What is Direct Primary Care?
Direct Primary Care, or DPC, departs from traditional insurance-based models of primary care and provides patients with more direct attention from their physician when they need it. As a Health Guardian, you can forge a relationship with a doctor that knows you. No more scheduling months in advance; your DPC doctor is at your fingertips. If you need an in-person visit, you can usually book one the very next day. Your doctor will stay on top of your health: running preventative tests, diagnosing you when you're sick, prescribing medicines (and often dispensing them to you directly at wholesale prices, no extra trip to the pharmacy!), negotiating low prices on blood tests and scans, quickly addressing any health concerns or questions you have, and—if necessary—coordinating your care with specialists and hospitals.
How is this possible? Direct Primary Care allows the Health Guardian to pay a physician directly, whether they have insurance or not. By working directly with you and cutting out the middleman, DPC Physicians can lower their costs while simultaneously improving access to care, providing more time for you, and decreasing waiting times. By cutting insurance out of the picture. Insurance is fundamentally incompatible with providing comprehensive, compassionate care. When a doctor bills your insurance, they are forced to submit an itemized list of each and every medical service they provided. If they don't, they won't get paid.
Appointments usually last up to an hour to allow you ample time to fully explain any health problems and receive the proper hands-on care you require. This ensures enough time for your Doctor to truly understand your problems and explain possible treatments. All office visits are covered under a monthly fee, usually include an annual wellness visit. The monthly membership also provides access to the Doctor through telemedicine and email, so they can answer any questions or discuss your immediate health concerns.
This is healthcare like you've never experienced it. It's like having a doctor in the family. Direct Primary Care (DPC) is an innovative alternative payment model improving access to high functioning healthcare with a simple, flat, affordable membership fee. No fee-for-service payments. No third-party billing. The defining element of DPC is an enduring and trusting relationship between a patient and his or her primary care provider. Patients have extraordinary access to a physician of their choice, often for as little as $70 per month, and physicians are accountable first and foremost their patients. In DPC, you pay a flat monthly membership fee, usually around the size of your cell phone bill. You can pay with your credit card—no more clipboards with pages of insurance paperwork. If it seems like everything is a subscription these days, that’s because it’s the best way for a business to offer a high-quality service and excellent support over a long period of time. What if Netflix nickel-and-dimed you for every episode of Stranger Things you watched? DPC is like Netflix: you get access to nearly unlimited care for one low monthly price.
Direct Primary Care guarantees you as a Health Guardian high-level access to the care you most likely to use on a regular basis, but you still need health insurance. It is important to understand that (according to most state laws) DPC payment arrangements are not health insurance. Patients who enter into services agreements with DPC physicians are purchasing access to a defined list of primary care services that all fall within the scope of practice normally delivered by family doctors. If you decide to become a member of a DRP practice, you will still need a major medical health insurance plan of some kind to cover specialty care, hospitalizations, surgeries, and any other expensive and unpredictable health needs. This is healthcare like you've never experienced it. It's like having a doctor in the family. A Direct Primary Care physician can take care of everyone, regardless of their insurance plans.
Quotes About DPC
“I believe in people being responsible for their own health. My role is to help people get to the goals they set for themselves and give good advice to help them get there.” Colin Irish, DO
“Direct Primary Care (DPC) is quickly becoming an important contributor to the transformation of our nation’s healthcare system.” ~ Dr. Erika Bliss, a Family Physician at Qliance Medical Group of WA and President/CEO of Qliance Medical Management Inc.
“We recognized back in 2000 that health care was moving from personal to a more institutionalized form, and it wasn’t what we wanted to do,” said Dr. John Blanchard of Premier Private Physicians, a concierge medicine practice with offices in Troy and Clarkston. “We felt we needed to have time with our patients, to have the excellence to have the time with patients. Health care has been cutting reimbursement to doctors, which has forced doctors to see more patients, so the time doctors have with their patients have declined. The average time today with patients for most doctors is only 10 minutes.”
“Concierge medicine is, at its most basic, a return to the age when doctors made house calls and were paid directly by the patients they treated.” ~Paul Sisson, UT San Diego
“Direct Primary Care (DPC) is not insurance, does not strive to replace health insurance, nor is it adversarial to it. On the contrary, many DPC practices are eager to work with insurance carriers to co-create blended plans which integrate DPC with high-deductible insurance and ultimately correct the perverse incentives which are rife in the traditional fee-for-service system.” ~Dr. David Z. Tusek, Nextera Healthcare, Colorado
“Doctors carrying a medical bag and coming into a patient’s home was standard into the late 1960s. Look at The Andy Griffith Show. That’s what our grandparents did. Medicine became government regulated and that started to end. It came in for a reason — there did need to be some amount of administration. But now regulation and administrative tasks have frustrated doctors. Be intentional with your excellence, don’t be normal. ” ~Michael Tetreault, Editor, Author, Speaker, Concierge Medicine Today
“There was a time when patients valued their family doctor, trusted our opinion and called us after hours to help decide if symptoms needed urgent attention or could wait,” says Dr. Ellie Campbell of Campbell Family Medicine in Cumming, GA in an interview with Concierge Medicine Today. “Our phone trees, answering services, and after hours call-sharing doctors make it unlikely that any given patient will actually speak to their own doctor. So, they don’t bother, and they seek care wherever it is most convenient.”
Links to More DPC Information
Direct Primary Care Coalition: https://www.dpcare.org/
Find a Direct Primary Care Professional in Your Area: https://dpcnation.org/
DPC Frontier: https://www.dpcfrontier.com/
This map displays the locations of 1581 direct primary care (DPC) practices across 48 States: https://mapper.dpcfrontier.com/