Direct Primary Care

How Direct Primary Care Empowered Patients and Doctors Alike?

June 12, 2021

Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

We have all heard this age-old tale before: patients having no access to health care when they need it most, or worse, patients deliberately avoiding seeing their primary care physicians out of fear of having their medical bills pile up.

This is why primary care physicians like the Izbicki brothers, who previously came from community family practice, are now evangelists of more patient-centric, ethical membership models such as Direct Primary Care.

We were bitter, frustrated. We were in a failed profession. It was so bad that we had to take a risk. We knew that what patients want more than anything else is uninterrupted time with their primary care physician and building a level of confidence. They want relationship-centered care. says - Dr. Jon Izbicki

This new health care alternative is a direct response to the systemic issues of the insurance-based, fee-for-service model. So many primary care physicians for so long, felt like they were going head to head against a system that puts them and their patients last.

The traditional, fee-for-service health care model is notorious for influencing and overriding patient treatment, not necessarily for the patient's benefit. Imagine how burnt-out primary care physicians must feel, being constantly bypassed and not being able to do what they do best - looking after the well-being of their patients.

Third parties such as insurance companies and corporate hospitals, have been less like liaisons and more like obstructions regarding patients receiving the level of primary care they deserve.

As medical costs continue to soar while health care quality deteriorates, more and more Americans are left with little to no access to primary care – a dangerous position to be in, especially during a pandemic.

This is precisely why many medical professionals view Direct Primary Care (DPC) as a form of revolt. It is the only health care model that is brave enough to address the shortcomings and malicious methods of the traditional, insurance-based model.

Direct primary care physician

In Direct Primary Care practices, primary care physicians can extend their services at affordable rates in the most convenient ways possible – finally, a health care model gives them the freedom and creativity to focus on patient care.

Unlike the traditional, insurance-based model where doctors are compensated when they charge their patients more, Direct Primary Care rewards physicians for preemptive methods and successful treatment.

This makes it feasible for primary care physicians to tailor-fit the treatments they extend per patient, a far cry from the cookbook treatment – a one-recipe-fits-all type of approach – we have all grown accustomed to in the traditional, insurance-based model.

Direct Primary Care has also pushed innovative methods of practice, such as telemedicine, into public consciousness. Gone are the days where seeing your doctor meant paying them a visit at their clinic.

Patients get unlimited access to their primary care physician for as much as a couple of dinners out (Direct Primary Care subscriptions range from $30 to $70 per month). It's as if you have a doctor in the family. In addition, your Direct Primary Care physician is just one phone call or text message away for any medical advice you need.

While paying for a Direct Primary Care Subscription on top of an insurance plan inevitably raises some eyebrows, important data from DPC groups such as Iora Health reveal that the benefits of DPC subscription surely outweigh its cost.

[Direct Primary Care physicians] are not on the hamster wheel of getting paid based on the volume of work [they] do. Patient satisfaction goes up. Physician satisfaction goes up. Quality goes up, and cost goes down because [physicians] don't have to prove [what they do] to Uncle Sam or an insurance company. - Dr. John Meigs,former president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Data shows that patients who are subscribed to Direct Primary Care programs had 27% fewer ER visits, 60% fewer hospitalization instances, and cost their employers 20% less in comparison to non-DPC patients within the same area.

Besides, what patients spend on a monthly DPC subscription is still much less compared to the expenses they accumulate in traditional primary care – this includes copay fees, diagnostic tests, and other out-patient services, to name a few.

Having a DPC subscription allows patients to play down costs and interact with their insurance providers. Isn't that a comforting thought?

Because a DPC subscription already covers everything about primary/routine care, patients are now able to reduce their insurance plans to a more affordable, high-deductible one that covers hospitalization expenses and in-patient services only.

A Direct Primary Care subscription also entitles patients to discounted out-patient services and medication at wholesale cost, apart from unlimited clinic visits and 24/7 access to their primary care physician.

These perks are especially valuable for patients who have chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension. Your DPC physician will be most happy to check up on you regularly, run periodic screenings to gauge your progress, and even create a comprehensive health management plan based on factors such as your lifestyle and diet.

Seeing a primary care physician regularly does wonders for a patient's health – a fundamental idea stunted by the traditional, insurance-based health care model for a long time.

As of early 2020, there are reportedly 1,219 DPC practices in 48 states all over America. These numbers are expected to grow over time, and that comes as no surprise as more and more patients and physicians discover the benefits of Direct Primary Care.

If you want to see for yourself why 9 out of 10 DPC patients are happy with their healthcare, search for a DPC provider in your area and experience everything that Direct Primary Care has to offer.

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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