What is Direct Primary Care?
A NEW, OLD WAY TO DO MEDICINE
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a fairly new practice model that hearkens back to the way medicine used to be. Instead of involving insurance companies for preventive and routine physician visits, a DPC practice bills patients directly via monthly membership fee, and in return, the patients become "members" of the office and enjoy enhanced access to their doctor and to medical care. By cutting out the very expensive middleman of insurance, the doctor can provide longer visit times, same or next day appointments, phone/video visits if practical and the patient has direct access to their doctor via phone, text, and email. DPC clinics limit the number of members in order to ensure that the physician has sufficient availability for members of the practice.
The monthly membership fee covers all face to face and virtual communications that you have with your doctor during the month (up to 15 contacts a month). If you happen to not have any visits or needs that month, you are still charged the monthly fee (similar to a gym membership).
Who would be interested in this type of practice?
DPC has something to offer almost anyone, but the model works especially well for:
1) Patients and families who are frustrated with the current care they receive: short, rushed appointments; difficulty getting in with their doctor; long wait times; difficulty contacting their doctor via phone or not receiving calls back, etc.
2) Patients who have high deductible or catastrophic insurance/high co-pays
3) Patients who don't qualify for Medicaid or CHP+ but can't afford private insurance
4) Patients who participate in health sharing ministries which often don’t cover well child care.
5) Families with inconsistent health benefits who want to keep the same provider no matter which insurance plan is being offered.