What is Direct Primary Care (DPC)?

Step outside the broken healthcare system. Get the care you deserve at a fair, transparent price.
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How DPC is Changing Everything

The Difference

Why is DPC Different?

Direct primary care, or DPC for short, is a simple idea that solves a very complex problem.

Here’s a thought experiment: what if you took all the worst parts about healthcare in America — insurance companies and their mountains of paperwork, greedy corporate hospital systems that don’t care about patient satisfaction, highly paid office staff to file insurance claims for your doctor, and all the shadowy middlemen trying to eliminate price transparency — and you threw them all out the window. That’s DPC in a nutshell.

It’s clear that the current system doesn’t care about providing great care. Have you ever scheduled an appointment months in advance, only to sit in the waiting room for an hour, followed by an unsatifying 10 minute doctor visit? That’s par for the course these days.

DPC is different.

As a DPC patient, you forge a relationship with a doctor that knows you. No more scheduling months in advance; Dr. Springston is at your fingertips. If you need an in-person visit, you can usually book one the very same day or next day.

Your doctor will stay on top of your health: running preventative tests, diagnosing you when you’re sick, prescribing medicines (and soon, dispensing them to you directly at wholesale prices — no extra trip to the pharmacy!), negotiating low prices on blood tests and scans, quickly addressing any health concerns or questions you have, and—if necessary—coordinating your care with specialists and hospitals. Dr. Springston will even give you her direct email and texting information so you can contact her with any questions or concerns!

 

How is this possible?

By cutting insurance out of the picture. Insurance is fundamentally incompatible with providing comprehensive, compassionate care. When a doctor bills your insurance, they are forced to submit an itemized list of each and every medical service they provided. If they don’t, they won’t get paid. But—surprise, surprise—no insurance company will pay a doctor for answering one of your texts, reminding you to avoid red meat, answering on the first ring when you call, opening the door for you when you arrive at the office, or asking about your family! You expect, and frankly, deserve, to be treated like a person….not a number.

In DPC, you pay a flat monthly membership fee, usually around the size of your cell phone bill. You can pay with your credit card or direct checking withdrawal—no more clipboards with pages of insurance paperwork, guessing what the co-pay is and still getting a bill months later.

If it seems like everything is a subscription these days, that’s because it’s the best way for a business to offer a high-quality service and excellent support over a long period of time. What if Netflix nickel-and-dimed you for every episode of The Crown you watched? It would be awful, that’s what. DPC is like Netflix: you get access to nearly unlimited care for one low monthly price.

This is healthcare like you’ve never experienced it. It’s like having a doctor in the family.

It’s time to get Proactive, instead of just reactive.

Questions

FAQs

What is direct primary care (DPC)?
DPC is a new way to get high quality, comprehensive healthcare from a doctor who is thorough and cares about you, all for a low, flat monthly fee.

Dr. Springston has decided ditch the broken healthcare system, leave her unrelenting hospital-affiliated jobs, and start providing care at reasonable prices. It’s that simple. No insurance, no corporate health system, no middlemen. Just the doctor and her patients.

Practically speaking, DPC is a membership model for healthcare. Every patient pays a flat monthly fee to become a member of the DPC practice. What are the benefits of membership? Put simply: access to a doctor that cares about you.

What are the benefits of a direct primary care membership?

What are the benefits of a direct primary care membership?
Put simply: your DPC doctor is there when you need them.

You get up to 20 office visits per year at no additional charge—and they’ll be as long as you need. Typically you’ll be able to book a same-day or next-day appointment, soon, directly through this website. You’ll have access to your Dr. Springston’s cell phone number, so you’ll be able to call or text them any medical questions as needed. Some simple diagnostics (e.g. strep tests) and blood tests may be performed in office for a small additional charge as listed on the transparent fees page. If you have a major issue, Dr. Springston will coordinate any specialist referrals or hospital care – and have the time and resources to effectively communicate with your other providers.

Below is a comprehensive list of services provided by HealthSprings Internal Medicine. Most of these services are provided as an included perk of membership; others are often provided for a small additional fee.

  • Treating common everyday problems like colds, flu, strep throat, rashes, burns, joint injuries, and other wounds.

  • Making sure you are up-to-date on all recommended preventative screening, like colonoscopies, pap smears, and EKGs.

  • Managing chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or thyroid disorder. Dr. Springston will work with you to formulate a long-term personalized management plan.

  • Performing minor procedures. If you need a minor procedure like a mole or wart removal, joint injection, stitches, or nail repair, Dr. Springston is able help with that.

