10 Myths Busted About Direct Primary Care

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Direct primary care (DPC) is often misunderstood and laden with controversies. What do you know about DPC? Have you heard anything about DPC that kept you wondering if it’s true? You might have read conflicting information, too. 

Would you consider offering it to your employees if we enlightened you with facts about DPC? Talk to us at Well Life ABQ for more information about DPC and call us at 505-585-2345. 

Before we delve into the myths, let’s compare two health care models – DPC and traditional care. These bullet points give you a better understanding of the myths which involve the two models of care.

  • Long-term and personal vs. fragmented and impersonal: DPC offers personalized health care on a long-term basis. A medical clinician sees a client throughout the healthcare plan.  If needed, a medical clinician refers a client and coordinates with a specialist. 

The traditional model is fragmented care where several medical clinicians attend to a client. It lacks smooth continuity of care and personal touch. 

  • Patient-centered vs. production-oriented: DPC is patient-centered, while traditional care isn’t. DPC focuses on the quality of time with a client. Traditional care deals with a large volume of clients in a limited time.
  • Autonomy vs. third-party interference: DPC isn’t affected by government agencies or insurance companies. However, traditional care deals with third parties that dictate the scope of client care.
  • Preventive vs. reactive: DPC promotes wellness by offering a disease prevention program. It addresses a potential medical problem before it even happens. Traditional care, though, is too busy handling many clients in a crowded space. It doesn’t have time or privacy to squeeze in preventive counseling.
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DPC delivers quality and personalized healthcare services to your employees. Our blog debunks 10 myths about DPC, which may help clear any confusion. 

  1. DPC is for rich people.
  2. DPC is more expensive than traditional health insurance.
  3. DPC is an add-on cost to health insurance.
  4. DPC has limited access to healthcare services.
  5. DPC has hidden charges.
  6. A few medical clinicians are working in DPCs, so receiving health care is challenging.
  7. Google search can be as helpful as consulting a medical clinician in a DPC facility.
  8. Healthy employees don’t need DPC; only those with chronic diseases do.
  9. DPC and Concierge Medicine are the same.
  10. Medical clinicians working in DPC experience burnout, so they can’t give better care than those working in a traditional set-up.

Myth 1. DPC is for rich people.

Fact 1. DPC clients come from all walks of life. According to the Direct Primary Care Coalition, about 300,000 Americans avail of direct primary care services in 48 states. It doesn’t mean that DPC caters to the rich more than the poor. People who are struggling to access healthcare and without insurance also benefit from DPC. 

Well Life ABQ delivers healthcare services to everyone. It includes employees from companies such as yours. More people are struggling financially in accessing healthcare from traditional providers at this time of the pandemic. 

Your employees won’t have to bear the anxiety of seeking medical care. They won’t have to be bothered anymore about the cost when they need it. At the same time, it saves you an overall cost for the healthcare of your employees.

Offering more affordable care helps your employees and your business. It promotes an expanded coverage to your employees’ families and the community. 

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Myth 2. DPC is more expensive than traditional health insurance.

Fact 2. DPC is an affordable healthcare option than traditional health insurance for your employees. Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a recent poll on healthcare costs. The poll reveals  the cost of healthcare as part of household expenses causes worry among Americans. About 34% of insured adults find it hard to afford the cost of health insurance. Other people missed some medical care. And three in ten adults stopped taking medicines due to cost. 

However, DPC charges less than the traditional model for the same services.  Researchers reveal it’s less costly even if you add up copays, deductibles, insurance premiums, and emergency wraparound plans. 

Traditional set-up may burden your employees with the cost of repeated visits. It equates to fees for every visit to a medical clinician. It’s not the case with DPC. Your employees won’t have to spend extra money every time they get a consultation.

DPC has no copays and offers discounts. These convert to savings as an added benefit for your company and your employees. Well Life ABQ offers a low membership fee for your employees. We aim to deliver customized and quality healthcare service at an affordable price. For more details on our membership program for your business, you may send us an email at [email protected]

Myth 3. DPC is an add-on cost to health insurance.

Fact 3. DPC provides services apart from insurance and traditional or fee-for-service model. It replaces the insurance-based and FFS model with patient-centric care through a fixed membership fee. DPC offers a long-term investment that focuses on prevention and not just medical care of clients after diagnosis.

Does this mean that under DPC, medical clinicians’ fees cost less? In a traditional setting, medical clinicians belong to a network. Insurance companies dictate this network. Most medical clinicians who belong to a network may even cost more. Your employees pay for consultation fee on every visit. It’s on top of copays and extra charges on labs and procedures. However, your employees won’t have to pay for those return visits and add-on fees for our medical clinicians and services with us.

Note  some DPCs may require insurance for services not covered by their membership package. Clients with Medicaid or Medicare may still use DPC. But, they can’t send the bill for services to Medicare or Medicaid for reimbursement.  

DPC offers services beyond Medicare. Well Life ABQ offers personalized healthcare: 

  • When you need it: We are available now, later, or tomorrow. 
  • Where you need it: Your employees can call or visit us.
  • How you need it: We offer care management and coordination, acute care, chronic disease management, and preventive care.
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Myth 4. DPC has limited access to healthcare services.

