What is Direct Primary Care?
Welcome to our blog! Our goal for this platform is to educate and inspire you.
One thing that we are asked regularly is - “so, you’re called Health Matters Direct Primary Care - but what IS direct primary care?”
Excellent primary care does not need to be expensive. Direct Primary Care, or DPC, is a subscription-based model of obtaining health care based on this premise. For a reasonable monthly fee, you get the vast majority of your care - most estimates are that a DPC doctor can cover about 80-90% of your health care needs.
This says it well: “DPC is about focusing our attention, time, and effort on caring for our patients - directly, without oversight from nonmedical administrators, using evidence-based guidelines individualized for the circumstances of each patient.” *
Because we don’t work with insurance, we can have a smaller panel of patients, and more time to actually be doctors. The shortest appointment we currently offer is 30 minutes, and this allows us to take care of more concerns without needing to refer you to a specialist. In the event that we are unable to address all your concerns in one appointment, we can see you again in the near future! Most DPC practices do not set a limit on the number of appointments you can have.
Easier and Better Access
Most DPC practices also allow patients to call, text, or email with questions, depending on their concern. We allow for self-scheduling of appointments. We want to keep you out of the urgent care or emergency department, so we have same-day and next-day appointments available - all with YOUR DOCTOR, not a stranger filling in for them. And if for some reason you can’t find an appointment - call!
Speaking of which, we actually LIKE to hear from our patients! Recently, a patient sent a text along with a picture of a rash on his leg. He was in another city several hours away. We had discussed this skin problem a couple weeks earlier, and I had provided recommendations - but it wasn’t getting better. So after a few texts, I was able to send a prescription to a pharmacy nearby, and he was able to get some improvement, with the plan for him to follow-up if symptoms were not improving.
Financially Transparent and Responsible
We aim to be financially transparent. You will not see any copays or procedure fees, and you won’t see any surprise or hidden fees. We will let you know how much things will cost before we do anything, with the goal of saving you money. For instance, say you have knee arthritis and need a steroid injection. If you go to a specialist, this can cost hundreds of dollars! We provide the procedure for free but ask you to help pay for the steroid - which currently costs about $7.
We also get significant discounts on labs, and we draw labs in the office to save you time and money! As another example, currently a standard set of annual labs costs about $15. This includes a hemoglobin A1c (3 month average blood sugar evaluation), cholesterol test, thyroid test, and kidney/liver testing.
But I Have Insurance!
Now everyone asks “but what about my insurance?” Good! Everyone needs health insurance! However, it’s about what you insure. If you are happy with your current insurance cost and service, don’t sweat it! We can easily add on to your current situation. However, some patients can save money by using a high-deductible health care plan to cover the unlikely event they are hospitalized or require emergency treatment, and pairing it with a DPC membership. This can get you the best of both worlds - excellent care and lower cost. Of course this all depends on your specific situation however, so you should discuss this with your doctor and your benefits manager before making drastic changes.
If you want to use your insurance for labs, medications and imaging, that’s not a problem. However, don’t be surprised if it’s cheaper to pay cash. You can still use your insurance to see specialists, and you should obviously use it if for some reason you need to be admitted to the hospital.
If you would like to learn more, and see how this could fit into your current health care situation, we’re here to help! You can click on either of our names below to schedule a free meet and greet with one of us. We can’t wait to meet you and see how we can help you! In health,