What is Direct Primary Care?

Imagine your asthma is acting up and you need to be seen by your doctor. You give them a call to make an appointment and they tell you they can “fit you in” in two weeks. Or when you need to make an appointment to become established with a new doctor and are told the soonest opening is six months away but your inhaler will run out in a month?

Challenges with receiving primary care

How many people who are reading this post are frustrated with their doctor?  Maybe not their doctor themselves, but the process of gaining access to your doctor when you need them? I bet more than half of you can relate. This was the situation I was in for the past two years. My family and I moved across the country and I had to find an entirely new medical team.

I asked for recommendations from my coworkers and searched online. I found a primary care doctor that I absolutely loved and was pretty darn happy with. While the doctor was amazing and so caring, getting into see him within a reasonable timeframe was nearly impossible. It wasn’t his fault, but the system. Too many patients and not enough time. While I can understand that doctors are busy and same or next day appointments are almost impossible, this can pose a big problem for asthmatics especially.

A few months ago a friend of mine recommended the medical practice of our mutual friends (a husband/wife doctor duo) and this was the first time I had ever heard of direct primary care.

What is direct primary care?

Direct primary care (DPC) is a fee-based family physician practice. They do not bill or accept insurance. There is a monthly fee and that gives you unlimited access to your provider. This model can be especially helpful for people with extremely high deductible insurance plans or simply want better access to their doctor. 

Office visits and many services are covered with the monthly fee and often times they can dispense medication from their clinic at a reduced cost. They are always available via phone, text and email with no middleman.  They consult with my specialists (pulmonologist, cardiologist, etc.) when need be and are always about communication.

Making the switch to DPC

For me, switching to a direct primary care practice was a no brainer. I have a flexible spending account for medical expenses through my work and use that to pay the monthly fee so the financial burden is low on my part. I am able to get same-day appointments any time I may need them and medical advice 24/7. Having that personal relationship with my medical team is essential.

I realize this model of primary medicine isn’t for everyone. However, it has been an absolute game-changer when it comes to my health.

Have a question about direct primary care? Ask here.

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