The direct primary care (DPC) model gives family physicians a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee (i.e., a retainer) that covers all or most primary care services including clinical, laboratory, and consultative services, and care coordination and comprehensive care management. Because some services are not covered by a retainer, DPC practices often suggest that patients acquire a high-deductible wraparound policy to cover emergencies.
Direct primary care benefits patients by providing substantial savings and a greater degree of access to, and time with, physicians.
The American Academy of Family Physicians supports the physician and patient choice to, respectively, provide and receive health care in any ethical health care delivery system model, including the DPC practice setting.
Direct primary care rewards family physicians for caring for the whole person while reducing the overhead and negative incentives associated with fee-for-service, third-party-payer billing. Other benefits to physicians include:
Direct primary care and concierge care are not synonymous. In practices offering concierge care, the patient typically pays a high retainer fee in addition to insurance premiums and other plan obligations (e.g., copays, out-of-pocket expenditures), and the practice continues to bill the patient’s insurance carrier.
The Academy will conduct a series of regional workshops in late 2014 and early 2015 that will provide information about transitioning to the DPC model of care.
Family physicians interested in transitioning to a DPC model without external support can purchase the AAFP’s new DPC Toolkit.
The DPC Toolkit will help you:
Gain an in-depth understanding of transitioning to a Direct Primary Care practice with these one-day, hands-on, peer-to-peer sessions using our resources.
Interested in transitioning to the direct primary care model? The AAFP's DPC Toolkit can get you started.
Get the answers to your questions about direct primary care with our FAQ.
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Direct Primary Care