedicine is a regular part of the workday for a DPC practice, so there was no major adjustment during the COVID-19 quarantine. There is no extra cost for telemedicine to patients of DPC practices - it is a value-add that is included with the periodic medical service fee!
The lack of onerous administrative layers and suits dictating how to practice medicine allows DPC offices to be flexible and adjust to all situations while following guidelines, especially the global emergency of a pandemic. DPC offices were able to triage, test, and treat COVID-19 patients and didn’t skip a beat when ensuring their patients’ non-COVID-19 acute and chronic health conditions received attention.
As the economy grapples with how it will respond and recover from the pandemic shutdown, independent DPCs are well-positioned to help individuals, families, employers, employees ensure they have access to primary care. Many companies may either be unable to afford health benefits for employees or will need to reduce health benefits.
Whichever the case may be, DPC will help to keep the costs low for the care their offices can provide to employees in these situations. DPC will be ready to do its part to help get our country’s economy strong again.
HSAs For All
Every single American should have access to the tax benefits of an HSA this ability should NOT be tied to certain health plans. Such continued policy is economically and financially detrimental. The uninsured should be able to make a tax-free contribution to a savings account for health care expenses.
Any regulatory or legislative policy that limits access to HSAs for people with HDHP, must be directly addressed, repaired, or dumped. This is not the time for restrictive federal policy from the Treasury or Congress, which would promulgate who can have an HSA account and who cannot.
If folks cannot make a tax-free payroll contribution to their HSA because they have Medicaid or Medicare, then pre-paid vouchers for a certain amount should be distributed to allow these beneficiaries to shop for their health care services, some of which could be with a DPC practice.
29 states have passed legislation or have some form of state guidance in support of consumers of DPC and protection for this free market model (as of now 7 more states have proposed legislation). There are 49 states with Direct Primary Care practices.
Since 2014, there has been an 800% rate of growth for DPC across the US.
DPC patients get an incredible amount of service for a fraction of the cost when billing insurance. Just add water…and watch it grow…affordably, accessibly, attentively for ALL patients.