Lake Norman's Katherine Weeks, MD on the Benefits of Direct Primary CareMar 01, 2021 10:42AM ● By Katherine Weeks
The Direct Primary Care (DPC) model was primarily developed in recent years as a result of increasingly expensive and confusing health insurance plans. DPC providers such as physicians and family doctors do not participate in insurance plans at all. Instead, a financial agreement is made ahead of time between the Primary Care medical practice and the patient. The patient pays the practice a monthly fee that gives the patient access to comprehensive primary care and other medical services.
Typically, the efficiency gained by eliminating insurance administrative costs results in savings to both the practice and to the patient. Additional benefits include shorter wait time for patient appointments, more one-on-one time between doctor and patient, a doctor that is more available, easier access to medical records and lower medical expenses with transparent billing.
DPC does not supply comprehensive coverage by itself, but it is an affordable way for patients that do not have insurance to gain access to primary care. Ideally, it is coupled with at least high-deductible health insurance policy or a medical cost-sharing plan, which is also a non-insurance solution to manage large healthcare costs. Some of those encourage DPC participation by offering additional discounts.
According to a HealthyPeople.gov article, “Access to Primary Care,” research shows that access to primary care is associated with positive health outcomes. They state that having insurance increases the use of health services and improves health outcomes. The direct primary care model can bridge the gap for those that do not have insurance or that have insurance with such high deductibles they do not use health services, resulting in better health outcomes for more people.
Katherine Weeks, MD, FAAFP, is a board-certified family physician, a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and owner of Blue Skies Family Medicine, a DPC practice located at 363 Williamson Rd., Ste. 103, in Mooresville. For more information, call 704-663-7819, email [email protected] or visit BlueSkiesFamilyMedicine.com.