Thursday, May 1, 2014

Direct Primary Care: Challenges and Pitfalls II

OK, so everyone in our office had to shift attitudes to embrace Direct Primary Care while still appreciating "Traditional" Care.  We had meetings.  We fretted as our attitudes smoldered.  We had six or seven ways to answer the phones with a DPC schpiel if a potential new patient called.  Traditional new patient wannabees were surprised that we weren't taking any patients with insurance.  Potential DPC folks were also confused.  Many people stretched the truth (lied) to try to get into our practice as a patient.  Several became patients, but hadn't agreed in their heart that they would bring the whole family- our niche for 33 years of Family Medicine practice.

The Christian couple from the coffee house showed up and understood the model of care.  It was fun to see them (I gave a couple mini lectures about DPC at the coffee house and they told many people coming in for coffee or food about DPC and our practice).  They understood how the lab charges worked for outside labs.  They brought some comfort to the process.

The phones:  "Yes, we're currently taking new families into our Direct Family Medicine (DFM) Track. It's for people without primary care insurance who want a different approach to health care, more personalized care and/or a physician who will listen to them."
"If one of those people is you then our practice might be a good fit.  It's definitely not for everyone, though.  AND, It's definitely NOT INSURANCE"

The attitudes- We went "all in".  All new continuity patients had to sign into our Direct Family Medicine Track.  (We have committed to our insured patients to accept everyone in their household.  Some of them sort of "trickled" in as insured new patients even after we started the DFM Track.)

Our style is to "ooze" into new things, so we're continuing to ooze into DFM.  We're changing slowly and ducking frequently.  With intense staff and patient loyalty, we're continuing to love our traditional patients while hugging our way into DFM.

Each Direct Primary Care practice is different.  That's part of the fun as each tries to be sensitive to the needs of a specific community.  One size does not fit all.  One "Pure DPC" Family Practice in Ohio started and closed about two years ago because the financial need versus cash available resulted in financial problems.  It ain't easy, Folks, but is sure is fun.

More later.

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