FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 1, 2013 – The growing direct primary care [direct care] marketplace now has another supporter and this time it’s America’s largest family medicine organization–the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) who announced recently its support of Direct Primary Care (DPC). DPC is a low-cost, high-quality medical practice business model that is primary care offered directly to the consumer, without insurance administration. It has shown a number of American consumers its cost and health care benefits as well as physicians that there can be price transparency in healthcare. On Monday, July 1st, 2013, The DCJ (Direct Care Journal), the independent trade journal for the industry praised the AAFP’s recent position on this topic.
“Direct care provides an affordable, cost effective and straightforward relationship with a doctor. It is also a life-line to those primary care physicians across America considering alternative business structures for their practices,” said DCJ Editor, Michael Tetreault. “AAFP’s support and discussion about this growing model of health care feeds the appetite of the physician community-at-large and educate consumers of all ages.”
On the AAFP website, the organization’s Board of Directors clearly defines why they chose to support Direct Primary Care at their March 2013 meeting: “The DPC model is structured to emphasize and prioritize the intrinsic power of the relationship between a patient and his or her family physician to improve health outcomes and lower overall health care costs … and for these reasons, the model is consistent with the AAFP’s advocacy … For family physicians, this revenue model can stabilize practice finances, allowing the physician and office staff to focus on the needs of the patient and improving their health outcomes rather than coding and billing. Patients, in turn, benefit from having a DPC practice because the contract fee covers the cost of all primary care services furnished in the DPC practice. This effectively removes any additional financial barriers the patient may encounter in accessing routine care, primary care, including preventative, wellness, and chronic care services,” the statement adds.
Direct primary care medical practices currently exist in at least 21 states, and are estimated to be serving as many as 100,000 patients today. Direct primary care could get a big boost next year (2014). Under the federal health care law, these practices will be able to operate in state-based health insurance exchanges. However, insurers on exchanges must offer a basic benefits package that includes hospital, drug and other coverage, so direct primary care practices will likely team up in the form of wraparound insurance policies with other health plans. This is the only non-insurance offering to be authorized in the insurance exchanges, slated to begin in 2014. However, there is no mandate for DPCs to be included, according to the California Health Foundation. Cigna and Associated Mutual are early adopters of this strategy and have rolled out wraparound policies in a few select markets.
MedLion DPC’s Dr. Samir Qamar, a national advocate for this alternative to the traditional health insurance platform, said “Insurance was never meant for primary care — it’s time we fix the U.S. healthcare system. The first step is to take our specialty back and care for patients directly. We are thrilled that the AAFP has demonstrated an alignment with this vision.”
Most DPC offices charge their patients a membership fee, which generally ranges from $40 to $85 per month, with pediatric care as low as $20. Appointments for routine, primary care services sometimes have small co-payments around $10 and patients can obtain referrals for specialty care at greatly reduced rates. Coupled with a high-deductible health plan in the event of hospitalization or sudden emergency injury, patients with a DPC relationship can choose their own doctors, receive prompt preventive care and experience a more transparent financial transaction.
Direct primary care may be a good option for those without insurance or who have high-deductible policies. Many employers who offer high-deductible are paying the fees for direct primary care. In these cases, the employer-based insurance covers the costs of specialists, hospital care and major tests once the patient meets the deductible.
For a list of known direct primary care providers in your state, visit www.DirectPrimaryCare.com
About The Direct Care Journal
The Direct Care Journal (DCJ) is an independent online news reporting publication and trade journal utilizing journalists and dedicated writers who cover all facets of the direct primary care [direct care] industry. For more information, news or to locate a direct care doctor, visit: www.DirectCareJournal.com.
About the American Academy of Family Physicians
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is the national association of family practice physicians. It is one of the largest national medical organizations, with more than 110,600 members in 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam, as well as internationally.
DIRECT PRIMARY CARE JOURNAL
Michael Tetreault, 770-455-1650