by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
I’ve written a lot about direct primary care (DPC), a simple health care delivery model in which doctors don’t deal with insurance companies. Instead, they treat all of your primary care needs in exchange for an affordable monthly fee. They believe that removing primary care from insurance makes basic health care more accessible – especially for people who have multiple chronic conditions.
Below is an excerpt of an interview I conducted with one of the first members at a local DPC practice in Massachusetts. He talks about how he began to see the value in DPC once his physician left the insurance -based health care system:
“I started having trouble sleeping. I had to sleep partially sitting up. It felt like I couldn’t breathe. When he first saw me, it turned out that I had the most unbelievable heart murmur he had ever heard in his life.”
After having successful heart surgery, he was then diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. His physician helped him coordinate treatment for skin cancer.
“Everything is okay now, pretty much,” the patient says. He then went on to point out key differences between the traditional health care practice he used to be seen at and his physician’s current direct care office.
“When I saw him at his old practice, he was in a frenzy all the time. He maybe had five minutes to talk to me, although I knew he was genuinely concerned. But, now, he has time to be concerned…it’s unbelievable how he watches over me every step of the way. When I see him, he sees me. He speaks with me on the phone. He checks in all the time. If it’s the weekend and I need a prescription to be refilled, I text him and he takes care of it. I would never get that from a regular doctor.”
For more DPC patient stories, keep reading here.