Articles

DPC movement

 

A Healthcare Solution We Can’t Afford to Ignore

There have been plenty of arguments over how to best deliver and for health care in the United States. But despite disagreements, there is one goal that virtually all stakeholders in the health care debate – policymakers, state governments, employers, health care providers, and the general public – share: better health care at a lower cost.

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AAFP DPC Policy

The direct primary care (DPC) model is a variation of the retainer practice framework for primary care physicians. DPC practices charge patients a flat monthly or annual fee, under terms of a contract, in exchange for access to a broad range of primary care and medical administrative services. The retainer practice framework includes any practice model structured around direct contracting with patients/consumers for monthly or annual fees which serve to replace the traditional system of third party insurance coverage for primary care services. Typically, these “retainer fees” guarantee patients enhanced services such as 24/7 access to their personal physician, extended visits, electronic communications, in some cases home-based medical visits, and highly personalized, coordinated, and comprehensive care administration. The AAFP supports the physician and patient choice to, respectively, provide and receive healthcare in any ethical healthcare delivery system model, including the DPC practice-setting.

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DPC engagement on a National Level

Instead of billing insurance, patients pay a monthly fee that covers nearly everything and doctors say it opens the door for them to help negotiate down prices patients pay to specialists if a specialist is needed.

 

Senator Rand Paul took in the stories from the office in Crestwood of Doctor Molly Rutherford who said she was inspired to start to this family practice 2 years ago after getting frustrated by the direction of the healthcare industry.

 

“We want to change the conversation, especially in DC,” Dr. Rutherford explained. “They keep talking about coverage which the real problem is the cost of healthcare and expanding coverage by the ACA has not changed that.”

 

Doctor Rutherford says she’s not “slamming” the Affordable Care Act known as “Obamacare” but she insists that changes in the health care law have not improved the actual care Americans receive.

 

She and the other doctors opened this Direct Primary Care office that involves a flat fee from $10 for children to $50, $75 or $100 per month for an adult depending upon their age. Patients, not an insurance company pays. There are allotted monthly visits, potential home visits, some emergency care and some labs are covered.

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Direct Primary Care is Not an Insurance Plan

 

Heartland Institute Research and Commentary

One of the lesser-known factors contributing to the rapid increase in the cost of health care is the shrinking number of primary care physicians (PCPs) available relative to the size of the population. Similar to most states, Florida faces a severe primary care shortage. The Robert Graham Center estimates to maintain current rates of primary care utilization, Florida will need “an additional 4,671 primary care physicians by 2030, a 38 % increase compared to the state’s current (as of 2010) 12,228 PCP workforce.”

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Ohio’s Lt. Gov. Taylor Proposes Direct Payments to Doctors for Routine Care

One of the Republican candidates for governor, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, unveiled a set of proposals for health care in Ohio today. Taylor prefers a system that’s gaining popularity among the GOP.

 

Taylor wants to switch to a direct primary-care system. Regular doctor visits would be covered by a monthly membership, through which patients pay a flat monthly fee to a doctor or company who provides the routine services. Insurance plans would be designated primarily for catastrophic coverage.

 

Taylor says direct primary care is already proven in some states where it’s being tried.

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Employer Perspectives

 

Bending healthcare cost curve through direct primary care

With healthcare premium costs increasing 17 to 23 percent each year, Scott Willis, risk manager for Tapani Inc. (previously Tapani Underground) was looking for a way to reduce his company’s healthcare-related expenses without shifting the costs to Tapani’s employees.

 

“We wanted to stay in front of the cost curve, but still offer the best possible benefits,” said Willis.

 

The Battle Ground-based heavy civil contracting company, which has doubled in size to more than 450 employees over the last two to three years, reached out to their insurance broker, Tyson Fuehrer, vice president of the Life and Health Department at Biggs Insurance Services (headquartered in Vancouver since 1935), for a creative solution.

 

“Employers just want to take care of their employees, and find a way to pay for it,” said Fuehrer.

 

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Additional Resources

Iwantdirectcare.com