1) What is Direct Primary Care?
Direct primary care uses a membership model to deliver health care services directly to patients. Direct primary care (DPC) doctors don’t bill or use insurance. Rather, patients pay a monthly membership of $50 to $100 to receive primary care services directly from a board-certified family medicine physician or other primary care specialist.
2) Why are primary care doctors choosing direct primary care over fee-for-service medicine?
Fee-for-service medicine often comes with a lot of unnecessary stress - there are so many prior authorizations and billing headaches, and doctors have to see more and more patients in less and less time. Doctors feel like they are losing their autonomy in these fee-for-service or insurance-based health care delivery models. Direct primary care offers a great alternative health care model to the typical fee-for-service set up. In the DPC model, doctors have more autonomy and they are able to have more time with each patient.
3) How many patients do DPC doctors have in their panel?
Most DPC doctors have about 400 to 700 patients in their panel. This is in stark contrast to fee-for-service doctors who are mandated to see about 2,500 in their panel. I say mandate because fee-for-service doctors are often employed and they are told to see 25 to 30 patients each day, which translates to 18 to 20 minutes per patient visit.
4) How many patients do DPC doctors see each day?
Direct primary care doctors see about 5 to 10 patients each day. Typically, family physicians see 1% of their panel each day. DPC doctors have about 500 patients in their panel, so they see about 5 patients each day. This allows doctors in the DPC model to have about 1 hour with each patient.
5) What is the value for a community member who wants to sign up for a DPC practice?
People sign up for direct primary care practices because they can see their doctor when and for as much time as they need to. Doctors typically guarantee same-day or next-day appointments, which makes seeing the doctor convenient. People also choose DPC practices because they get clear communication with their doctor.
6) Can I still use my insurance?
Insurance can be used for outside services including referrals, imaging, prescriptions, etc. There are some exceptions (specific HMOs and Medicare Advantage Plans), with which alternatives can be discussed. As options, our office has a contract with Labcorp for significantly discounted labs. We are working with local imaging facilities to negotiate cash pay prices for common procedures as well.
Still have questions? Don't hesitate to call the office (912)303-7966 and schedule an in person or virtual consultation to have all of your questions answered in depth.