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  • Michael Sparks, MD

Direct Primary Care vs Concierge Medicine

Updated: Dec 9, 2022


Recent studies have suggested that patients and physicians alike desire a more personal patient-physician relationship. Two models of care exist that really prioritize this personal relationship, Direct Primary Care (that is what we do) and Concierge Medicine. There are certainly similarities but also some key differences.


What is Direct Primary Care?

Direct Primary Care (DPC) patients pay a monthly membership fee directly to their physician; usually around $70-$150 per month. In return, patients get greatly improved access to their physician. Most practices (ours included) provide patients with the physician's cell phone number for direct access via phone calls and texting. Additionally, the membership fee allows for unlimited, no-copay visits that are significantly longer (30-60 minutes or more) than the standard 7-10 minute primary care visit. Face to face visits are also always available same and/or next day. Patients also get wholesale pricing on medications, labs and imaging which greatly reduces out of pocket expenses. At SparksMD Family Medicine, we also include free in-office procedures like joint injections and wart removals to name a few.


The membership fee won't change based on how often we see you. If we need to see you in our clinic 4 times in a month, we will. Even if we need to do a strep throat test and stitch up that avocado injury in addition to a physical for school, it is all covered.


DPC focuses on affordable and transparently priced, highly accessible healthcare. The goal is to save patients time and money while restoring the patient-physician relationship. Membership fees allow DPC physicians to care for a smaller panel of patients which results in highly personalized care; just like your old school Family Medicine Doctor.


What is Concierge Medicine?

Concierge Medicine physicians also charge a monthly fee, usually known as a "retainer." Typically, this fee is several hundred dollars or more per month and usually is charged annually. In addition to this fee, Concierge Medicine clinics will still typical bill insurance for office visits and procedures and there may be additional copays/charges. Concierge docs may be office based but will also see patients at their home or office. DPC and Concierge offer similar benefits of longer visits, less waiting and better access directly to your doctor.


Limitations

Neither DPC nor Concierge Medicine covers the unexpected like emergency surgery, hospitalizations or specialist care. However, with DPC's transparent pricing and wholesale rates many patients find that DPC pairs great with a high deductible/catastrophic insurance plan or even a health share that simply stays on standby should the unexpected happen.



Comments/Questions? Leave them below or email us! info@SparksFamilyMed.com

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