Mon. Sep 27th, 2021

I continually read about more and more Healthcare Benefits Providers who mention DPC in their plans. For example, here is an article you should read: This Employer-Built Healthcare Benefits Provider Is Challenging Wall Street. They talk about Mitigate Partners and here is a snippet about them:

Mitigate Partners is a group of independent consultants who help contain the costs of healthcare for employers and helps employees get the best benefits for less. Currently, Mitigate Partners has 29 locations from the east coast to as far west as Nevada with many more to come. After reading the article by Brill, Schuessler created The FairCost Health Plan which is one of the many tools used by Mitigate Partners. The goal of it is to cut any unnecessary costs for employers and to make the process, transparent, and easier. When creating the plan, Schuessler used his frustration in the “outlandish” healthcare system to create a cohesive way to attack the establishment.

So what is one of the foundations that Mitigate Partners wants to build upon? DIRECT PRIMARY CARE!!

Mitigate Partners sees building a healthcare plan like building a house, with each savings component of their plan being a brick. Starting with strong foundational components such as Direct Primary Care, additional savings components (bricks) are added to create a customized plan for each employer that protects their employees while concurrently cutting the cost for construction. One way it’s done is to help each employer actively manage their plan by stopping the reliance on passive management by the bigger names in healthcare and instead create a personalized healthcare model.

As much as I get excited to hear about this, I also get worried. For example, I know a local “DPC” group that really isn’t DPC. It looks good on paper but it is just a membership model. The patients don’t have the real DPC experience where upon they can have their own personal doctor. They can’t text or email or call her and get an immediate response from her. The patients, which are all from different employers, don’t even understand what real DPC is. All they are getting is the ability to go to different urgent care facilities any time they want. And there is NO difference in the treatment for the DPC patients than the FFS patients. Does Mitigate Partners see that as DPC? I don’t know.

What do you think? How can we teach these Healthcare Benefits Providers about the real DPC offices? How can we get them to work with you? I am all ears and will contact them if you want.

21960cookie-checkHow Can DPC Capitalize on the Love They Get From Healthcare Benefits Providers?

By Doug Farrago

Douglas Farrago MD is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Douglas Farrago, MD received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia in 1987, his Masters of Education degree in the area of Exercise Science from the University of Houston in 1990, and his Medical Degree from the University of Texas at Houston in 1994. His residency training occurred way up north at the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine. In his final year, he was elected Chief Resident by his peers. Dr. Farrago has practiced family medicine for twenty-three years, first in Auburn, Maine and now in Forest, Virginia. He founded Forest Direct Primary Care in 2014, which quickly filled in 18 months. Dr. Farrago still blogs every day on his website and lectures worldwide about the present crisis in our healthcare system and the effect it has on the doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Farrago’s has written three books on direct primary care: The Official Guide to Starting Your Own Direct Primary Care Practice, The Direct Primary Care Doctor’s Daily Motivational Journal and Slowing the Churn in Direct Primary Care (While Also Keeping Your Sanity) are all best sellers in this genre. He is a leading expert in direct primary care model and lectures medical students, residents, and doctors on how to start their own DPC practice. He retired from clinical medicine in October, 2020.

5 thoughts on “How Can DPC Capitalize on the Love They Get From Healthcare Benefits Providers?”
  1. I know Carl Schuessler and some of his team of advisors; they are legit. They understand our frustration and desire to get out. They understand the independent nature of our clinics. They themselves are independent and have separated from the BUCAHs. Still, we need to hold our ground and resist any little bit that advisors may try to suck us back into FFS type plans: coding, prior authorizations, medical management programs like Nurse Deb. Carl and his group do struggle a lot with finding DPC docs to fill the need for large employers and ones that span large geographic areas of the country, this is a huge issue. We DPC docs need to continue to work together to replicate true DPC and expand our foothold.

  2. These days the acronym DPC is used by everyone and their cousin because it has become the buzzword of the day when it comes to something “innovative” that can improve employer/employee benefits etc. and healthcare in general.

