By Michael McGrady
A revolution is afoot in the world of providing affordable, high-quality health care. At the center of this world are doctors and patients who embrace a free-market health care delivery system, rejecting the encroachment of insurance companies on the sacred doctor-patient relationship.
That’s the message to be delivered to a projected 400-plus attendees at the next annual Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation conference on direct primary care (DPC), scheduled for November 14-16, 2019, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida. (Register today.)
Dr. Elaina George, an ear, nose, and throat specialist with a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia, delivered a similar message in a breakout session at last year’s conference in Orlando, which drew 370 attendees. The dominant and expensive third-party-payer system has reduced face time for patient care during office visits, George says.
“The rising costs of running a small business has led physicians to spend less time with patients,” George said.
According to George, doctors should join the direct-pay revolution to reclaim ground insurers have taken from the doctor-patient relationship.
The direct-pay revolution, as profound as the shift from house calls to doctor’s offices a generation ago, calls on physicians to stand up to regulators and advocate for quality, affordable patient care.
“It is our job to reframe the physician [and] seize the opportunity to re-frame our role along with the patient as the foundation of our health care system,” George said.
In her presentation during a breakout session, “Empowering Specialists in DPC,” George prescribed a multipronged attack for direct-pay compatriots. Independent doctors must feel the empowerment to become entrepreneurial, George said. This may mean straying from the Medicare and Medicaid payroll.
Price transparency and using innovative technology will improve the doctor-patient relationship and the overall continuum of care, George said. In addition, physicians should “carve out” clinical partnerships with local established care systems.
Primary care physicians with DPC practices should partner directly with independent specialists, George said. DPC patients pay monthly membership fees to their primary care physicians for treatment most of their health care needs. To meet patients’ other needs, many DPC practices negotiate cash deals with specialists.
George says the reign of government-centered health care is over—or should be.
“You can’t have one size fits all,” George said. “Ultimately, the continued growth of a parallel, free-market health care system, which will provide competition, will help independent doctors, patients, and the health care system.”
A direct-pay, free-market system will free physicians to practice medicine as they are meant to, George says.
“We want to practice medicine using the Hippocratic Oath,” George declared. “My job as a doctor is to be an advocate for my patient.”
Joint the direct-pay revolution. Register today for D4PCF’s DPC conference on November 14-16, 2019, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
Michael McGrady (email@example.com) is a free-market health care journalist. McGrady’s work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner, Newsday, The Hill, Patient Daily, The Heartland Institute’s Health Care News, and others internationally.