Direct Primary Care and Family Medicine
What is Direct Primary Care?
Simply defined, it’s a medical payment model where the patient pays the physician a membership fee to be a part of the physician’s practice. This is not a new concept—it’s actually how doctors practiced medicine before insurance companies began to play such a huge role in our healthcare system.
The purpose of health insurance in our society is to protect patients from the crushing debt that can come with unexpected, emergency medical care (just like car, home, or life insurance). What has happened in the years since its creation is quite the opposite: people pay for insurance and still are not able to afford their medical expenses.
This change is due, in part, to the idea that all healthcare is expensive, so insurance should not just cover emergencies but rather cover everything—from surgeries and procedures to lab work and checkups. Instead of serving its purpose as emergency protection, it has become a payment system. And the sad irony is, because we use insurance to pay for everything, premiums have increased so much that many Americans are unable to afford them.
How do we fix this dependence on health insurance? That’s where DPC practices come in. Primary care is not expensive—once you remove the middleman.
Most DPC physicians do not bill or accept payment from insurance companies. The membership fee typically covers most of the services the physician may provide in the office, including treatments that would be billed separately under the insurance model.
Tests like EKGs, spirometry, urinalysis, and pregnancy tests, for example, are included in the membership.
Procedures such as joint injections, sutures, and skin lesion removal are also included in the membership. There are usually only additional charges if a sample is sent to the lab or pathology for processing.
Tests or treatments done by specialists or the hospital are not covered in the membership fees. For this reason, DPC physicians continue to recommend some form of catastrophic or high-deductible health insurance coverage for those unplanned events.
Why Direct Primary Care?
DPC offers patients some great advantages, like a real relationship with their doctor. DPC physicians limit the number of patients their practice accepts, allowing them to spend more time with each patient and provide high-quality care.
DPC patients also receive transparent pricing: there aren’t copays or billing since most services are included in the monthly membership. When a patient does have to receive specialized care or procedures, their DPC doctor works as their advocate, helping them navigate the complicated healthcare system.
DPC physicians are easy to access; they answer emails and phone calls, and have regular office hours, often accommodating same-day visits. This access results in better health outcomes and fewer urgent care and emergency room visits.
A personal relationship between your physician and your family can change your life. It can even save you money by reducing your monthly insurance premium to cover only catastrophic needs. Join us today!