What do physicians think about the direct primary care (DPC) practice model? Given that the model is relatively new in the long history of healthcare services, many physicians are still in startup mode or in the very early stages of their practice operating as a DPC. Several stories have emerged, though, as the concept of the DPC is growing in popularity among primary care providers.
Starting a new practice, especially a practice that relies on patient membership fees, can be challenging. Dr. Vance Lassey, who runs Holton Direct Care in Holton, Kansas, told Business Insider that he had to take out a loan and purchase used equipment to get his DPC practice up and running. Four months into it, Dr. Lassey was at a break-even point and, more importantly, was able to spend more time with each of his patients. “I am making a profit, I have more free time, and I can practice properly,” he said. “It’s worth it to me.”
Dr. Linnea Meyer has started small as well, in a tiny primary-care practice in downtown Boston. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, she said “Getting that third-party payer out of the room frees me up to focus on patient care.” Dr. Meyer is currently relying on her own savings to fund the practice, but hopes to expand her relatively new practice to 200 patients. “This kind of practice is why I went into medicine, and that feels so good.”
Dr. Robert Lamberts, an Elation physician, launched his DPC practice in October 2012 and has been reporting on its progress in Physicians Practice. Dr. Lamberts cites one of the challenges of a DPC practice as being that most patients “still don’t understand how paying a monthly fee could bring significant value to their healthcare.” He finds that he and his staff have to explain the concept to skeptical potential patients. However, he says, “two years after making my first patient encounter (as a house call), I am confident that I’ve found the right way to give care to my patients.”