You might notice that primary care physicians are becoming harder and harder to find—which is why so many people end up not getting access to the care they need. In most clinics, the time slot for a physician to see a patient is 15 minutes. Often, patients would end up not getting the time for a proper and thorough assessment because physicians are prevented by clinic management from spending more time with patients. Physicians are often required to see 10 to 15 patients a day in many clinics. Clinics create these requirements to get as much insurance reimbursement they can per day from a physician’s treatment of patients. It doesn’t leave much time to ponder over difficult-to-diagnose conditions.
The only way for physicians to take back the ability to make his or her own medical decisions is to bypass the organizations that interfere with diagnoses and treatments, clinic management, and insurances.
Physicians who practice direct primary care (DPC) do not take insurances. Instead, they charge a monthly subscription fee. You can get in to see a DPC physician easily and quickly, usually the same day. DPC physicians do not have to see 15 patients a day to survive. In fact, you may not even have to spend hours in the waiting room to see your physician. Primary care physicians who depend upon insurance payments to fund their clinics have to have about 3000 patients to survive. A DPC physician can work profitably with as few as 600 patients. The waiting room may be empty when you arrive for your appointment and your physician can spend an hour with you if needed. For that matter, if you cut yourself slicing tomatoes and need stitches, you can call your primary care physician (often available to you 24/7), meet at the office, and avoid an emergency room visit.
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is healthcare without the steep fees, without the involvement of insurance companies, and without the influence of greedy corporations. In short, you can call it the perfect solution to the disappearance of primary care physicians and the declining standard of care in America.
Direct Primary Care is a smart payment model that can easily solve all the worst parts of America’s current healthcare system. It presents a way for people to get better healthcare with an enhanced patient experience at a lower cost.
To help you grasp the ingenuity of DPC, let me make it a little simpler. You can liken the DPC system to how you pay monthly fees to have access to your favorite streaming sites. Just like how you subscribe to these entertainment services, you can also “subscribe” to your doctor.
A DPC plan also helps you budget your medical expenses. It offers more transparency because you only have to pay a flat rate that covers most primary care services. Lab fees may not be covered, but many DPC physicians only bill the patient what they need to have the test run. Some DPC physicians also offer common medical prescriptions at 10 percent above the cost to them. In addition, if you do need to be referred to a specialist, your DPC physician can send you to the specialist he or she thinks is best in the field, not the one he is required to refer to within the clinic network.
Insurance companies have fought DPC for a long time, insisting physicians were offering insurance with the monthly payments, and hence selling insurance without a license. In order for a physician to practice DPC, your state needs to pass a one-page law stating the payments to DPC physicians are not insurance payments.
In my opinion, DPC gives us a way to create meaningful healthcare reform, a practice model which didn’t exist when I wrote: “Modern Medicine: What You’re Dying to Know.” A DPC plan allows you to get a high-quality service that gives you the support you need. It offers excellent healthcare that emphasizes the need for a trusting relationship between a physician and a patient. In fact, it has already helped a quarter-million people stay healthier while spending less on healthcare.