Fact 4. DPC offers an array of health services for your employees. Your employees have three options. First, your employees can schedule a face-to-face appointment with our medical clinician. Second, your employees can avail themselves of our virtual consultation. Third, your employees can call our 24/7 telemedicine facility. 

DPC covers more than consultations. We offer lab tests and procedures. It doesn’t end in giving test results and prescriptions. We provide discounted medicines and continue to monitor the condition of your employees. It also applies to your employees with chronic conditions. Your employees get follow-ups and health education, too. The package  for your employees covers specialist referrals, disease prevention, early detection, and maintenance.

The cost of labs and medical procedures vary for every provider. At Well Life ABQ, your employees’ DPC package covers both services. These services cost less compared with the traditional set-up where they pay for every lab or medical procedure.

DPCs provides convenient remote access for your employees. Assuming some of your employees are mobile or located in different places, they can call us through our virtual communication channels. 

DPC, at the time of pandemic, offers telemedicine. The looming threat of the COVID pandemic has affected the delivery of healthcare services globally. Face-to-face consultations have dropped because of restrictions and lockdowns. This situation resulted in reduced follow-ups, screenings, and vaccinations. It disrupted the routine care of people suffering from chronic illnesses.

We can spare your employees from the inconvenience. Well Life ABQ offers telemedicine for your employees. Studies have shown  telehealth or telemedicine is an efficient tool. It facilitates access to healthcare during the COVID pandemic.

Myth 5. DPC has hidden charges.

Fact 5. DPC has no hidden charges, copays, or consultation fees per visit. We don’t accept insurance, so your employees (please verify) won’t be bothered with waiting for approval and reimbursements for services. What you pay for your employees’ membership package is what you get. There is price transparency.

No two DPCs are alike. DPCs offer their concoction of services. They may vary with their team of medical clinicians, the scope of services, vendors, and suppliers. Insurance may or may still be accepted, and membership packages vary. 

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Myth 6. A few medical clinicians are working in DPCs, so receiving health care is challenging.

Fact 6. DPC practitioners have been increasing through the years. As of 2018, there was about 465,000 primary care practitioners in the US. An estimated 4.5% or 20,000 of medical clinicians have transitioned to DPC. 

Compared with traditional or fee for service set-up, DPC reduces administrative cost. There are 1.5 administrators for every medical clinician in DPC. While in the traditional set-up, there are 4.5 administrators for every medical clinician. It is due to the situation that fewer administrators are processing insurance claims in DPC.

DPC  clinicians devote their time and focus on giving your employees quality care.   Our medical clinician discusses health issues thoroughly. So there’s no rush in the turn-over of clients. It ensures your employees get the attention and best healthcare they deserve.

Medical clinicians are available as much as the ones in a traditional practice. Your employees get the most of the quality service. They communicate with our medical clinician during return visits or out-of-facility for follow-ups. 

It’s crucial for you to choose a DPC that has a team of qualified medical clinicians. Our healthcare team ensures  your employees’ needs are met. They do more than take care of the physical comfort of your employees. They provide psychological and social support as well.

Our medical clinicians don’t just hand out referrals. They deal with medical conditions and refer your employees to specialists only when needed. In such instances, these cases may be severe or complicated already.

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Myth 7. Google search can be as helpful as consulting a medical clinician in a DPC facility.

Fact 7. The worldwide web is a powerful tool for many purposes, but it’s not perfect. It may answer all the medical questions your employees may have in their minds. Pew Research reveals about 59% of US adults use the internet to get health information. About 35% of them use the information to diagnose themselves

But you browsing the internet is like opening Pandora’s box. The gamut of medical information may be generalized and misinterpreted. It can lead to misdiagnosis and self-medication, which results in more harm than good.

Researchers conducted a study of 1,327 participants and their internet use to retrieve medical information. They found out that 65.8% of the participants used their symptoms as search words. Their study also shows  the participants used a hypothesis verification strategy. It was applied when the participants expected a potentially severe diagnosis. 

Government agencies, hospitals, medical schools, and insurance companies host online symptom checkers.  However, checking for symptoms may yield inaccurate results. Researchers conducted an evaluation of online symptom checkers for self-diagnosis and triage. The study reveals  symptom checkers had shortfalls in diagnosis and triage or determining the degree of urgency of medical care.

Seeking health-related information online can be risky or potentially dangerous. Your employees may type in symptoms, which are related to many diseases. It can lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary worry. They may even be spending more money in an attempt to help themselves. Thus, consulting an experienced medical clinician is still best.

DPC helps curb this self-diagnosis practice. All your employees have to do is choose a channel to communicate with us. It may be through our e-mail, direct line, website, or telemedicine. These channels will give them the right and proper medical information from our competent medical team.

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Myth 8. Healthy employees don’t need DPC; only those with chronic diseases do. 

Fact 8. Healthy employees need DPC. Prevention is key to  A healthy life and productive work is the key to prevention. Regular physical exams for your employees are offered regardless of their health status. It detects potential illness before it develops into a disease or gets worse. It decreases cases of disease, contributes to general well-being, and prolongs life.

