Direct Primary Care and Concierge Medicine

Family Care Physicians Revolutionizing Patient Care in the US

September 22, 2020

Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

How are Family Care Physicians Revolutionizing Patient Care in the US?

Health care in the United States has created a web of unnecessary billing systems and redundant personnel in order to ensure that everyone gets a cut. You’ll be surprised how low health care prices can get (and at much better quality, mind you) when you cut out everyone else except family care physicians and their patients.

The bad news is that our health care system does not provide any added values that come along with paying more. ― Kat Lahr, What the U.S. Healthcare System Doesn't Want You to Know, Why, and How You Can Do Something About It

Introduction | What has Gone Wrong in the Traditional Family Medical Clinic?

America’s increasingly complicated health care system has been a major headache for decades. Insured or not, it’s been dreadful navigating the intricacies of our current health care system – and the fact that services cost so steep is definitely not helping either.

Per Investopedia, “Because of the complexity of the system and the lack of any set prices for medical services, providers are free to charge what the market will bear.”

These providers are a chaotic mess of insurance companies or corporate hospitals who have monopolized the system, leaving both family care physicians and patients the shorter end of the stick. More importantly, this monopoly has come at a great cost: the loss of genuine, first-class patient care.

The Revolution Family Care Physicians Need

In a 2020 analysis conducted by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the United States spends about $940 per person on administrative costs. That’s almost double than what is spent on preventive or long-term health care at $516.

Moreover, the recorded disparity between the rise of administrative health care jobs and of family care physicians who accomplish their family medicine residency is worrying. From 1997 up to 2016, there has been a 63% growth in administrative jobs in health care whereas the rise of family care physicians who have completed their family medicine residency is only at 37%.

A physician writes, “[The chart] outlines the growth of administrators in health care compared to physicians over the last forty years. And, it includes an overlay of America’s healthcare spending over that same time.

You see, when you have that much administration, what you really have is a bunch of meetings. Lots of folks carrying their coffee from place to place.

They are meeting about more policies, more protocols to satisfy government-created nonsense. But, this type of thing in health care isn’t fixing things. It’s not moving the needle.”

Family Care Physicians

With profit as its top priority, our current health care system has lost patient well-being as its core, and this frustrates family care physicians more than you can ever imagine. An average doctor’s visit lasts approximately 12 minutes in a traditional family medical clinic.

While this predictably results to patient dissatisfaction, what may come as a surprise is that these rushed, impersonal visits take a massive emotional toll on family care physicians.

Surveys show that 40% of traditional family medicine specialists say they plan to leave the profession while 49% of family care physicians say they wouldn’t recommend a family medicine residency to their children.

This is where the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine model comes to play. This new and improved health care model allows family care physicians to take what they have learned from their family medicine residency and develop a practice based on their own terms.

The Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine model takes out all middlemen from the equation and leaves a more direct, personal relationship between family care physicians and their patients. It provides high-quality, comprehensive patient care for an affordable monthly subscription fee.

This grants family medicine specialists the privilege to streamline the amount of patients they see so that they get to spend enough time with each patient.

Put simply, DPC offers access to family medicine specialists who care for you and are there for you when you need them. Even though you’ll still need insurance for hospitalization and other in-patient expenses, you get to switch to a high-deductible insurance plan that costs less per month.

Because your DPC subscription already covers everything else with regard to routine care – unlimited family medical clinic visits that are free of co-pay fees, heavily discounted out-patient services and medication, and so much more.

Direct patient care personalizes patients and their family care physicians relationship.

Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine is the revolution America’s health care system needs. It restores a meaningful, personalized relationship between patients and their family care physicians.

A crucial detail that sets the DPC practice apart from its traditional, insurance-based counterpart is that patients have direct, unrestricted access to their family care physicians. This means there are no difficult third parties to intercede, no outrageous costs – just simple, straight forward patient care.

According to DPC Nation’s definition, family care physicians under the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine practice are able to provide the following benefits in exchange for a monthly subscription that costs only as much as a couple of dinners out:

  • Treating common problems such as colds, flu, rashes,  wounds, and the like
  • Keeping you updated with routine check-ups such as colonoscopies, pap smears, and other preventive screening procedures
  • Dealing with chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressures, stroke, heart failure, kidney problems etc. and creating long-term, personalized management plans to address your lifestyle needs
  • Performing minor procedures such as injections, stitches, or sometimes even simple cosmetic procedures
  • Coordinating any form of specialist care you need. This entails referring you to specialists for complex medical issues that may arise. Family care physicians in the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine practice work closely with these specialists; they do not just pass you on to them.
  • In addition, you get these specialized services at affordable rates because DPC/Concierge Family Medicine specialists normally have a network of specialists at their disposal.
  • Providing a yearly  full-body physical check-up for a comprehensive assessment on your overall health

These aforementioned health benefits, which used to be such an ordeal with the traditional health care model, are now made easy (and more affordable) by the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine practice, as it should be.

