• Simplificaion Ahead

    Direct Primary Care

    Learn about direct primary care (DPC), how it can benefit you and your patients, and what resources can help you start or optimize your own DPC practice.

    What is direct primary care?

    The direct primary care model gives family physicians a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee. This fee covers all or most primary care services, including clinical and laboratory services, consultative services, 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.

    DPC vs. Concierge Care

    Direct primary care is different than concierge care: it typically offers low monthly fees, does not participate in any payer programs, and applies the patient's membership fees to a broader range of services.

    DPC Practices

    • Monthly membership fees paid by patients or, sometimes, the patient’s employer
    • Patient fees cover extended visits, clinical, lab and consultative services, care coordination, and comprehensive care management
    • Do not accept insurance or participate in government programs, relying solely on patient fees

    Concierge Practices

    • Annual patient membership contract with higher fees that can be paid annually or monthly
    • Membership fees cover an in-depth physical exam and screenings
    • May continue to accept insurance plans and government programs and bill patient’s insurance company for covered services
    • Cater to higher income populations

    DPC stats

    See how DPC physicians described their practices. Download the 2024 direct primary care data brief for more details.

    Average DPC practice patient panel size is 413 patients

    Most popular procedures are EKG and biopsy/excisions

    99% of practices provide same day appointments

    Monthly membership fees range from $50 to $100

    What are the benefits of DPC?

    DPC benefits patients by providing substantial savings and a greater degree of access to, and time with, physicians.

    DPC allows family physicians to care for the whole person while reducing the overhead and negative incentives associated with fee-for-service third-party-payer billing. Benefits of DPC to physicians include:

    • More time with patients
    • Simplified revenue structure
    • Decreased practice overhead
    • Reduced adminstrative burden
    • High practice satisfaction and low burnout

    Featured DPC Resources