Direct Primary Care and Concierge Medicine

What is Direct Primary Care (DPC)?

September 21, 2020

Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

Introduction to Direct Primary Care

In the chaotic, exorbitantly expensive world of American health insurance, it seems that the surest way to achieve peace of mind is to not get sick and we all know that’s not sustainable, especially when Americans don’t even have access to high-quality preventive care despite having an insurance plan.

Health care in the United States is considered a big, lucrative business by third parties such as insurance companies and corporate hospitals, and it has come at the cost of many fundamental things, one of them being a patient’s optimum health and well-being. The irony!

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is quickly becoming an important contributor to the transformation of our nation’s health care system. - Dr. Erika Bliss, Washington Academy of Family Physicians

Direct Primary Care Statistics

The nation’s traditional, insurance-based health care system is looking a little worse for wear these days as more and more patients are breaking under the weight of health care’s heavy financial burden.

In 2018, the average American is reported to have spent $4,968 on health care – taking the top spot among 11 other high-income countries when it comes to health care spending based on GDP (Commonwealth).

A poll conducted by The New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that “roughly 20% of people under age 65 with health insurance nonetheless reported having problems paying their medical bills over the last year. By comparison, 53% of people without insurance said the same.”

These financial and medical struggles felt by patients reveal much about the shortcomings of the current health care system. In America, high health spending does not equate to positive health outcomes.

Studies show that those who are less likely to receive preventive care are more likely to end up in the ER with double the expenses incurred. For example, it’s more affordable to treat diabetes with maintenance medication than to treat a diabetic coma in the ER – go figure.

What’s even worse is that, according to data from the National Institute for Health Care Management, many of those who are considered high health care spenders do not even belong to the richer population of the country.

Instead, they tend to be the sickest patients who don’t really have much to spare outside of the assets they currently own. These are older individuals, typically 50 years old and up, who live with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Randy Farris, 58, a factory worker from Minnesota, had to go through a knee replacement a couple years ago. In an interview with The New York Times, he shares that his insurance covered 80% of his hospital bills, but he needed to cash in his individual retirement account to pay for the remaining 20%. “I haven’t been to the doctor since because I don’t want any more doctor bills.”

Direct Primary Care Criticism: The Direct Primary Care model offers the best healthcare benefits as a huge percentage of patients in America end up paying expensive medical fees in exchange of unsatisfactory healthcare services from their current providers.

The new Direct Primary Care practice cuts out all the intermediaries and nurtures a direct, genuine relationship between doctor and patient. For an affordable monthly subscription fee that can cost anywhere between $30-$300 per month, patients get 24/7 access to their general practice doctor via their personal line.

It’s true, your Direct Primary Care subscription does not replace your health insurance, but here’s a major perk you’ll be thrilled to hear: having a Direct Primary Care subscription covers everything with regard to routine and preventive care.

This means you get to reduce your insurance premiums to a more affordable one which covers hospitalization services, subspecialty, and surgical expenses only.

With a Direct Primary Care subscription, the chances of getting hospitalized are also much lower because you have a Direct Primary Care physician who is committed to disease prevention, early diagnosis, and overall comprehensive care management.

In this blog, we explore Direct Primary Care as an increasingly popular alternative to traditional primary care – what it is, how (pleasantly) different it is from the current system, what priceless benefits it offers to patients like you, and how affordable it actually is to avail of the health care you deserve.

Direct Primary Care

Why Switch to Direct Primary Care?

Before we dive into the specifics of Direct Primary Care, here’s an initial primer which can help you determine whether a Direct Primary Care subscription will do wonders for your health.

If you have personally experienced the following scenarios below, suffice to say that it’s time to give Direct Primary Care a shot.

  1. Being told what to do by your doctor then asking you to leave right after.
  2. Waiting in line longer than your actual appointment with your doctor.
  3. Having to deal with middlemen who respond very slow just to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
  4. Being passed from middleman to middleman just to complete your required tests etc.
  5. Having to deal with different doctors for different times because of their busy schedules.
Direct Primary Care Facts: One of the many perks of having a Direct Primary Care doctor is having 24/7 access to their personal line. This alone is a good enough reason to switch from the traditional fee-for-service model to Direct Primary Care.

How Does Direct Primary Care Work?

