Why Did I Switch To Direct Primary Care?

When people ask me why more and more doctors are moving from the traditional insurance based system to the Direct Primary Care (DPC) model, I tell them that we are dedicated to taking care of our patients without the interference of bureaucrats, administrators, or anyone else that impedes a good doctor-patient relationship.

The current system is breaking the spirit of so many men and women who dedicated their youths and their fortunes to become healers.  We all started as idealists and optimists, but now, most are disgruntled, cynical, and burnt out.  This negative transformation has not occurred because of taking care of patients, but because they labor under a system where they are the ones actually doing the work and caring for patients, but their lives are being controlled by bean counters and pencil pushers who don’t understand the first thing about providing high quality, compassionate medical care.

To most administrators, patients are merely pegs to be put in the holes of any doctor’s schedule, or better yet, that of a mid level (non-physician) provider who they can pay even less.  Administrators and CEOs don’t understand or care that someone who is older and has many medical problems, or someone who is very sick, scared, anxious, or depressed, may need more than the 5-15 minutes allowed.

It is time for doctors and patients alike to say, “Enough!”  Neither should be slaves to a third party insurance system or big box medical clinic that hurts them more than it helps.

I advise my patients, friends, and relatives to 1) find a Direct Primary Care physician  2) get the highest deductible insurance you can find (or a faith based sharing ministry) and 3) fund a health savings account (HSA) for all costs in between.  Then, you only deal with insurance if you really need it, like for an emergency or operation. This is how insurance is supposed to work.

Imagine if all doctors refused to be the galley slaves of the dysfunctional health care system, and all patients refused to participate in their own fleecing as well.  We all need to remember that the insurance companies and government need us more than we need them!

Doctors working directly with and for their own patients is the principle upon which DPC was founded.  By cutting out the expensive insurance and administrative middlemen, the cost of providing care plummets.  Patients are better cared for.  Doctors have more professional and personal satisfaction.  Everyone saves money.  It is a win-win for everyone…except for the big insurance conglomerates and high paid hospital administrators.

I am okay with that.

Michael A. Ciampi, M.D.

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