  • Managing your specialist care. If you have a medical issue that can’t be handled by your primary care physician, you’ll be referred to a doctor that can continue your treatment. Dr. Springston won’t just shoo you out the door; she‘ll work closely with the specialist to make sure there is seamless continuity of care. If you a hospital admission is necessary, Dr. Springston can visit you with a courtesy consult during your stay, coordinate with the admitting physician and advocate for your health and well-being during your hospital stay.

  • Providing an annual full-body physical and checkup. Dr. Springston will do a comprehensive review of systems at your very first in-person appointment and determine the priority issues to be addressed now and in the future.

How much does direct primary care cost?

The typical monthly fee is about as much as your cell phone bill. That’s a small price to pay for a level of care you literally can’t get anywhere else. Imagine asking your hospital doctor for their personal cell number—they’d probably laugh out loud. Or call your local hospital and ask to schedule an appointment for tomorrow—not likely. Those things—any many more—come free with a DPC membership.

Not to mention: the membership fee can often pay for itself. HealthSprings Internal Medicine has established relationships with local laboratories and radiology centers. That means you can get blood tests, pathology screens, X-rays, MRIs, and more for low cash prices. We will eventually be dispensing commonly prescribed medications in-house at near-wholesale prices, so you can both save money and avoid extra trips to the pharmacy. Plus, as a DPC member, you may be able to save a lot of money on insurance by switching to a high-deductible plan.

In short: being a member of a DPC practice is like having a doctor in the family. Dr. Springston will always be in your corner, working to keep you as healthy as possible. It’s an amazing feeling!

View Our Pricing >>

Can direct primary care save you money?

You bet! Let’s go over some common scenarios where a DPC membership can save you money.

  • #1 You’re taking multiple medications. If you’re taking multiple medications and paying with insurance for all of them, your co-pays are probably stacking up. HealthSprings Internal Medicine will soon be able to dispense common medications directly from the office, so you won’t need to make an extra trip to the pharmacy. Plus, your we will purchase these medications at wholesale prices from a free-market vendor, and we will pass those savings through to you. The value of this service depends on which medications you’re taking. Often your insurance provider will only cover a drug from a particular drug manufacturer, or they’ll require you to use a brand-name version even though a cheaper generic is on the market. If that’s the case you, often have the headache of trying to coordinate between the pharmacy and doctor trying to figure out which medication the insurance company has declared they will cover for that year. With this lost time and medication pricing, you can easily be paying hundreds of dollars a month on medications—money you could save as a DPC member.

  • #2 You get injured. If you get in an accident, break a bone, need stitches, or require emergency medical care of any sort, you’ll probably go to an urgent care or the emergency room. Going to either of these is a surefire way to drain your pocketbook. In the best base scenario, the urgent care center is in your insurance network and you pay a high co-pay—up to $100 in some cases. But that’s only if you’re lucky. Insurance coverage of emergency care is spotty at best, and urgent care centers are known to mislead patients regarding the true costs of care. Even if you verify multiple times that your insurance will cover your care, you can still get hit with big bills. Often urgent cares don’t know if your insurance is actually valid, or they’ll intentionally mislead you.
    Emergency rooms are even worse: you’ll often have to pay a co-pay of $1000 or more just to get seen, PLUS the cost of any additional scans or treatments. There are dozens of horror stories online about unwitting patients who were financially ruined by insane ER bills they thought were covered by insurance. One bad day can cost you thousands of dollars—enough to cover years of a DPC membership. As a DPC patient, you know exactly who to call when you need help
    and hopefully avoid a costly urgent care or emergency room visit.

  • #3 You’re overpaying for insurance. If you’re on an insurance plan named after a precious metal, you shouldn’t be. Health insurance companies have been over-reaching for years—to read more about this, check out this essay on the healthcare crisis. Even the cheapest health plan your employer offers covers WAY more than it should, so don’t get conned out of more money by picking a low-deductible “Platinum” plan.
    As a DPC patient, the
    majority of your healthcare will be taken care of by your DPC doctor. All standard care, wound treatment, blood work, preventative screens, and physicals will either be in your membership. If we’re not equipped to deal with a medical issue, it’s probably serious. And if it’s serious, then you’ll very likely hit your out-of-pocket maximum (OOP). (This OOP is what it sounds like: the maximum amount you can possibly spend on healthcare before your insurance plan starts footing 100$ of the bill.)
    Here’s the thing: the OOP for the cheapest and most expensive plans don’t vary that much. Aetna’s cheapest plan costs roughly $600 per year and has an OOP of $6650. Their most expensive plan costs $4200/year with an OOP of $4000. That means you’d be paying a guaranteed $3600 extra dollars ($4200 – $600) to avoid
    the small chance of paying an extra $2650 (6650 – 4000) on your healthcare. That doesn’t make sense! Unless you’re expecting to suffer a major health crisis every 9 months, you’ll be better off on a cheaper plan. Otherwise, just join a DPC practice and take the cheapest insurance you can find!

