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.
Get the answers to your questions about direct primary care with our DPC FAQ.
Family physicians interested in transitioning to a DPC model without external support can purchase the AAFP’s DPC Toolkit.
The DPC Toolkit will help you:
Discover how to make the transition from fee-to-service to DPC smooth and productive via the AAFP's DPC Workshops.
The AAFP is working to connect family physicians and stakeholders to push the direct primary care movement. Please take a moment to let the AAFP know your status and interest in DPC.
Interested in transitioning to the direct primary care model? The AAFP's DPC Toolkit can get you started.
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Direct Primary Care