DPC is a healthcare model that allows patients to pay a monthly or annual fee to their doctor for unlimited access to primary care services. In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why physicians are making the switch to DPC.
According to reporting from the Denver Post, Colorado now has at least 90 direct primary care practices serving more than 63,000 patients. That represents more than a 256% increase since 2018 which is 256% more patients than in 2018.
Colorado residents are flocking to the model, and have turned Colorado into the leading state for direct primary care patients per capita.
There are multiple reasons for the migration: The traditional fee-for-service model, which is heavily reliant on insurance payers, forces primary care practices to maintain a small army of coding and billing clerks. Physicians must spend much of their time filling out forms and chasing down claims issues.
It also results in doctor’s offices struggling with massive overhead costs, requiring them to take on huge patient loads.
Finally, many Colorado doctors are saying “enough!” and migrating their practices to a much more simple, streamlined, and efficient direct primary care model.
Here’s why so many Colorado doctors are hanging up the old way of doing business and embracing Direct Primary Care:
1. More time with patients
The DPC model allows doctors in Colorado much more face time with patients.
In a traditional fee-for-service model, doctors must see a large number of patients in a short amount of time in order to be financially successful.
With traditional practices, each primary care physician must typically maintain a load of more than 2000 to 2500 patients in order to justify a full-time doctor’s salary.
This can lead to rushed visits and less time for building strong relationships with patients. This not only causes doctors a great deal of stress, frustration, and burnout; it also forces doctors to compromise on patient care.
Patients themselves are also frustrated at the traditional fee-for-service approach, because it results in “surprise” billing issues. They don’t feel they have the time for more than a cursory appointment with their doctors.
In contrast, Colorado direct primary care doctors have the freedom to spend as much time as necessary with each patient. They can take the time to get to the bottom of what’s causing their medical issues.
Instead of cramming in 20 to 30 patients per day, as is the case for many primary care doctors, a Colorado direct primary care practitioner may only see 8 to 12 patients. That translates to much longer average appointment times.
The extra time Colorado doctors can spend face-to-face with their doctors can result in more personalized care, more rewarding doctor/patient relationships, and better health outcomes.
COLORADO HEALTH INSURANCE
2. Financial stability for Colorado doctors
The DPC model is providing medical practices more financial stability and predictability.
In a fee-for-service model, a doctor’s income is tied to the number of patients they see and the services they provide.
But the flow of patients can be unpredictable, and lead to financial stress. Patient flows can be highly seasonal – and practice revenue can be very seasonal, as well. With direct primary care, doctors can receive a steady, predictable stream of income from their patients’ monthly or annual fees. This makes it much easier for physicians to plan and budget for the future.
3. Increased job satisfaction
Many primary care doctors in Colorado report feeling burned out and frustrated with the current healthcare system. Switching to DPC can provide a renewed sense of purpose and job satisfaction.
By focusing on building strong relationships with patients and providing high-quality, personalized care, Colorado doctors can experience a greater sense of fulfillment and meaning in their work.
4. Greater autonomy
DPC also allows Colorado doctors to have greater autonomy over their practice.
In a fee-for-service model, doctors may be required to meet certain quotas or follow specific protocols set by insurance companies or healthcare organizations. With DPC, doctors have the freedom to make decisions based on what they believe is best for their patients, rather than what is dictated by outside parties.
5. Lower administrative burden
In a fee-for-service model, doctors may spend a significant amount of time dealing with insurance companies, filling out paperwork, and navigating complex billing systems. DPC eliminates much of this bureaucracy, allowing doctors to focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks.
The growth of direct primary care is a welcome development. It’s more cost-effective, efficient, and leads to better patient outcomes than the traditional model which leads to burnt-out doctors and frustrated patients.
First, direct primary care plans don’t provide any protection against the potentially catastrophic costs of hospitalizations, surgeries, ER visits, and critical illnesses. These types of costs can be financially devastating for many families.
Instead, DPC plans focus on low-cost but high-frequency needs such as checkups, immunizations, well baby visits, well woman visits, and routine medical care.
For this reason, DPC plans should not be used alone. They are not a substitute for a good traditional health insurance or healthsharing plan.
Advantages for Patients
Direct primary care often allows patients the ability to choose a higher deductible health plan with lower premiums – saving precious cash flow for cash-strapped families on tight budgets.
DPC plans also simplify billing for patients: Typically, traditional insurance plans require a complicated set of deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. These out-of-pocket costs are difficult to keep track of.
They also cause people to put off needed care and screenings because of cost.
DPC plans replace this convoluted array of charges with one low monthly fee for an unlimited number of visits. The flat monthly subscription arrangement is beneficial for both doctors and patients.
In conclusion, doctors in Colorado are turning to Direct Primary Care for a variety of reasons, including more time with patients, financial stability, increased job satisfaction, greater autonomy, and a lower administrative burden. As the healthcare system continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how this model continues to gain popularity and transform the way primary care is delivered.
Here are some additional articles related to this post: Comparing Christian Healthcare Ministries Available in Colorado | Colorado Direct Primary Care – 2024 Guide
Here are some additional pages related to this article: Combine a Colorado Direct Primary Care with a DPC DIRECT Healthshare Plan | HealthShare Plans in Colorado [2024 Update] – A Low-Cost Alternative to Expensive Health Insurance