It’s about time for employers to realize that superb primary care means better health, less lost work days, greater satisfaction, greater productivity and a significant drop in the employers’ total health care costs. What to do? Support clinics that assign limited numbers of patients (employees) to each PCP or place dollars in an HSA account that can be used by the individual to buy retainer/membership of a direct primary care physician.
It’s about time for patients to realize that high quality primary care is worth the price. We are used to the concept that insurance “pays for everything.” But with high-deductible policies, we will pay for primary care out of pocket anyway. So get rid of the insurer middle man and select a PCP who will give you the time you need.
FURTHER READING: Physician-designed EHRs work better for doctors
It’s about time for PCPs to individually decide that “I’m not going to take it any longer” and make the switch to a practice that pays as well but allows the time necessary with each patient. Reducing from 2,500 to 3,000 or more patients to 500 to 700 allows reducing the patients seen per day from 24 to 30 down to about 10 to 12. Called direct pay, direct primary care, membership, retainer-based or concierge, the concept is to offer each patient same or next day appointments lasting as long as needed, extensive wellness and preventive care, use of email and access to the PCP’s personal cell phone 24/7.
It is about time for primary care physicians to understand that no one else will force the changes needed so that they must work together through organizations like Primary Care Progress to advocate for change.
It about time for medical students to realize that they actually can have a satisfying career in primary care provided they opt for a practice model that allots the time needed for each patient yet earns them a similar income.
It’s about time patients need doctors that offer enough time. PCPs need time: time to listen, to think, to treat, to prevent. Absent such time, the United States will continue to experience a crisis in primary care—a crisis that means frustrated PCPs, dissatisfied patients, less-than-ideal care and an increasing shortage of PCPs, and with all of this, a continued increase in the rapidly growing cost of care.
It’s about time for a change.