Part 2 in a series
As I mentioned in the first part of this series, my venture into direct primary care (DPC) has cost me more than I ever anticipated, but I have been rewarded many times over in terms of satisfaction, contentment and relationships.
The direct primary care model of healthcare delivery is based on the concept of a primary care provider being reimbursed directly by his/her patients for the health care services he/she provides. It seems obvious that an individual should pay for their own healthcare with their own money, just like they pay for most every other service or product they use, but that’s not how things work for the most part in our country when it comes to paying a doctor.
Which brings me to my number two reason for loving direct primary care…
VALUE: Ta da!
Because of the lower overhead associated with direct primary care, physicians can offer the same great (usually, better) services and care to their patients, but with much less expense. The reason for the reduced expenses is multifactorial, but not complicated.
For instance, most direct primary care physicians are able to practice with only one employee per provider. Typical family physician practices with which I have been associated in the past required at least two to four employees per provider. DPC physicians do not have to deal with all the regulatory requirements of third party payers (insurers, Medicaid, Medicare), claim rejections, prior authorizations, account receivables or insurance verifications in order to be compensated.
DPC physicians can work out of much smaller facilities and rarely require more than one exam room per provider. This reduces the facility costs in terms of rent, utilities and cleaning.
DPC physicians can choose their own electronic health record (EHR) and have a natural predisposition to choose ones that provide significantly more value and efficiencies than EHRs purchased for them by hospitals, community health centers or other large physician multispecialty groups. Superb EHRs designed with membership management and billing features included can be had for <$500/mo/provider.
Better utilization of new and emerging technologies allow DPC providers to offer better value to their patients in terms of service as well. Near immediate relaying of results, texting, emailing and secure portal messaging are services for which almost all patients long, yet are almost unheard of in traditional practices. On site medication dispensing and rock-bottom laboratory/diagnostic pricing are common features in many DPC practices.
I am convinced that if you want the best value for your primary healthcare dollar, you will need to head to the nearest DPC provider in your region.
It’s all about VALUE
So why do you love DPC?