by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
There are many great things about direct primary care (DPC). For an affordable monthly payment, patients are granted around-the-clock care, and doctors can spend more time with their patients. They can make house calls. They can dispense prescription medications in-house.
The list goes on….
One of the best things about DPC, however, is that it comes in a variety of flavors. Solo practitioners operate their own DPC establishments. Others practice under a hybrid model, in which a physician group accepts insurance and also delivers basic health care without the middleman. Others cater to large self-insured employers (both private and public) as a preventative health care benefit option for their workers.
And then there is St. Joseph Primary Care, a nonprofit direct care clinic located in Raleigh. Founded in August 2014 by a husband and wife team, the clinic believes that sustaining improved health outcomes for patients is a combination of more time spent with the clinician and tapping into one’s faith in God.
Having spoken with executive director Peter Le, the clinic runs on a “Robin Hood” model. Patients’ quarterly or annual membership fees help to offset the cost of charitable care provided to members unable to pay. I’d like to think of the approach as more of a “Good Samaritan” model – not so much Robin Hood, since that involves stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Through St. Joseph Primary Care, patients (also known as benefactors) are willingly contributing portions of their annual membership fee to help those less fortunate. It is comforting to know that these funds are directly benefiting patients who are struggling to access basic health care needs.
For more information on St. Joseph Primary Care, you can peruse its website here.