“Years ago, doctors made a living by getting paid for their services directly by the patients they treated. That arrangement was simple. It made sense back then and it makes sense today.”
That approach, called direct primary care (DPC), is a blog post subject written by Dr. Tim Ryan, a family physician who has adopted DPC for his Cartersville, Ga., practice.
DPC is a management style gaining popularity among healthcare providers in private practice. Typically, DPC providers structure their charges on a pay-per-service basis or offer treatment for common ailments* based on a pre-set monthly fee (sometimes called “concierge” or “retainer” medicine). (*Editor’s note: CHM is a voluntary cost sharing ministry, not health insurance. As such, CHM usually does not share doctor visit charges. More information is available on our Programs & costs page and in Guidelines O and P.)
Dr. Ryan, who has adopted the pay-per-service model, charges $100 per visit for new patients, $25 for a basic metabolic panel blood test and $100 for a Pap smear. Prices for other services are clearly outlined on his website.
“Paying for computers, phone lines, office space and staff just to manage insurance payments costs a lot of money, which must be recovered by charging a lot per patient,” Dr. Ryan said. “I can now spend more time with patients and provide better care—all at a much lower cost.”
Dr. Ryan has a small staff and his wife, Jonna, is his office manager. The Ryans are strong proponents of free market healthcare, which wikipedia.org describes as a system in which “prices for healthcare goods and services are set freely by agreement between patients and healthcare providers, and the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority.”
They were therefore pleased to learn about CHM and became members in Feb. 2014.
“We chose CHM over other health cost sharing organizations because it was evident that the ministry staff understands that, in order to keep prices reasonable and fair, patients must be responsible for paying doctors (or other providers) directly,” Dr. Ryan said. “We’re avid supporters. We recognize that CHM is blessing many people.”
Editor’s note: To find a direct care primary practice in your state, visit mydpc.org/dpc-directory or dpcfrontier.com. Alternatively, you can visit the CHM provider directory. Physicians listed in the CHM directory are not necessarily DPC providers, but rather are providers that other members have recommended or have themselves expressed an interest in treating CHM members.
More information about free market healthcare can be found on the Free Market Medical Association website at fmma.org; the site also contains a direct primary care search.