Ask Dr. John Part 3 – A Physician’s Journey into Direct Primary Care
Why are physicians making the decision to switch to a Direct Primary Care (DPC) model for their practice? In part three of our three-part blog series, Healthcare2U’s Dr. John Rodriguez shares why he moved to a DPC model and some hesitations he had before the switch. Don’t forget to check out our first blog in this series, which discusses the benefits of working with this type of model, and the second, which discusses “bad debt” for physicians and why some are moving over to the DPC model.
Q: What excited you about DPC enough to begin your practice?
A: Many years ago in San Antonio, Texas, I started a traditional fee-for-service clinic. I became a preferred provider on the main commercial insurance plans and began to see patients under those contracts. After filing claims, I noticed that the payments were rather low. I felt that for the time I spent with patients, I was not appropriately reimbursed, if I was at all. I also began to notice a great deal of bad debt. Many insurance companies were not paying the bill, and I had to spend a lot of time on the phone trying to find out why. Having those struggles as a practitioner, I began to deal with the true frustration of running a practice. I saw many of my local physician friends struggle and eventually close their practices. I knew that this could be in my future as well, but I was really set on trying to keep my clinic open and continuing to take care of patients at all costs.
Several years ago, the DPC model began to show up on my radar through the internet, web searches, etc. There were a few physicians here in San Antonio who were beginning to do it. Although their price points were much higher, I felt that I could do the same thing at a much lower monthly cost and take care of most of my patients without them breaking the bank and allowing me to keep my doors open. This new DPC practice was leading to very satisfied patients and was creating a lifestyle that I was happy with.
My practice was not driven by how many patients I could see in a day but by quality and cost-effectiveness because many of these patients either had no insurance or had high deductibles. Everything they had to pay for came out of their back pockets, so I had to be very mindful of the cost impact they would experience with prescription medications, testing, etc. That journey has led me to a place where I firmly believe the DPC model works. It’s made for every primary care physician, and if possible, they should adopt this model in some form or fashion in their practice.
Q: What are the hesitations physicians typically have when starting a DPC practice?
A: As you can imagine, the horror stories that many physicians and residents hear of having their own practice have dissuaded them from having a private practice clinic. Many become employed with hospitals or insurance companies, and most become very unhappy being just an employee. The thought of starting one’s own practice leads to hesitation because of a fear of the unknown; “how do I do it? What do I do? Whom do I talk to?” All that can frighten many away from DPC, but I believe if you do your due diligence- if you read about it and talk to other physicians who are doing it- you develop your own model, it can be done. Seek out good legal counsel to make sure that everything is appropriate with what you’re going to do. If you have the desire and the drive to make healthcare better and do what’s right for the system, you will be successful and, I believe, have a quality of life and a practice that most physicians would dream of.
Healthcare2U’s DPC program is changing healthcare
As mentioned in the first blog, DPC is growing in popularity because of its benefits to physicians and patients. In addition to those benefits, Healthcare2U’s DPC focuses on the benefits for employers, helping them contain their healthcare costs. Now offering even more benefits than before with our new Direct Primary Care advantage (DPCa) product, you’ll see why Dr. John and many others agree DPC is a growing trend that’s here to stay.
With DPCa, you’ll receive:
- $0 visit fee for annual physicals and labs
- $0 visit fee for unlimited in-person acute care
- $0 visit fee for unlimited in-person urgent care
- $0 visit fee for unlimited in-person chronic care
- $0 visit fee for 24/7 virtual care
- Concierge and patient advocacy through our Patient Advocacy Line (PAL)
- Nationwide footprint of physicians ready to provide quality care
DPCa advocates for preventative care to lower costs for employers and keep employees happy and healthy. With our PAL, employees are also guided through every step of their benefits and have a bilingual medical professional who will triage and book their appointments, so they’re never left to figure out their membership alone.
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