About Direct Primary Care
What is direct primary care?
Direct primary care is a payment model that has grown, in large part, from the discipline of family medicine. The model is an alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing.
DPC practices typically charge 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 wrap-around policy to cover emergencies.
What is the AAFP's position on direct primary care?
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.
- AAFP Policy on Direct Primary Care: http://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/direct-primary.html
How common is direct primary care among AAFP members?
Physician awareness of DPC is increasing.
- According to the AAFP’s 2015 Practice Profile Survey(211 KB PDF), more than one out of three AAFP member physicians surveyed are still unfamiliar with the term direct primary care (compared to nearly five out of 10 members in 2014(116 KB PDF) and nearly six out of 10 members in 2013(295 KB PDF)).
- However, adoption of the DPC model is not increasing at the same rate. A very small portion of members surveyed (three out of 100) is currently working in a DPC setting, with an even smaller portion (one out of 100) in a practice currently transforming to DPC.
- More than one in four members surveyed are familiar with DPC and have decided they are not interested in the model for their practice.
- Direct primary care Information: http://www.aafp.org/practice-management/payment/dpc.html
AAFP Advocacy on Direct Primary Care
The American Academy of Family Physicians supports direct primary care and is working with several organizations to promote DPC as it continues to evolve and affects both patients and physicians. The AAFP supports the DPC model as a potentially powerful disruptor in the health care payment environment that has traditionally undervalued family medicine and comprehensive care.
- AAFP statement, July 26, 2018: AAFP Welcomes Congressional Focus on Reducing Health Care Costs
- AAFP Letter in Support of the Primary Care Enhancement Act - January 13, 2017
- AAFP News, Sept. 27, 2016: House Bill to Expand Direct Primary Care Wins AAFP Support
- AAFP statement, Sept. 13, 2016: AAFP Applauds Introduction of Legislation to Support Direct Primary Care
- AAFP Letter to Sen. Cassiday Applauding the Introduction of DPC Legislation - September 16, 2015
AAFP News Coverage of Direct Primary Care
- Fresh Perspectives blog post: Beat the Clock: Why I Chose Direct Primary Care
- In The Trenches blog post: AAFP Survey Reveals DPC Trends
- AAFP News article: Direct Primary Care Model Gains Momentum in Multiple States
- Leader Voices blog post: Direct Primary Care Is a Sensible Workforce Solution
- In The Trenches blog post: AAFP Showing Strong Support for DPC
- Fresh Perspectives blog post: Direct Primary Care Doc Sets Record Straight
- AAFP News article: FPs Eager to Learn About -- or Already Sold on -- New Practice Model
- AAFP News article: Direct Primary Care Disrupter: Colorado FP Bucks Traditional Practice
- AAFP News article: Researchers Study What 'Direct Primary Care' Really Means
Other Direct Primary Care Resources