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What is Direct Primary Care?

Direct primary care (DPC) is an innovative model of healthcare delivery that provides greater access and more personalized primary care to patients in exchange for direct payments from patients on a monthly or yearly contract basis. In the DPC model, physicians are accountable first and foremost to their patients, instead of third-party payers and bureaucrats with their constantly-changing rules and regulations. Physicians can evaluate each patient’s needs and wants and practice medicine in the way that best benefits patients.

Membership fees are flat and affordable, and cover most services traditionally offered by primary care physicians. Additionally, patients have access to medications, labs, and imaging services at or near wholesale cost, thus generating additional and significant value for patients. The DPC model provides significant economic relief to patients. Research has shown a 65% decrease in emergency department visits; a 35% decrease in hospitalizations; and hospital readmission rate reductions of 97% for acute myocardial infarction, 95% for congestive heart failure, and 91% for pneumonia. Additionally, administrative cost savings allows for smaller patient panels and longer patient visits. Office visits in a DPC practice averaging 30-60 minutes in contrast to the current average of 7.7 minutes in traditional insurance-based primary care practices.

The economic benefits of DPC are compelling, but perhaps the greatest value of the DPC model is the restoration of an enduring and trusting relationship between a patient and their primary care physician. A smaller patient panel means patients have unparalleled access to their doctor -- same-day office visits; phone and video calls, such as via Skype or FaceTime; text messaging; and even emailing. This means more accessible, highly personalized care for patients.

A DPC membership coupled with a supplementary major medical policy meets the mandated coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Because these major medical policies often have a significantly lower monthly premium, employers and individuals can benefit from more accessible, quality healthcare at a lower out-of-pocket cost.