What is Direct Primary Care?
As healthcare in America has become more corporatized, physicians have suffered an incredible burden. They have more administrative work and less time dedicated to patients. Many family physicians have to see 40 patients a day in order to make enough money to keep their clinic doors open. Their administrative burden has lead to days without eating lunch and nights and weekends filled with charting on the electronic medical record and writing appeal letters to insurance companies.
This has lead to physician burnout and decreased patient satisfaction. Doctors are unhappy and patient’s feel like their doctor is rushed and doesn’t spend enough time with them. There is a lack of trust, and the doctor-patient relationship has been damaged.
In the last few years, there has been a trend in primary care to restore the doctor-patient relationship, thus emerging a concept called Direct Primary Care (DPC).
DPC refocuses the physician's attention, time and effort to patient care, and in the process improves health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs.
Direct Primary Care (DPC) has helped physicians by :
Allowing for more time with patients
Simplifying revenue structure
Decreasing practice overhead
Reducing administrative burden
DPC allows family physicians to care for the whole person while reducing their overhead and provides a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing.
So how does the doctor get paid?
Typically patients are charged a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee. This fee covers all or most primary care services, including clinical and laboratory services, consultative services, care coordination, and comprehensive care management. Direct Primary Care doctors do not accept insurance or participate in any government programs. They solely rely on patient fees which can be paid by the patients themselves or even the patient’s employer.
With this model, the physicians are happier and are less likely to burn out, retire, or leave medicine!
Patients also benefit! They have more time with their doctor during visits even when their appointments run long, more access to appointments, and highly personalized comprehensive care. They also have substantial savings on healthcare. There are no copays, no doctor visit fees...everything is included in the price PLUS the doctor-patient relationship is restored.
Is Direct Primary Care concierge medicine? No. Concierge medicine practices cater to higher income populations and typically have an annual patient membership contracts that have higher fees.They accept insurance, government programs, and continue to bill the patient’s insurance company for covered services, in addition to the membership fee.
While DPC is not for everyone, it is certainly a great option for patients who want a more personalized doctor-patient relationship and need more comprehensive care and focus.
MediBookr can help you find a Direct Primary Care physician and help you book appointments. Log in to MediBookr.com to find your DPC provider today!
-Dr. Ronnie Shalev is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician and is the Chief Medical Officer of MediBookr