The direct primary care (DPC) model is based on simple and affordable patient membership fees. Most DPC practices do not accept insurance, but all encourage the patient to become more engaged in their own care by creating and enriching that all-important patient-provider relationship. What are some of the direct care services provided by a DPC practice?
DPC patients typically pay a monthly fee of between $70 and $100 a month, rather than being charged for each service or each visit. The advantages of the DPC structure include:
- Improved health outcomes – better access to the provider and comprehensive patient care.
- Reduced healthcare costs – a flat fee paid directly to the physician, with no third-party billing.
- Enhanced patient experience – unlimited access to the provider and little to no wait time for appointments.
In the direct care model, the provider typically provides patients with various methods of communication available to them after hours, which serves to further improve the patient experience and outcomes. Visits are not restricted to those that an insurance policy will cover and appointments are usually available same day or next day, with minimal waiting time in the office to see the provider.
The all-in-one electronic health record (EHR) solution developed by Elation Health gives DPC providers one system to manage clinical records, membership recurring payments, and patient relationships. Learn more about this innovative direct primary care solution here.
Even though each practice is different, a list of the direct care services generally offered by the DPC provider includes:
- Access to the provider’s cell phone number.
- Basic preventive services.
- Treatment of common, minor concerns such as colds and flu, rashes, burns, injuries, and other wounds.
- Guidance, referrals, and scheduling assistance for all recommended preventive screening such as pap smears, colonoscopies, and mammograms.
- Management of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, or thyroid disorders. This will include working with the patient on a long-term management plan to involve the patient in their own care.
- Minor procedures such as stitches, mole removal, joint injections for pain, or simple cosmetic procedures.
- Management of specialist care. Coordinating care is particularly important for patients with chronic conditions. DPC providers work closely with specialty providers to ensure continuity of quality care for their patients.
- Annual checkups after an initial review and physical at the first visit.
Many DPC practices will also provide these direct care services, often for an additional fee:
- Chronic pain treatments
- Sleep disorder treatments, including sleep studies and CPAPs
- Osteopathic manipulation
- Treatment for migraines
- Bone density tests
- Athletic performance tests
In addition, the DPC provider may opt to provide simple diagnostic and blood tests in the office for a small additional charge. These fees are usually discounted and so are less expensive than those services provided by an outside lab. Depending on the specific laws of the state in which the direct services provider practices, they may also choose to dispense basic prescriptions from the office. These will also be discounted for the patient.