39554244_blogDirect primary care (DPC), a billing and payment arrangement between patients and providers, does not send claims to insurance providers. DPC is an alternative to the more traditional fee-for-service (FFS) model in which the services are unbundled and paid for separately. Transitioning from FFS to DPC is extremely beneficial for both the patients and the providers. Here are a few reasons you should consider making the transition and a few tips to help you along the way.

Why Make the Switch?

If you’re on the fence about making the switch, consider these benefits:

  1. It gives doctors more times to spend with patients. The FFS model encourages physicians to see more patients in order to make more money. DPC, on the other hand, allows doctors to give patients better care and more of their time.
  2. The retainer fee payment structure makes the operations simpler. With DPC practices, many doctors see much lower operating costs than traditional primary care practices because they do not need personnel for sending claims to third-party payers.
  3. Your practice does not have to be in contract with an insurance carrier. You still have the option to stay in contract. If you do, you have more freedom to switch things up. This allows you to stay in contracts that are economically beneficial for your business and patients and opt out of those that are not.
  4. It can help improve the work-life balance. Paperwork often keeps doctors working long hours. DPC reduces the paperwork and helps physicians better balance their lives outside of work.
  5. Patients get easier access. Because of the DPC contract, patients are able to gain access to their doctor with greater ease. This means that they can get the care that they need. Some DPC practices are able to offer more office hours and keep a physician on-call 24-hours a day.

Many doctors hear about these benefits and cannot wait to switch. Who wouldn’t want to be able to give their patients better care? The transition can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be if you know what steps to take.

Important Steps to Take

If you know you want to switch to DPC, you have to take some important steps:

  1. Learn more about DPC. Before you can be really certain, you have to do a lot of research. Use online DPC toolkits to learn everything you need to know about DPC, the transition and everything in between.
  2. Perform an evaluation. You can evaluate your practice to figure out if DPC would be beneficial. Find out if the physicians and patients are interested, look at the cost trends, and figure out if it’s the right step for your practice.
  3. Find out about available resources. There are a lot of consultants and attorneys who can help you through the transition. You must reach out to these different resources in order to make the process easier.
  4. Inform the patients. You have to let your patients know about the new direction you are hoping to take. Let them know what DPC entails and what it can mean for their experience. You can do this by sending out letters and holding informative meetings.

Transitioning from one billing and payment model to another may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Do some research, use the tools available and be completely forthcoming about the switch to make your transition that much simpler.

Choose the Model With the Most Benefit

When it comes down to it, DPC is a great payment and billing model, but it may not be the model for your practice. You have to do the necessary research so you can figure out which model is really right for you. However, you’ll never know what you can gain if you don’t find out more.

Once you have done the research, you simply have to pick the model that has the most benefit for you, the other doctors and your patients. Stop making paperwork the priority. Instead, put patients back in the spotlight by transitioning to DPC. The benefits are outstanding and the process is not that tricky.

Sources:

  • http://www.aafp.org/practice-management/payment/dpc/faq.html