    As we have all seen in the healthcare space, there has been a lot of VC money backing unicorns who promise to bring the next big shiny thing to healthcare. Tons of money thrown at startups and we have seen IPOs and acquisitions too.

    I have met with several vendors in the last year blatantly using the term DPC in their material and even their names, and they can’t be further from being DPC. I called one rep out on it and he was absolutely furious.

    As a benefits consultant, who has many groups that have huge participation in local brick and mortar DPC practices that are independently owned, I know which DPC practices are the real McCoy and which ones aren’t. We only work with the ones who can take care of patients the way the model was designed to do this.

    We steer far far away from practices and doctors who do FFS and dabble in DPC on the side.

    I also use DPC for myself and my family and have been for about 6 or 7 years. As a consumer I understand the value of DPC first hand. I can’t tell you how many “brokers” I ask when they start throwing around the DPC lingo who their DPC doctor is. Not many has one and when you ask why, they have some lame excuse why they don’t use DPC for themselves and their families.

    You can also look at benefit agencies who offer benefits to their employees. There are very very few that actually offer DPC to their employees, but on their websites and in their presentations they will talk about the benefits of DPC while they aren’t willing to walk the walk. At the same time they ask the DPC practices in their areas to help them get new clients because they “get it” when it comes to DPC.

    Then you get the regular brokers who will torpedo any idea of DPC if their clients brings it to them. Instead they will sell them a high commissioned wellness program that actually doesn’t help anyone except their commissions.

    Another excuse used by the negative naysayers is: “where is the data?” So this brings us to the coding and tracking scenario that DPC doctors want to avoid. I have answers for this. Look at dark matter in the universe. We know it is there, we know it makes up most of the mass in the universe, but we can’t quite explain it properly at this time. Doesn’t mean it isn’t there. My response will be to people who want to live and die by the data is the John Maynard Keynes quote “It is better to be a roughly right than precisely wrong”. Would you rather have everyone go into FFS or would you prefer most people use DPC first before they are put on the hamster revenue wheel we invented with all it’s perverse incentives and revenue driven overtreatments and unnecessary treatments? If some still says FFS, then they have a different agenda.

    When I design a high performance health plan DPC is the foundation. No need to incentivise this approach, the model does it all by itself. Easy access, doctor patient relationship, trust, no cost to use, advocacy and better health outcomes. The employers who understand the value of this understand that they are actually investing in healthcare, not in health insurance. They are helping their employees remain healthy, get healthy and have easy access to healthcare. They also save employees a lot of money in out of pocket costs that would have hurt them in the regular FFS model.

    To the real DPC doctors out there who are working hard to help their patients and their communities, everyone truly thanks you for your service and dedication. There are benefits advisors and consultants out there who are on your side.

    Always ask the following questions to any broker who comes knocking on your door:
    – Do you have a DPC doctor for yourself and your family? Who is it?
    – How many employers do you have with a DPC program? Can we talk to them to hear their testimonials about you and their DPC experience?
    – Does your agency offer benefits to it’s employees and is DPC an option? Which doctor/s do you use?

    I can literally talk about this stuff all day long……………………

    1. This is phenomenal stuff! You are 100% right. I literally spent an hour on a Zoom conversation yesterday with Carl Schuessler Jr. who is saying the same thing. My issue is how to get to the endpoint where the right benefits managers are vetted and married with the right DPC docs and not DINOs.

  3. Shane, I hear you and understand the concern about getting sucked back into the FFS vortex, but how can we do it better? My humble opinion is that DPC will forever be relegated to an also-ran, niche solution unless we can successfully work with the existing infrastructure. It would be a shame if the purists convinced the DPC community that they should swear off everything else. That’s a one way ticket to catering to the affluent and the affluent only, in my view. That’s fine as far as it goes, but I believe DPC has the potential to completely change the provisioning of care for all Americans. Please consider lending your support to those who are working in good faith and trying to make a difference by broadening access to DPC through more traditional channels.

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