HealthDay News — Conversion to direct primary care (DPC)/retainer-based/concierge care models does not necessarily result in patient abandonment, but rather in improved patient care, according to a blog post published June 18 in Medical Economics.
Stephen C. Schimpff, M.D., former chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center, responded to claims that when primary care physicians convert to DPC/retainer-based/concierge care models, patients may be left out or abandoned.
Schimpff notes that if all primary care providers in a community converted at the same time, there could be a serious shortage. However, a gradual conversion process is more likely, and patients whose provider has converted will be cared for by other doctors in the community. Furthermore, DPC, retainer, or concierge care does not need to be expensive, and can allow patients to get better care at a reasonable cost. DPC also allows physicians to practice without burning out. Spending less time on nonclinical paperwork actually increases the amount of time physicians have to see patients, alleviating the shortage.
“In all these direct pay, concierge, and retainer/membership models, the physician and the patient break the bonds with the insurer and replace it with a direct contractual relationship with each other. The result is better care, greater satisfaction by the patient and by the doctor and reduced overall healthcare costs. That is certainly not patient abandonment,” Schimpff writes.