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.

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 News Coverage of Direct Primary Care

Other Direct Primary Care Resources