What is Direct Primary Care (DPC)?
DPC is a new model in which patients pay their primary care doctor directly, rather than through their insurance company. Practices offer the full range of services that you would expect from your primary care doctor’s office for a flat annual fee. Typically, these periodic payments provide patients enhanced services over traditional fee-for-service medicine. Such services may include real time access via advanced communication technology to their personal physician, extended visits, in some cases home-based medical visits, and highly personalized, coordinated, and comprehensive care administration. No additional visit charges. No insurance company involvement or influence. Essentially, it cuts out the middle man.
How does Direct Primary Care (DPC) differ from traditional primary care?
A focus of DPC is that the doctor’s income is no longer based on how often a patient is seen in the office and how many patients they see per day, as it is with the traditional “fee for service” model. Instead, the doctor is just paid to keep patients healthy! With less patient visits per day, the physician has more visit times available and also has more time to spend with patients including live visits, phone calls and/or email communication.
How is DPC different from Concierge practice?
DPC practices and Concierge practices both have annual fees. With DPC practices, the annual fee pays for the visits and care patients need throughout the year without additional, per-visit charges. Concierge practices have an annual retainer fee, and ALSO have visit charges.
DPC practices do not involve insurance companies by definition. The care is “direct” from doctor to patient, not involving a third party. Since Concierge practices have both annual fees AND office visit charges, they typically also involve insurance company relationships for these visit charges.
Why eliminate insurance payments?
In traditional fee for service practices, doctors spend up to half of their time on administrative tasks, completing insurance paperwork, phone calls with insurance companies, documentation to prove to insurance companies that the care they were trained to provide is “deemed appropriate” by the insurance company, etc. Eliminating this from the physician’s workload allows them to spend more time on what is important – taking care of their patients!
We believe that a patient chooses their provider because they trust and respect the opinions and recommendations of that provider. For this reason, it is unfortunate when an insurance provider instead tries to dictate what type of care THEY feel the patient should receive.
Do I still need insurance?
Yes. You will still need insurance for hospitalization, ER visits, surgeries or procedures, specialist visits, labs, X-rays or other radiology or any other medical services outside of our primary care office, if needed. Since most of your medical care can probably be managed through your primary care office, this might mean that a higher deductible, lower cost insurance plan might be a better option to go along with a DPC practice.
Benefits of DPC?
- Ease of getting an appointment with your physician at a time that is convenient for you, even with short notice.
- Increased time spent with physician in a non-rushed manner.
- Ease of contacting physician with options for email or telephone contact if needed to ensure primary care services can be accessed in a way that is most convenient for patients.
- Smaller practice size, so patient – physician relationship stronger and physician knowledge of their patients’ histories and issues more complete.
- No insurance involvement, so physician chooses plans of care that are appropriate for patients, not the insurance companies.
- Usually much shorter or no time in the waiting room.
- Emphasis on health and wellness rather than just sick care