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Medical News & Perspectives
May 22/29, 2018

Is Direct Primary Care a Game Changer?

JAMA. 2018;319(20):2064-2066. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.3173

Denver family practice physician Lisa Davidson, DO, ran a fee-for-service practice for 8 years, her only staff a physician assistant who was also a social worker. By 2011, her practice had grown to 6000 patients, and her rent was about to soar.

Davidson had had enough. “I wasn’t even making 6 figures, and I was killing myself,” she recalled.

Frustrated, she googled “ideal practice” one sleepless night and came across Atlas MD in Wichita, Kansas. That practice does not accept insurance, although patients still need to have insurance to cover health care beyond the scope of primary care. Instead of co-payments and deductibles, Atlas MD patients pay a monthly “membership fee” that covers all of the primary care their physician provides. But more importantly, this retainer guarantees unhurried, same-day appointments and round-the-clock accessibility to their physician, who would get to know their story “inside and out,” thanks to having to care for only around 500 patients.

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