Do none of those scenarios apply to to you? Here’s one more:

  • #4 You care about your health. Here’s the thing: direct primary care is the best game in town when it comes to healthcare. Think of it this way: before DPC, only movie stars and the super-rich were able to afford a personal doctor who works tirelessly to keep them healthy. To keep a personal doctor on staff costs around thousands of dollars per month. The rest of us had to a) wait until we were sick before talking to a doctor, then b) schedule a visit weeks in advance just to c) spend 10 minutes with a doctor we’d never met.
    With DPC, everyone can have a personal doctor on speed dial for a shockingly low amount. Having a medical expert at hand to answer questions, keep track of your preventative screenings, advise on your diet and lifestyle, and
    actually care about your happiness was simply not possible before. Now it is. By splitting hairs over tens of dollars per month, you’re missing out on the best deal in healthcare.

Why is direct primary care a monthly membership?
If it seems like everything is a subscription these days, that’s probably because it is! And with good reason: subscriptions are the best way for a business (of any kind) to offer high-quality service and support over a long period of time. If you long for the days when software cost hundreds of dollars and came in a box, DPC might not be for you.

The alternative would be itemized, “usage-based” pricing—the exact pricing scheme used by the traditional healthcare system. And that didn’t work out so well for anyone. There are a hundred little perks of being a DPC patient. Frankly, the benefits of being a DPC patient are too varied and rich to be broken down into a “menu of services”. Paying your DPC doctor for every thing they do would be like paying Netflix for every episode of TV you watch. Sounds awful.

Is direct primary care the same as concierge medicine?
You may have heard of a similar model called “concierge medicine”. While there are similarities with DPC, the two are different in some fundamental ways. For starters, concierge practices often bill your insurance in addition to a monthly fee (though some don’t—which makes them DPC practices!). This means they’re still a part of the insurance industry’s ridiculously complex reimbursement system, so they have to hire administrators to handle all the paperwork. This gets reflected in your monthly fee; the average concierge practice bills $200-300 per month. By comparison, DPC memberships cost approximately as much as your cell phone bill. Concierge was a step in the right direction, but it didn’t go far enough. To bring sanity back to primary care, you need to cut insurance out of the picture entirely.
Should I join a direct primary care practice if I'm healthy?
Absolutely! To be sure, your DPC doctor will always be there for you if you’re get sick or hurt. But they also work proactively to keep you healthy, happy, free of preventable diseases, and living a good lifestyle.

It’s hard to break out of the mindset of the insurance-based healthcare system. In “the system”, everything is centered around treating illness. It’s very hard for a doctor to get paid by an insurance company for detecting early warning signs of diabetes or encouraging a lifestyle change to decrease risk of heart disease. Doctors just aren’t rewarded for encouraging all-around good health. It’s time to get PROactive, instead of just reactive.

By being in constant contact with your DPC doctor when you’re healthy, you’ll be able to stay that way. By the time you’re being treated for a chronic disease, it’s usually too late. But if you spend your healthy years under the watchful eye of a doctor that cares, you’ll be able to stay out of the hospital for years to come..

It’s like having a doctor in the family.

Learn More

Resources

Direct Care Brief

Direct Care is a fast growing business model that puts doctors back in charge of healthcare. It achieves tremendous cost savings and efficiencies by removing intermediaries in both care delivery and revenue collection cycles. The result is a model that truly fulfills the quadruple aim, delivering high quality care, at a responsible price, between enthusiastically satisfied patients and providers.

View PDF

The Sad State of the Healthcare "Market"

The two main players — doctors and patients — have no clue how much anything costs. Instead, they’ve both hired a middleman to decide prices on their behalf, but these middlemen aren’t on your side.

View Article

How Direct Primary Care Will Solve the Healthcare Crisis

Direct primary care has already helped over a quarter million Americans stay healthier, save money, and form a real relationship with their doctor.

View Article

Accessible and personalized medical care with a doctor that takes the time to know YOU.