This brings us to what Direct Primary Care is and how it addresses these aforementioned pain points. First and foremost, Direct Primary Care restores the patient as the focus of health care – a refreshing alternative to the traditional, insurance-based system which does not have the patient’s best interests at heart.

All appointments and other related medical concerns are coursed between the Direct Primary Care physician and patient alone – no intervention from corporate hospitals and insurance companies and no third-party billing. You’ll be surprised how affordable health care can get without the middlemen.

In terms of cost, the Direct Primary Care model is virtually incomparable to the traditional, fee-for-service system we’ve come to know (and loathe). It may seem like having to pay for a subscription fee on top of your insurance premium is a bit too much, but the reality is actually the opposite.

Direct Primary Care subscriptions offer affordable payment options, transparent payment terms, and long-term savings.

Direct Primary Care Definition: Direct Primary Care is a patient-centered model. Having a Direct Primary Care subscription entails you to have direct access to your physician without middlemen a.k.a. insurance and corporate companies.

What are the Benefits of Having a Direct Primary Care Subscription?

If there’s anything you should take away from this blog, it’s the fact that Direct Primary Care puts you, the patient, as its first and only priority. Here’s a lowdown of all the invaluable benefits you get out of a Direct Primary Care subscription:

1. Your Direct Primary Care physician is like a trusted friend. You no longer have to wait in a long line just to see them. You get their full, undivided attention. You can also give them a ring or send them a text whenever you need any medical advice.

2. Direct Primary care physicians are a lot less stressed because they are no longer bogged down by overbooked appointments and unnecessary insurance billing paperwork. It’s proven – happier doctors means more satisfied patients.

3. Front desk calls, going straight to voice mail, and being put on hold are things of the past. You no longer have to endure tedious booking procedures to see your doctor because you have access to their personal mobile number.

4. Because Direct Primary Care physicians no longer work for an insurance company or a corporate hospital, you can expect that they have your best interests at heart. There is a layer of trust that comes with seeing a Direct Primary Care physician because you know that they have no other vested interest except your health and well-being.

5. The luxury of time is truly an important facet in health care. Because Direct Primary Care physicians are able to spend as much time with you as needed, you no longer have to worry about getting passed on from one physician to another. Direct Primary Care physicians play an active role in coordinating the continuity of your care seamlessly.

6. The Direct Primary Care model offers a slew of long-term financial benefits for patients like you. The value of your subscription fee truly offsets its cost. Your Direct Primary Care physician will formulate an affordable, personalized management plan for your health care needs.

DPC Membership: The main benefit of having a Direct Primary Care subscription is receiving immediate care from your doctor. Hence, fast recovery and prevention of possible illnesses.

What is the Medical Specialization of DPC Doctors?

As the name suggests, Direct Primary Care doctors provide Primary Care services. They are also known as your family doctor or General Practitioner. Doctors that are trained in Internal Medicine and Family Medicine residencies are well equipped to provide primary care services, and hence Direct Primary Care services.

Doctors with some other specializations such as Pediatrics and obstetrics-gynaecology occasionally advertise themselves as providing DPC.

They do this primarily to let their community know that their practice is not dealing with any insurance companies and that they are a monthly subscription fee-based model for unlimited health benefits. Always check if a Direct Primary Care doctor trained to provide primary care.

You Deserve a DPC Physician that Takes Care of You?

Better quality of life, top value for money, reduced morbidity and mortality rates, and most importantly, a tight-knit, genuine doctor-patient relationship grounded on trust – these are the many important things the new Direct Primary Care practice has achieved in such a short time.

It’s especially comforting to see a health care model restore what truly matters and that is patient-centered care. As of 2019, there are over 1,000 Direct Primary Care practices in 49 states that care for an estimated 500,000 patients and these numbers are expected to grow further in the years to come.

This is what FindMyDirectDoctor.com stands for. We take pride in improving the health and well-being of patients like you by doing well on two very important things:

  • First: Making the invaluable benefits of Direct Patient Care and Concierge Family Medicine doctors consistently available to you.
  • Second: Connecting you to a wide selection of Direct Patient Care and Concierge Medicine physicians who are just one phone call away.

Join the movement for better health care and find a Direct Primary Care physician at FindMyDirectDoctor.com

Authored by Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

Advocate of healthcare models that promote direct relationship between patients and doctors. Founder @ FindMyDirectDoctor, LLC.

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