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Frequently asked questions about opening up a direct primary care practice

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Independent physicians considering a move to a direct primary care (DPC) practice model probably have a lot of questions. The traditional practice and the DPC model are different in many aspects. The prospect of opening a new DPC practice might actually be a bit intimidating for the independent physician who does not have a clear picture of what is involved.

What is DPC?

Direct Care is a medical practice model where providers contract directly with patients. The DPC practice operates on patient membership fees that are generally paid on a monthly basis. Some DPC practices do accept insurance payments and many encourage their patients to have insurance coverage for catastrophic events, but the basics of the model depend solely on membership fees.

What are some advantages to the DPC model?

Patients and providers alike enjoy the benefits of the DPC practice. Providers see fewer patients, enabling the patient to receive more personalized care. Patients have fewer out-of-pocket expenses, as there are no co-pays and no per-visit fees. Most basic services are covered in their membership fees. Providers have less overhead in their practice, as they are not concerned with insurance billing and reimbursement.

Are there legal concerns with DPC?

Like most medical businesses, direct care practices have legal needs outside of the scope of a physician’s training. Taking advantage of legal help and resources can play a large role in helping the DPC practice comply with laws and employ legal protections.

What kind of technology does a DPC physician need?

The electronic health record (EHR) is a critical first choice for any physician starting a direct care practice. This tool will be the main technology a physician engages with throughout their day, to keep workflows efficient and inform decisions at the point of care.

Is there additional information available?

Yes! Elation Health has published the Direct Care Playbook, written just for independent physicians considering the move to a DPC model. The Playbook includes guidance on marketing, staffing, and optimizing the DPC practice for success!