Tips for opening a hybrid DPC practice

When you are ready to open or transition to a direct primary care (DPC) model for your independent practice, you may consider opening a hybrid DPC practice to make the move a little smoother. You may also decide to maintain the hybrid model to continue serving your patients who do not enroll in the DPC but who prefer the traditional practice model.

DPC practices known as a pure model only provide healthcare services to patients paying the membership fee each month. Pure DPC providers do not accept third party fees, such as insurance, and do not charge on a fee-for-service basis. Hybrid models, however, will continue to serve some patients in the traditional third party fee-for-service system while transitioning to a DPC membership model.

Check out Elation Health’s Direct Care Playbook for more guidance on starting a DPC practice.

Some strategies and tips for opening a hybrid DPC practice include:

  • Assess the feasibility of the hybrid model for your practice. Determine which types of patients you can realistically serve and whether the hybrid approach will be a temporary solution to transitioning to a pure DPC model or a long-term situation in which you continue to serve both types of patients.
  • Review the expenses involved. In a hybrid model, you will have some patients depending on insurance and some paying a monthly membership fee. You will need to include the appropriate staff for processing claims and payments in your budget.
  • Communicate with your clinical staff and with your patients. Explaining the benefits of the DPC model, including the details of how it will work, will be important for everyone involved. Patients who have relied on insurance and who are used to the traditional model will need as much information as possible about the DPC structure to be able to make informed decisions.
  • Determine your DPC fee structure. In a hybrid model, you will also need to decide if you will have different fees for your DPC patients and your traditional, fee-for-service patients. Although DPC patients will not pay for each regular visit, they may require other services that are not included in their membership fees. Review your budget to determine appropriate fees for the continued viability of your hybrid practice.
  • Focus on continuing to maintain your fee-for-service practice. While ramping up the DPC side of your hybrid practice, you will need to continue to bring in revenue from the patients on the traditional side. Whether you are using the hybrid model as a transition or intending to keep your practice in hybrid form, all of your patients will expect continued quality healthcare service from you and your team.

If you are using the hybrid model to transition to a pure DPC model, you can use the hybrid approach to introduce your fee-for-service patients to the benefits of direct primary care membership. Have one-on-one conversations with your patients to explain your plans to transition, re-emphasizing the fact that you want to continue to provide the value-based care they’ve come to expect from you.