AAPS President: Direct Primary Care Practices Are Growing in Popularity
Direct primary care practices (DPC) are becoming increasingly popular with doctors and patients alike, the president of the Association of Ameri- can Physicians and Surgeons reports in the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
In the article, Dr. Albert Fisher provides a report about his experiences at a recent Direct Primary Care Summit he attended. Fisher says at the summit, “palpable energy filled the lecture hall.” Fisher says speakers at the event explained the reasons for the recent growth in DPC practices and why physicians and patients alike prefer the freedom DPC affords compared to the more traditional third-party health insurance payment model.
DPC practices charge a monthly membership fee to patients in return for a predetermined set of primary care services and office visits. Patients enrolled in DPC agreements are encouraged to also enroll in a catastrophic health insurance plan, which is relatively inexpensive and provides people with protection in the event a costly health service is needed, such as surgery.
‘Perfect Storm’ of Frustration
Dr. Lee Gross, president of the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation and founder of Epiphany Health Direct Primary Care in North Port, Florida, says DPC offers many advantages over the current insurance-based system.
“We are seeing a perfect storm of physicians that are frustrated with the current regulatory environment, which continues to put paperwork ahead of patients,” Gross said. “Patients are being priced out of the health insurance market and facing a larger personal financial responsibility for their health care.”
Gross says DPC practices can avoid bureaucratic red tape traditional primary care physicians and patients must deal with.
“DPC eliminates the tremendously expensive process of trying to get paid by third parties,” Gross said. “The most expensive part of practice overhead is in processing and collecting insurance claims. By eliminating this process, practices can now hire employees to provide patient care rather than insurance care.”
Patients Seeking Doctors
Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, says greater consumer choice will improve health care delivery.
“If patients have more choice in the kind of health care and health coverage they can receive, there is little doubt in my mind that patients will seek out services that provide genuine insurance against large medical bills,” Roy said. “That will lead to greater use of primary care services that allow doctors and patients to spend more time together, as they once did as a matter of course.”
A Cure for Obamacare
DPC can help remedy some of the many bad consequences of Obamacare, Roy says.
“Thanks to Obamacare’s dramatic expansion of the Medicaid program, tens of millions of Americans are trapped in a government-run program in which access to primary care is poor, leading to poor health outcomes,” Roy said. “One way to reform Medicaid, as I outline in my book How Medicaid Fails the Poor, is to consider replacing Medicaid with a combination of direct primary care and private insurance.”
The bottom line is there are many reasons DPC is becoming more attractive to consumers, Roy says.
“DPC is growing in popularity because the trend in traditional medicine is for shorter doctor visits—five minutes or less, on average—in which patients are unable to get the quality of care they deserve,” Roy said.
“Direct Primary Care Popular with Patients, Physicians, According
to the Journal of American
Physicians and Surgeons,” Globe News Wire, September 10, 2018: https://globenewswire.com/news- release/2018/09/10/1568739/0/en/ Direct-Primary-Care-Popular-with- Patients-and-Physicians-according-to- the-Journal-of-American-Physicians- and-Surgeons.html.