As an alternative to fee-for-service (FFS) medicine that is fully supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), direct primary care (DPC) operates outside the traditional primary health care delivery system. Because no insurance companies are involved, neither patients nor physicians are required to file cumbersome claims for payment.
Significantly, this means that DPC physicians are free to practice medicine in a way that is always and exclusively in the best interest of their patients, rather than working within the stringent requirements dictated by third-party payers. Many physicians who have adopted the DPC model consistently report having more time with their patients as well as greater job satisfaction. Wondering why? Read on.
The DPC Wave Is Sweeping the Nation
Here are some interesting DPC statistics (as of 2018):
- Of the approximately 465,000 primary care physicians practicing in the United States, about 20,000 (roughly 4.5 percent) have adopted the DPC practice model.
- The number of DPC physicians has been steadily increasing over the last five years.
- The DPC model substantially reduces the need for administrative resources (1.5 administrators per physician) as compared to the FFS model (4.5 administrators per physician).
- DPC practices have a considerably smaller patient panel (800-1000 patients on average) as compared to FFS practices (2500 patients on average).
With DPC, patients have unrestricted access to the primary care physician of their choice. In addition to fostering a strong and trusted doctor-patient relationship, this facilitates better preventive care and earlier diagnoses, both of which can reduce the need for costly specialist referrals, hospitalizations and emergency room visits – and ultimately save the patient money.
The Future of DPC
There are now two major initiatives in the works that could further fuel the DPC market. First, the Primary Care Enhancement Act would allow individuals with health savings accounts (HSAs) to use their tax-exempt savings to pay their DPC membership fees. Second, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced forthcoming DPC models as part of the effort to “deliver value-based transformation in primary care.” As such, the future looks bright for DPC.
If you’re interested in joining a DPC practice in the Orlando, FL, area, contact Optimum Direct Care for more information. You can set up an appointment to meet our primary care physician, Dr. Toni “Muzzi” Muzzonigro, who firmly believes that an enduring doctor-patient relationship is the key to achieving optimum health.