Prevention is better than treatment with the following benefits for your business and your employees:

  • Early detection of disease leads to better treatment outcomes. More so if your employees are at risk of diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease. These diseases can have complications that add to the emotional and economic burden of your employees.
  • A 2016 study shows preventive care programs reduced the cost of employees’ healthcare expenses because they had fewer visits to the emergency room than those who without access   to a program.
  • Employee absenteeism costs you, too. Productivity losses due to health issues cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee, according to the CDC. It equates to $225.8 billion annually.

Don’t let your employees wait until they get sick to see us. Well Life ABQ provides annual vaccines and labs for male and female employees, such as colonoscopy and pap smear. Nutrition counseling, health teaching, and weight loss or maintenance programs are likewise available. 

DPC works for your healthy employees. It’s most helpful for your employees who have chronic diseases, too. About 60% of adult Americans had at least one chronic condition in 2014. Adults with multiple conditions were at 42%. Some chronic diseases include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.

Chronic figures, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:

  • More than 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year.  
  • More than 868,000  people die of a stroke or heart attack. That’s a staggering one-third of deaths every year in the US!
  • More than 34.2 million people living in the US have diabetes.
  • About 43% of adults and 19% of children in America are obese.
  • About 54.4 million American adults have arthritis. It’s the leading cause of work disability that affects one in every four adults.

Some of your employees may be suffering from chronic diseases. It reduces their work productivity and impacts their quality of life. Well Life ABQ offers a personalized chronic disease management program. We treat your employees as individuals needing care and not just mere numbers in the statistics.

Myth 9. DPC and Concierge Medicine are the same.

Fact 9. DPC and concierge medicine are alike in some ways.   Often interchanged,  the terms have their differences. Both models improve the quality of care of clients. They build better client and medical clinician relationships through longer engagement time.

However, these two healthcare models are different in many ways. These differences include membership fee, coverage, cost, third-party payer, referrals, deductibles, added service, patient status, number of clients, and community presence. 

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Myth 10: Medical clinicians working in DPC experience burnout, so they can’t give better care than those working in a traditional set-up.

Fact 10. DPC  medical clinicians perform as well as  their counterparts who are working in a traditional set-up. 

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), medical clinicians experience burnout, resulting in their shortage. Medical clinicians spend less time with each client because they have to deal with many clients. This situation leads to burnout or stress. 

Recent studies indicate  more than 50% of US medical clinicians experience burnout. Symptoms of burnout of are feelings of physical and emotional exhaustion. Moreover, they tend to feel ineffective and see people as objects instead of human beings. Contributing factors to burnout are excessive stressors. These factors are work-related, personal characteristics, and organizational set-up. The specific causes of burnout include the following:

  • Loss of independence
  • Feeling of powerlessness
  • Computer data dependency
  • Electronic Health Record problems
  • Tough organizational rules
  • Lopsided reward system

Burnout occurs commonly in traditional delivery of health services or fee-for-service. Medical clinicians working in DPC are less stressed than their counterparts in a conventional practice.  The volume of clients or patient panel attributes to burnout.

In a DPC set-up, our medical clinicians spend quality time with fewer clients. A medical clinician sees about 800-1,000 clients instead of about 2,500 in a fee-for-service set-up. A manageable patient panel allows medical clinicians to stay in practice. It decreases burnout and builds better client and medical clinician relationship. 

Moreover, a study reveals that administrative tasks burden medical clinicians. They spend 49.2% of their time on paperwork  compared to 27% attending to clients. Medical clinicians are better off in DPC with less paperwork  and fewer transactions with third-party providers.

DPC fulfills the Quadruple Aim in health care. The Triple Aim intends to improve the US health care system in three ways: improve the population’s health, enhance the client experience, and reduce cost. Experts suggested a fourth aim of healthcare is  improving the work-life of health care providers. 

A study reveals that among 1,331 primary care medical clinicians, 68.6% were satisfied with their work. The AAFP supports DPC as an option to traditional or fee-for-service practice. AAFP notes  DPC builds better client relationships and improves medical clinician satisfaction. Medical clinicians in DPC have less paperwork , fewer clients, and a better work-life balance.

 The fourth aim in healthcare delivery is medical clinician satisfaction. Well Life ABQ not only cares for your employees. We also care for our medical clinicians and staff who provide health-related services to your employees. 

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Bottom Line

DPC, like any other healthcare model, has its share of challenges. It can be two-pronged through the client’s and medical clinician’s perspective. A client faces  the issue of accessibility. People speculate  the fewer clients a medical clinician sees, the harder it will be to get medical access. Others say  people with Medicare or Medicaid plans face  limited funds. 

DPC may impact a medical clinician’s income and practice. Some critics pointed out possible lower income at the start.  Another issue is a client base is difficulty to build. And fewer patients may also mean less revenue in the long run. 

Despite potential drawbacks and limitations, DPC benefits your employees in many ways. It works for your health-conscious employees and those who have chronic diseases. Should you have more questions about our services, you may reach us at 505-585-2345

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