Direct Primary Care (DPC)
A new kind of doctor’s office charges a monthly fee and doesn’t take insurance and it could be the future of medicine.
Direct Primary Care (DPC), a less expensive offshoot of concierge medicine, which traditionally has been reserved for higher-income patients who pay thousands of dollars per year for longer appointments, better access and more personal care with their doctors. (But in addition to memberships, some concierge practitioners accept insurance; direct primary care doctors don’t accept any insurance.) To describe how coverage functions under direct primary care, doctors use the example of car insurance: You don’t use your car insurance for small transactions like oil changes, but it’s there for you if you get in a car accident. Likewise, health-insurance plans especially those with high deductibles can be there if you require healthcare beyond primary care. For those who have insurance, the choice to pay for both makes financial sense, even if they can’t use it at their doctor’s office.
An estimated 5,000 doctors, and over 900,000 patients in 48 states have already adopted this model and the number is growing daily. As the name implies, most are primary care physicians (sometimes known as general practitioners), the frontline caregivers who handle an estimated 85 percent of the most common conditions. Chase, who runs a software company that makes electronic forms for doctors and patients, predicts that 16 percent of primary care physicians will adopt a no-insurance model in coming years, with expected growth among cardiologists, pediatricians, and more outpatient surgery centers.
Better care for patients?
Without insurance mandates, doctors treat patients as they deem fit. The Nutrisolutions membership model provides a steady income, allowing doctors to see fewer patients each day and therefore freeing the doctors to spend more time with each. NutriSolutions direct primary care practices will average 650 patients; comparable insurance dependent practice averages 2,500 – 4,000 patients.
Are you fed up with?
Waiting weeks for a medical appointment?
Then getting only a few precious minutes with your doctor.
The unnecessary tests and referrals to a specialist? Insurance hassles, red tape?
Then Nutrisolutions Direct Primary Care may be a solution for you and your family.
Doctors are also fed up, and a growing number are refusing to accept their patients’ medical insurance. Instead, doctors are running their practices on a “membership” model that allows them to spend more time with their patients and to provide better care.
How does direct primary care work?
Patients pay a monthly membership fee which typically $50 – $125, which is dependent on the age of the patients and the location of the Doctor’s office. In exchange, they get a more generous allocation of appointments, sometimes for the same day or the day after they called. Appointments last longer than the average seven minutes per insurance based visit. NutriSolutions appointments average 45 minutes. Doctors are often accessible via the phone, email or Internet chat and some even make house calls.
Why is this happening?
Physicians and researchers cite two reasons, but all relate to one thing: insurance hassles.
Under the traditional system, most medical practices need a large staff to ensure that they are reimbursed by health insurers. This results in higher overhead which eats up to 60 percent of a typical practice’s revenue and forces doctors to see more patients in order to cover costs. At the same time, some insurance reimbursements to physicians have decreased in recent years. “Most estimates show that a medical practice spends 30 percent or more of its time and money just trying to collect payments from insurance companies, and when we’re taking notes about patient visits or care, it’s mostly about checking off boxes to satisfy insurance requirements.”
To get reimbursed, insurers may dictate how doctors must treat each patient based on their concern. “Sometimes, in order to get paid and meet the insurance metrics model all a doctor can do is order a test, refer the patient to a specialist or prescribe medication,” says researcher Dave Chase. “Communication with patients is their most valuable tool, but they know that if they get into detailed discussions, it blows their productivity numbers.”
What are the patient’s pros and cons?
The most cited advantages
More and better quality time with doctors and no insurance red tape, on either end. For years, my care was impersonal, inconvenient, and now, I see my doctor when I want, for as long as I want, and we both can be as efficient as possible as we take care of my health.
Better Health Outcomes
Patients achieve superior health outcomes with Direct Primary Care’s innovative service delivery. DPCs provide better access to physicians, empower an authentic therapeutic relationship, and comprehensive patient care.
Patients receive unrestrictive access to their healthcare provider, report little to no wait time, and longer appointments (in person, virtually, or phone). In turn, creating a real therapeutic relationship between patient and provider.
Affordable, transparent costs based on a periodic overall flat rate (e.g. membership or subscription). Patients pay for their care directly to the physician. No third parties or Fee for Service billing (“FFS”) to inflate costs. Most DPC memberships/subscriptions cost less than the average cell phone bill.
Patients have extraordinary access to a physician of their choice, often for as little as $25 -$100 per month and physicians are accountable first and foremost their patients. DPC is embraced by health policymakers on the left and right and creates happy patients and happy doctors all over the country!
Patients are urged to have additional coverage for large curative treatments (e.g. Hospitalization, Surgeries, ER Visits, MRI’s). NutriSolution has partnered with Sedera Health to solve this shortfall.