Many employers across the nation are offering Direct Primary Care programs to employees as part of their healthcare benefits. Following are the top reasons why employee experience is significantly and noticeably different in the Direct Primary Care model. There are also strong reasons why employers should care about Direct Primary Care.
1. No Insurance Claims
Remember the last time you had a doctor visit? Chances are the doctor was continuously typing while focusing on the monitor, not you. Providers in insurance-based practices have to file insurance claims for each visit in order to be paid – this means having to file the right insurance “code”, detailing segments of the visit to satisfy payment requirements, and making sure all the correct patient information is on the form.
All of this disappears in a Direct Primary Care practice, allowing the provider to fully focus on you. An added bonus is that roughly 40% of the practice overhead also disappears – savings that are passed on to employees in the form of $0 co-pays and affordable subscription fees.
2. Doctors Focus on Care, Not Fees
Our current healthcare system is built on a “fee-for-service” or “fee-per-visit” system, which wrongly incentivizes both patients and providers. For employees, a “fee-per-visit” system forces them to only seek care when it’s needed, often too late. Not only are per-visit charges a barrier to care, they move employees towards a “sick care” system instead of a “health care” system. On the other side of the table, providers in the current system try to maximize the number of visits per day to maximize revenue. Similar to booking hotel rooms or plane seats, practices will sometimes “overbook” to ensure no appointment slot goes unused – missed appointments, like empty hotel rooms, equal missed revenue. The repercussions of this are obvious – long wait times, difficulty obtaining appointments, and limited face time with providers.
Direct Primary Care doctors are paid a flat monthly fee for provision of all primary care, and paid not “per visit.” As a result, employees experience longer visits with their providers, ease with obtaining appointments, and minimal waiting times. The results? Better access, better care, less stressed doctors, and a calmer atmosphere.
3. DPC Doctors Don’t Have Thousands of Patients
The average primary care physician has close to 3,000 patients on his or her panel. In cities with a shortage of physicians, this number can be as high as 5,000! Having thousands of patients keeps the appointment slots full, but also creates havoc on access. With the current system, the focus is on quantity.
In contrast, Direct Primary Care practices focus on quality. With the average DPC physician having less than 1,000 employees, more time can be spent with each, access to care is facilitated, and the concept of a “medical home” becomes more realized. Nobody benefits from an overcrowded medical home.
4. Direct Primary Care Loves Telemedicine
Have you ever tried getting an opinion from your doctor in the middle of a workday over the phone? It’s not easy. Aside from being extremely busy, doctors cannot get compensated for their time on telephone or video chat. The insurance industry largely reimburses providers for only in-office visits, thus the difficulty reaching a doctor over the telephone for medical matters.
Direct Primary Care, in contrast, loves telemedicine. Since doctors are not paid by visit, why inconvenience employees for small issues that can safely be handled via telemedicine? With advancing technology, it’s easier than ever to conduct telemedicine appointments. Smartphones and medical devices like the MedWand® allow providers to conduct interviews and even examine employees remotely. To employees, avoiding the doctor’s office while still getting medical care is a huge plus.
5. Happier Doctors
If you had a choice, which of the following doctors would you visit? Doctor “A”, a physician who feels forced to see 30 patients a day every 10 minutes, often skips lunch, misses family time after hours, and is constantly worried about getting paid? Or Doctor “B”, a physician who feels unrushed, content with his or her career, is accountable to patients instead of insurance companies, and spends extra time with you if the need arises? The answer is obvious! Unfortunately for most people, the reality is often the opposite. Doctors are experiencing record-number burnout, suicide, and early retirement in the current system. In the already stressful environment of patient responsibility, the burden of red-tape, insurance requirements, and constant fear of malpractice cripple even the best physicians.
Direct Primary Care doctors experience the same joy of practicing medicine that new medical graduates do. Without the non-medical chains of the current system, DPC doctors enjoy a freedom that reminds them of why they became doctors in the first place. It’s no wonder national medical associations cheerlead Direct Primary Care – with the joy of medical practice returned, employees benefit even more than the happy doctors. And that’s a good thing.
Maybe it's time you tried a Direct Primary Care doctor?