Review: "Would Paying Your Doctor Cash Up Front Get You Better Care?" - NPR
February 7, 2016
This article, posted on NPR by Shefali Luthra on Jan 13, 2016 discusses "direct primary care."
My main concern about this article is its tagline; the article does a really good job of showing alternative models to accessing care. Hooray! But unfortunately, it doesn't dispel the dangerous assumption that "money" equals "better care." There are good providers who take insurances just like there are good providers that don't. I'm hoping that the editor was simply hoping to score sensationalist points with the title.
However, when you read the article, I think they do a great job of introducting another approach to healthcare access.
It's funny to me that someone gave it a name like "direct care" when it' s just the same care that we've been giving for centuries. It's like saying "vital wet liquid" instead of "water."
The article discusses how some providers do the "concierge" model where you pay a membership fee while others just charge a set rate for the services they provide. They explain that companies and governments (like New Jersey) are taking notice to see if they can do something similar in an effort to decrease costs.
I did cringe when I read: "There's already a nationwide shortage of primary care doctors. In this model, physicians see fewer patients, potentially exacerbating that shortage's impact." Riddle me this: why would anyone WANT to become a primary care doctor in a system like ours? And to expect someone to stay in that broken system and take a beating everyday seems barbaric. Instead, the author could have interviewed those doctors to learn that their quality of life has improved and as a result, the people they can help are doing better.
The PSYCH plan empowers "direct care" and "concierge" models because it places all the emphasis back on the licensed provider to list their fees and do what they are trained to do. And PSYCH plan eliminates the need to involve governments and companies altogether. Imagine the clarity that comes with removing so many players from such an unnecessarily crowded field. Moreover, PSYCH plan creates competition between providers so that quality goes up and costs go down; too bad this article didn't explore that possibility.