By Staff Writer, The Direct Primary Care Journal
MARCH 14, 2014 – The Direct Primary Care Coalition (DPCC) joined Physicians from many other organizations in Washington DC, including the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Association, and the American Academy of Family Practice. DPCC Steering Committee members held more than twenty meetings with Members of Congress and key staff, including Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means staff involved in drafting legislation top repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).
The SGR repeal bill, (H.R. 4015) which passed out of its respective committees with strong bipartisan support, would allow Medicare to transition from fee for service to alternative payment models, such as the DPC Medical Home model suggested in the Affordable Care Act. The full House has scheduled a vote on the SGR Bill this Friday, March 14. An identical bill (S.2000) awaits consideration in the full Senate.
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“We know that every dollar spent on the kind of high performance primary care DPC can deliver can return at least three dollars in savings, better access and patient satisfaction,” said DPCC Chairman Garrison Bliss. “Medicaid patients in Seattle have access to DPC. Truck drivers and grocery clerks have it in West Virginia. Longshoremen in New York, and ski instructors in Colorado have it. Medicare patients do not. Companies that offer HSAs to their employees can’t contract with DPC practices. The DPCC is here in Washington to tell Congress that this can and should change now.”
As the nation’s healthcare system prepares to cope with an influx of 30 million newly insured Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act, physician entrepreneurs are leading medicine down a new path that will see more doctors listing their prices and connecting with customers much like the days before managed care and administratively burdened insurance. DPC physicians are able to run a very low cost clinic that is for the most part, cash only. Clinics and physicians like Qliance are now being opened across the country, many with extended hours that caters to a more patient-centered relationship with a physician.
“Interestingly, doctors across the country are becoming more transparent about their fees,” says Michael Tetreault, Editor of the industry trade publication, The Direct Primary Care Journal, covering DPCC activities. “This is all happening at a time when the cost of health care is rising. We have an era coming with more innovation in health care delivery in our country than we’ve had in a generation. The way health care is delivered will radically change and the focus will be on you, the customer. Employers are on alert as well and are switching to high-deductible health plan policies where employees are now responsible for a certain amount of dollars upfront before the company picks up the cost. When that happens, we’re going to start looking at health care like a consumer, become more cost conscious and less reliant on a piece of plastic in our wallet.”
“In this time of tremendous upheaval, the implications of this person-centered, effective, efficient, and easy to deploy model of care are powerful,” says Dr. Erika Bliss, a Family Physician at Qliance Medical Group of WA and President/CEO of Qliance Medical Management Inc.
DPCC Steering Committee members also lobbied Congress for changes in the tax code, which would allow DPC to work appropriately in conjunction with Health Savings Accounts.
DPCC members will be back in Washington in June in advance of the DPC Summit to continue the push to advance reforms that will allow all patients access to a personal DPC physician. Additionally, The DPC Journal reports that a second national gathering focused on Direct Primary Care (DPC) will be held in Washington, D.C. on June 20-21, 2014.
To stay abreast of the issues concerning direct primary care programs, look for more information at www.DirectPrimaryCare.com.