Everybody is talking about affordable health care, transparency in pricing, knowing what the procedure is going to cost BEFORE having it done. But does that even exist? In our current world of government required health insurance, insurance company networks, exorbitant prices for pharmaceuticals and having to wait three weeks to even be seen is there anything we can do about it?
Enter Direct Primary Care. Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a new way (actually it’s the old way) of Doctors practicing medicine based on the needs of their patients, not the requirements of their patient’s insurance company. DPC clinics do not accept insurance. Patients become members and pay a monthly membership fee based on their age and the number of people in their family.
Doctors who practice this way are all board-certified physicians who wanted out of the rat race of traditional medicine. When a person decides to go medical school usually it is because they want to help people. It is not because they love running behind, always being rushed and they love paperwork! DPC doctors understand that their patients need more than 7 minutes of their time and they can spend the time with them because they don’t have to complete mountains of paperwork just to get paid. Doctors are much less likely to burn out, have more time for family, and a better work-life balance.
In a nutshell, direct primary care is the straightforward relationship between you and your doctor, just like how it used to be. In the old days, it was the town doctor that treated everyone for everything from a sore throat to managing life-threatening situations. That is what DPC strives to do. Re-create the relationship between the patient and their doctor. Direct Primary Care physicians can satisfy the majority of health concerns right in their office, eliminating the cost and hassle of seeing a specialist. DPC doctors have aligned themselves with some of the best cardiologists, oncologists, etc. so that when you need a specialist, they will help facilitate those appointments.
Included in the monthly membership fee are:
- Unlimited office visits with no co-pays
- stitches, mole removal, biopsies, EKG, and more
- Annual wellness visits and physicals
- Guaranteed same day office visits
- Reduced wait time
- Ability to call, text, and email your doctor 24 hours/7 days a week
- House calls (an extra fee may apply)
- Access to discounted labs, imaging, and generic medications
- Typically practice sizes are limited to around 500 patients, instead of 5000 patients required in the traditional setting.
If you join a DPC practice that does not mean that you don’t need health insurance. Just because your DPC doctor may be able to manage your Chron’s disease, the medications needed are still expensive. Also, not having health insurance leaves you at risk in the event of a hospitalization, emergency, or terminal diagnosis. When my clients enroll at a DPC clinic, I like to talk with them and explore options to reduce the insurance burden but still make sure they are covered in the event of a catastrophic event. There are many options for alternative insurance plans available now, call us, and we can discuss your specific situation.