Direct Primary Care (DPC) is primary care’s newest practice model, and perhaps one of the fastest-growing. Doctors flocking to this new healthcare system have the support of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Affordable Care Act, laws in at least a dozen states, and physician pioneers who tirelessly search for a better system of care.
Not to be confused with “concierge medicine”, Direct Primary Care offers numerous benefits for physicians – no coding, no claims, less paperwork, more income, and more time with patients. The model works by providing high-access primary care for a low monthly fee, rendering insurance unnecessary for primary care.
Although the number of individual doctors attempting to start their own DPC practices is steadily growing, many others are joining established DPC networks. This article discusses the top reasons why primary care physicians should consider joining an established DPC network instead of going solo.
1. Less Legal Risk
The biggest risk to setting up a DPC practice is accidentally running afoul of insurance laws due to the subscriptions for medical care. Such mistakes can lead to unfavorable consequences. Joining a reputable DPC network with extensive experience across many jurisdictions offers additional peace of mind to doctors already challenging the system.
2. Power in Numbers
A team of unified, but independent DPC doctors can get more accomplished than a solo provider. DPC networks can have influence on malpractice insurance premiums, media, legislation, and insurance wrap plans. In addition, employers with multiple locations prefer to work with national DPC networks.
3. Insurance Wraps
A well-intentioned solo DPC physician will often find it challenging, if not impossible, to sway a national insurance company to create or supply wrap plans solely for that one practice’s benefit. The consideration of a wrap plan will have more appeal to an insurance company with large numbers and it normally isn’t compelling if only a few hundred or thousand patients join. A DPC network holds more appeal for the creation of insurance wraps.
Consumers and employers tend to follow national companies when introduced to a new concept rather than a single, well-intentioned business. This holds true for DPC as well. Joining a national DPC network lends itself to perceptions of increased credibility, increased interest, and eventually, increased patients.
5. The Power of the Media
Solo DPC practices tend to do very well with the local press with considerable effort on the practice’s part, but seldom reach the pages of national media outlets like DPC networks do. Once the initial hype dies down in the local community, continued coverage is challenging. DPC networks, on the other hand, are always making news somewhere, which by association, benefits all doctors in the network.
6. New Technology Implementation
DPC Networks are always looking for the latest technology that specifically benefits DPC practices. Whether it’s billing systems, behavioral modification software, or the latest telemedicine technology, associated DPC practices can enjoy tested technologies in their practices without additional expense.
7. Enjoy DPC, Leave Business to Others
Most physicians practice Direct Primary Care to enjoy practicing medicine again. Without assistance, a solo DPC doctor is also forced to play the role of salesman, businessman, legal expert, and insurance advisor. Sometimes it’s better to do one thing very well, than do many thing with mediocrity. Why not enjoy DPC and leave the business aspects to seasoned experts who work for DPC physicians?
8. Maintain Autonomy, with Network Benefits
A common misconception is that joining a DPC network takes away the independence of the physician desiring practice autonomy. DPC networks act as facilitators for the business component of the associate DPC practice. DPC networks understand the economy of a geographic area, the insurance market, competitive forces, business principles, and the law. A true DPC network doesn’t dictate hours, practice style, or employ physicians. A DPC network’s goal is to help fill associate practices with DPC patients, a task that is more complex than simple.
In summary, joining a DPC network has numerous advantages for doctors wishing to include DPC in their practices, either partially or wholly. Independence can still be maintained while enjoying all the perks of a DPC patient panel.
Direct Primary Care is one of the most exciting healthcare models to surface in recent times, but also one of the most difficult to grow and maintain compliance with. Why not join a national team of independent DPC physicians, business experts, insurance professionals, and lawyers who can help you at little to no cost?