This is why even though you will still have to retain an insurance plan to cover catastrophic health expenses, the long-term savings offered by the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine truly outweigh the cost.

Most DPC/Concierge Family Medicine specialists also offer heavily discounted rates (up to 95% discounted) for lab procedures and other in-patient services as well as medication at wholesale cost.

Family Care Physicians in DPC or Concierge Practice vs. Traditional Health Care

Identifying Patient Pain Points in the Traditional Insurance based “Fee-for-Service” Health Care Model

Refer back to any important revolutions in history and you will notice a pattern: an uprising is triggered by an incompetence or injustice within the present system.

The same rings true for the birth of the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine practice. These negative experiences felt by patients whenever they visit their local family medical clinic have inspired family care physicians to reinvent and restore first-class patient care using the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine practice.

1. Patients are just another number waiting to be called at their family medical clinic’s office.

In the traditional health care setting, trips to see family care physicians are a pain as you normally have to book weeks in advance and have to deal with excruciating booking procedures, going straight to voice mail, or being put on hold.

Once you arrive at your local family medical clinic, you will have to wait two hours for your turn to go through a rushed, impersonal appointment with your doctor. If you have follow-up questions, there is no other way but to schedule another visit and do it all over again.

2. Patients are forced to spend their hard-earned money on despicable health care costs.

While corporate hospitals and insurance companies continue to make more and more money, it’s family care physicians and their patients who take the financial blow. Insurance premiums get higher and higher each year and some plans even charge you a “co-pay fee” for every medical service you avail of. Corporate hospitals are also notorious for overcharging.

Case in point, a fair market price for a knee replacement is approximately $30k and corporate hospitals are known to bill insurance companies for over $100k. Ouch. Did you ever wonder why? It is about time to start asking these questions.

3. Patients are made to endure below-average health care services.

Traditional family care physicians are overbooked, treated unfairly, and pressured to act on the best interests of these so-called middlemen and not their patients’ well-being.

Family care physicians are indirectly pressed / incentivized to prescribe more medications than needed, to request for more tests, and to bill more services even when it may not always be necessary. This naturally results to a strained doctor-patient relationship with little to no trust.

The Benefits of Being Under the Care of Family Care Physicians

With the rise of the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine set-up, family care physicians are now able to bid farewell to the current health care system and endorse a family medicine practice they can be proud of.

1. Less appointments equal to more time spent with each patient

For Dr. Rob Lamberts, MD, being a part of a traditional family medicine clinic meant having his schedule overbooked with 25-30 patients a day. He shares, “I spent 15 minutes on average with each patient, and typically ran between 30 and 90 minutes late by the end of the day.

Much of my time was devoted to charting and coding properly for pay, so my patients received only a small amount of attention from me.  [I never had] enough time to take care of them.”

In contrast, once family care physicians such as Dr. Lamberts, switched to the DPC/Concierge Family Medicine practice, they see about six to ten patients a day, with 30-40 minutes allotted for each patient. “A large percentage of the face-to-face time is devoted to actual care.

My waiting room is usually empty, and my average wait time is still under 10 minutes. The obvious advantage to this is better care. There simply is more time to think about things, to listen to patients, and to educate them.”

2. Family medicine specialists are able to restore their patient advocacy

When they’re not weighed down by paperwork and overbooked appointments, family care physicians regain their passion for their family medicine residency. It’s true, happier doctors are equivalent to more satisfied patients.

Per Dr. Lamberts, “Changing to DPC has not only rescued me from the despair of unreasonable demand, but it has restored that initial love for my family medicine residency. I get to do what I became a doctor to do: take care of people.”

3. Family care physicians are able to preserve what truly matters: a sincere, specialized doctor-patient relationship

The DPC/Concierge Family Medicine practice allows family medicine specialists to stay true to their label: they make sure that patients are treated like family. As a DPC patient, family care physicians are there for you when you need them, constantly striving to keep you in the best shape.

A post-discharge survey called A Case for Compassion reveals what matters to patients the most. 120 out of 185 unsolicited positive compliments are about a family care physician’s “compassion, kindness, and empathy” while only 4 discussed “clinical competence”.

Why Choosing Family Care Physicians is the Best Decision a Patient Can Make?

If there’s one thing you should remember about making the switch, it’s that you deserve a family medicine doctor who takes care of you in the best ways imaginable.

Unlimited office visits, unrestricted access to their direct line, same-day appointments, heavily discounted out-patient services and medication, and empathetic, meticulous patient care – these are unique, invaluable benefits only family care physicians in the Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine are able to bring to the table.

No wonder this new and improved health care model has grown in such a short time. As of writing, there are over 1,000 DPC practices in 48 states across America. It is because of this positive response from both family care physicians and patients that experts believe these DPC numbers will continue to grow in the years to come.

At FindMyDirectDoctor.com, we connect you to a wide selection of Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine physicians who are the best at what they do: caring for patients like you. Join the movement for better health care and see a Direct Primary Care/Concierge Family Medicine physician in your area today.

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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