By Michael McGrady
Registration is open for the 2019 edition of an annual conference for doctors who are turning the country’s backward health care system right-side up.
Last year’s conference, titled “Direct Primary Care 2018: Nuts and Bolts to 2.0” and hosted by the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation, drew record numbers of physicians from across the U.S., as health care professionals from 41 states rallied at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
Attendees were greeted with a cocktail reception before devoting the next two days to teaching and learning about direct primary care. Speakers, breakout session presenters, and regular attendees coached their fellow doctors in all aspects of how to launch and grow their own direct primary care practices.
Direct primary care is disrupting the dominant and costly insurance-based model by enabling patients to pay doctors directly for care. Patients across the U.S. are obtaining unlimited doctor visits and numerous labs and tests for flat monthly fees ranging from approximately $40 per person to $150 per family.
Doctors who attended received credit for up to 13.75 hours of continuing medical education, which most states require as a condition of licensure. The conference brochure boasts more than 20 sponsors, including the Physicians Foundation.
Movement in the Making
Roaring applause from 370 conference attendees welcomed Dr. Hal Scherz, board secretary of D4PCF, to the stage on the first full day of the conference. Scherz congratulated the crowd for shattering the previous year’s then-record of 263 attendees. Attendance grew by more than 40 percent between 2017 and 2018.
Scherz says the explosive growth of in attendance indicates the direct primary care movement is gaining momentum.
“Our conference has been a way that we have tapped into the enthusiasm and the emotion of the movement,” Sherz said. “I think that they are almost synergistic and they both feed off of each other.”
D4PCF is connecting the current generation of direct-pay doctors with the next generation of innovative physicians, Scherz says.
“We are a vehicle to help promote this movement by bringing in people who are the experts in direct primary care who really were pioneers in this movement,” Scherz said.
D4PCF is the nation’s preeminent nonprofit organization advocating for the direct primary care model. Under this model of care, patients and doctors are able to create intimate relationships built on trust, equitability, and shared values. Supporters of the model emphasize the importance of creating a health care economy that is based on free-market principles, affordable and transparent pricing, and patient choice.
‘Mecca for DPC’
Each year the conference expands on D4PCF’s vision by exposing health care professionals to the modern challenges of running a direct primary care practice. Droves of doctors are choosing these challenges over the physician burnout and insurer- and government-induced headaches associated with the dominant model of health care.
“This is the Mecca for DPC,” Dr. Chad Savage, a Brighton, Michigan-based direct primary care physician and speaker at the conference, said. “The growing attendance shows an increase in enthusiasm amongst physicians selecting direct primary care over the broken insurance system.”
Topics last year ranged from broad to specific. Speakers addressed current trends in health care policy and the direct primary care movement’s footing in Congress and among the states. Breakout sessions delved into marketing one’s direct primary care practice, patient acquisition, and technology.
Keynote speakers included the Trump administration’s James Parker, senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II, and Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a leading think tank for free-market health care reform based in Washington, DC.
Entrepreneurial health care professionals can still register for the 2019 conference, once again at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, on November 14-16.
Michael McGrady (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.