You probably already know what a Primary Care Physician (PCP) is but what is Direct Primary Care (DPC)?
Just as you pay a monthly fee to watch your favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix, you can pay a subscription service to your doctor to cover primary care services such as clinical or lab services, consultative services, care coordination, and comprehensive care management.
This approach to healthcare has seen rapid growth across the U.S. in the past few years. As you consider if Direct Primary Care is the right choice for you, your family, (or even for employees, if you're a business owner) here are some of the key reasons:
More Time with Your Doctor
One of the best perks of direct primary care is that doctors have more time to spend with patients. Less paperwork and not having to deal with an insurance company frees up DPC doctors to spend enough time with patients to get to the root cause of symptoms. At Table Health every member/patient receives an initial visit to establish a relationship with a primary care provider and create a health plan together. From there, the approach looks like what you might typically expect from a primary care doctor, but with some important differences. Generally, there is more direct access to the doctor, less waiting for an appointment, and interactions may take place virtually or via patient portal or text. Direct Primary Care is more personalized, streamlined, and convenient.
You Don't Need Insurance
DPCs don't accept health insurance as payment, but even if you do have insurance you can still go to a DPC. Whether you have a plan with a big health insurer, a health sharing community, or something in-between, you can still save money and have a more quality healthcare experience by using a direct primary physician. In many cases, health sharing communities will offer you a discount on your monthly fee if you have a DPC and some employers offer to pay for a DPC as an alternative to health insurance. For those who are unemployed or work part-time, DPC is an affordable way to get quality health care despite job status. At Table Health, you may use your insurance for on-site lab draws that go to Quest Diagnostics, medications from your approved pharmacy, and for referrals outside of Table Health such as radiology, health screenings, and other outpatient care such as physical therapy.
Cost Transparency - No Surprises
You rarely know the exact cost of a health care service or appointment before going in, which is why the price transparency that comes with DPC is a major benefit. Since you pay a flat rate, you know exactly how much it costs to receive the services your DPC physician offers. This makes it easier to budget for other health care expenses, such as medications or surgeries, and relieves a lot of the stress that comes with going to the doctor. At Table Health, the Primary membership includes select prescribes medications, lab testing, and in-office procedures.
Everyone is guilty of putting off making an appointment or ignoring pain because they couldn’t afford the expense. Or as we hear often, your nagging symptoms become your "new normal". Since you pay every month, (or quarter, or annually depending on the DPC practice) for a direct primary care physician, there’s never an excuse to not get care when you need it; you’ve already paid for it. DPCs are also available through online communication patient portals, which means you can contact your doctor directly regarding a medical issue you’re having and get a course of treatment over a text. Your doctor can also advise if you need to come in for an appointment or not, or even go see a specialist. Personal health and wellbeing can improve through improved access to your DPC physician.
Functional medicine and DPC provides an alternative option to patients across the country who want more from their doctor-patient relationship. For example, someone struggling with underlying issues such as fatigue, depression and anxiety has the opportunity to learn more about lifestyle factors that impact health status. Together, patients and providers address the root causes of ailments through diet, exercise, stress management, body treatments and supplements.
This approach to health really benefits anyone from a 6-month-old to a 90-year-old. It’s a whole life approach. And although it seems everyone is used to the current, somewhat broken system of healthcare: having health insurance with a high deductible (or a low deductible but high monthly payments), busy physicians, and no cost transparency, DPC offers a solution. Taking a more preventative and even functional medicine approach to Direct Primary Care (DPC) is the antidote to the transactional, pharmaceutical-driven system. It aims to keep biologic systems in balance by treating the mind, body and spirit. This approach nurtures a strong patient/provider relationship that supports small changes in lifestyle that can make a huge and lasting impact on our overall health.