How a direct relationship with your doctor leads to better care and lower costs
A Primary Care Dream Come True
Imagine a world where you spend a full hour with your doctor at each appointment and have nearly unlimited access to them when urgent medical needs arise. Imagine not having to worry about the cost associated with a simple visit to treat strep throat, because you haven’t met your insurance deductible. Imagine having a doctor whose primary goal is to advocate for your health rather than appease the terms of a financial contract set forth by a large insurance corporation. For most Americans, this seems like a far-fetched dream. However, this dream is a reality for others thanks to a model of care called Direct Primary Care (DPC).
Many Americans are looking for lower-cost solutions for their health care, and so are their doctors. A growing number of primary care physicians are ditching their contracts with insurance providers and starting independent practices. These doctors are tired of insurance middlemen regulating how and when they can treat their patients.
The DPC model facilitates easy treatment for minor to moderate health care needs. DPC doctors generally do not accept insurance. Instead, their patients pay a monthly fee for direct access to their provider through office visits, calls, emails, and even texts. DPC doctors treat both children and adults and generally carry out the same functions as regular primary care doctor with slight variations from practice to practice.
An Affordable and Accessible Doctor
Direct Primary Care addresses most, if not all, primary care needs including labs and medications at low prices, and most services that DPC clinics provide, such as bloodwork and simple procedures like stitches, are built into the monthly membership fee. The monthly cost to be a member of a DPC practice is affordable and often falls into the range of other monthly bills such as internet and cell phone bills . In many cases, patients can call or text their provider for medical advice or urgent care. This accessibility saves both patient and doctor time and money since the doctor can begin their assessment of the patient’s need before they set foot in the office.
Because of the increased communication and time with a doctor through direct primary care, patients find they have an improved relationship with their doctor which not only is better for their health but gives them peace of mind . For individuals with high deductible insurance plans, DPC can be an affordable way to take care of basic primary care needs and urgent illnesses or injuries that do not require emergency treatment. Many members of CMF CURO and Samaritan Ministries have found that Direct Primary Care works very well with the health-sharing process as it is an affordable way to take care of their well-care and minor primary care needs that cannot be shared .
Healthcare Centered Around the Human Person
In September 2019, Louis Brown, the executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation, and Dr. Marguerite Duane, a direct primary care physician, spoke at a CMF sponsored panel titled Life Religious Liberty and the Survival of Catholic Health Care in Washington D.C. The event highlighted the future of health care, specifically Catholic health care, in the United States given the impending threats in the current political climate.
During the panel, Dr. Duane spoke to why doctors from all religions and belief systems are leaving insurance companies for DPC. Dr. Duane emphasized that the spiritual and psychological elements of a person’s healing are essential to “the art of medicine.” Because insurance companies regulate the time a physician can spend with a patient, doctors are often unable to truly access the spiritual and psychological needs of a patient, which can be critical to physical healing.
Direct Primary Care allows doctors to practice their “art” on their own terms and enables them to dictate how much time they spend with each of their patients. This extended time together strengthens the doctor-patient relationship, allowing the physician to address all aspects of the human person and totally care for their patients. DPC allows doctors to truly practice medicine to which they have dedicated years of study. They can decide the appropriate course of treatment for their patients freely, thanks to the absence of bureaucratic regulation put forth by insurance companies for the sake of profits.
DPC Compatibility With CMF CURO
By encouraging stronger doctor-patient relationships, Direct Primary Care can provide a space for spiritual and psychological healing which is at the core of CMF CURO’s mission. DPC physicians are able to authentically care for their patients and through this, can reflect the healing compassion of Christ Himself.
CMF CURO in conjunction with a direct primary care doctor has the potential to give members the total and affordable care they are looking for. In times of illness and injury, CMF CURO offers spiritual and communal support to its members through one-on-one consultation and the RISE Program. Immersion in the CMF CURO Community allows members to share their health care costs with a large pool of Christians across the nation and pay their bills. DPC can be an affordable way to take care of most primary care needs that are not sharable under the Samaritan guidelines while giving Catholic doctors space to reflect Christ to their patients. In order to reclaim health care as a space of authentic healing, physicians must be empowered to treat each patient totally and in recognition of their human dignity.
If you are a member of CMF CURO and/or are interested in learning more about how direct primary care practice can lower your health care costs call our main office line at 800-840-7471. Our representatives would be happy to help you!
Mariah Buzza is a survivor of abuse within the Church and writes on topics of healing and personal encounters with grace. She remains a practicing Catholic and is employed by the Christ Medicus Foundation. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018 with a bachelors of arts in Political Science and currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA with her family.