ChesterCountyMedicine Spring 2018 - 8

www.CHESTERCMS.org

D ir ec t P r i m ary Care
(DPC)
BY WINSLOW W. MURDOCH, MD
TOTAL ACCESS MEDICAL, WEST CHESTER, PA
&
RICKY HAUG, MD
CORE FAMILY PRACTICE, KENNETT SQUARE, PA

D

irect Primary Care is an alternative payment model improving access to high
functioning primary care services with a simple, flat, affordable membership
fee. There are no fee-for-service payments and no third-party billing.

W I N S LO W W. M U R D O C H , M D

The defining element of DPC is an enduring and trusting relationship between
a patient and his or her primary care provider team. Patients have improved access
to a DPC physician of their choice, often for as little as $70 per month with significant discounts for families. DPC practices are accountable first and foremost to their
patients.
This alternative payment model allows the practice to serve a smaller, more service
intensive and often medically complex population of patients. DPC is embraced by
health policymakers from both parties and has great potential to create happy patients
and happy primary care doctors who choose this alternative model.

RICKY HAUG, MD

By improving the time available and quality of working conditions focused directly on patient care, is it presumed that many health professionals (doctors, CRNPs
and PAs) may move back to primary care from urgent care, specialty, or administrative jobs, and more trainees would choose primary care, thereby improving access to
primary care, not reducing it.
DPC practices also help with patient advocacy, especially in medically complex
and underinsured populations. Through smaller panel sizes, the practice has more
time to seek out direct contract pricing, and more effectively coordinate care to aid
their patients requiring outside services such as pharmaceuticals, radiology services,
specialist services, and hospital services, as well as physical and behavioral therapy.

Challenges Facing DPC Patients & Physicians
DPC currently is considered allowable under the ACA, but only when partnered
with a willing commercial insurer in association with a high deductible plan to wrap
around the DPC practice. Unfortunately, no insurers have allowed partnering to date.
Therefore, patients need to pay for full primary care coverage through an ACA accredited plan first, which is afforded pretax status. Then, and only then, can a patient
elect to add on DPC services, and then, only with after tax monies.

8 CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine | SPRING 2018


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