Direct primary care for the vulnerable

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is not really a new model for health care in Texas. Long before employer-based insurance (with the safety nets for the elderly and disabled, Medicare and Medicaid) became the standard, patients paid doctors for their care. There were no middlemen—only the patient and the physician, and they made the decisions.

DPC seems innovative now because we have moved so far away from that model. Government regulations combined with ever-more complex insurance standards have put third-party payers in charge of the decision making.

The current system frustrates not only patients but also physicians. No health care provider wants to be second-guessed by middlemen behind a computer screen hundreds or thousands of miles from the examination room. No doctor wants to be limited to a maximum number of minutes of face time per patient, because human beings and their ailments are rarely so conveniently compartmentalized. And doctors and patients alike want the ability to follow up on treatments to ensure the best health outcomes possible.

DPC practices seek to resolve the flaws of our current health care system by providing transparent pricing and strength­ening the doctor-patient relationship. Direct care has gained momentum in primary care, surgery, pharmaceuticals, and dentistry. Direct care functions differently in each setting, but the central idea is that third-party payers are not involved, and prices are known before the patient sees the medical professional.

Read the full article at The Item.

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