What is Primary Care's Effect on Health Care Costs & Outcomes?

Would you rather keep paying a copay? Or a membership fee?

We are in the infancy stage of the United States health care transformation or reform. Last month the U.S. Senate on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) met to discuss how to expand primary care to be able to reduce overall health care costs. Senator Lamar Alexander brought up DPC's and how local doctors have used this method to help reduce costs.

What is a DPC? The AAFP defines it as "The Direct Primary Care (DPC) model is a practice and payment model where patients/consumers pay their physician or practice directly in the form of periodic payments for a defined set of primary care services." Using this method patients could save a lot of money:

• Cost of visit - free with monthly membership

• Longer visits because the doctor isn't trying to get as many patients through as possible. He or she would not be compensated for the quantity of patients getting into the office, they would be compensated for the quality of their care. If the care isn't great, a patient would take their business to another DPC physician.

• Drugs could be included in this price making it a one stop shop for common infections.

Could DPCs be the future of our health care system? Let's wait and see.


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