Direct Primary Care Continues to Find Inspiration in Dental Membership Industry

POSTED BY Darren Griffin
Direct Primary Care

Although historically one of the most vital institutions in America culture, the US healthcare system equally resides among our most troubling industries. Steeped in widespread discourse that reverberates with a towering ripple effect, complex solutions for long felt healthcare concerns persist alongside the country’s most paramount challenges.

Up until just recently much of the same could have been said for the dental industry. However, with the emergence of dental membership plans that make proper oral care affordable and accessible to the masses, there’s been a shift in both the perception and effectiveness of the dental industry.

Following years of inaccessible care, insurmountable bills that result in massive debt, weighty deductibles, and general confusion that often makes getting care for you and your family seem daunting, the health care industry is taking a page from the dental industry with direct primary care.

An affordable membership-based plan that provides a “direct” relationship between the physician and patient, direct primary care — or DPC — works with the same functionality as a dental membership plan. In a greater context, the capacity for which direct primary care can impact Americas is vast. Hundreds of thousands of deserving and in-need Americans can benefit from the scaled cost of this revolutionary brand of healthcare. It is, in essence, of the same monumental importance as dental membership plans. Maybe even more so.

Direct primary care, in a vacuum, allows patients to pay a lesser monthly or annual cost for their healthcare needs. For example, Brownstone Healthcare and Aesthetics, in Birmingham, Alabama, will allow new direct primary care members to enroll for a flat fee of $70 per month. At this very reasonable cost, patients can visit their primary care physician an unlimited number of times per month with no co-pay or deductible charges. Up to four family members can enroll for only $185 monthly.

By almost every measure, these plans are cheaper than traditional healthcare cost by a huge margin. From a wider lens, it’s a part of the same system that brought use rideshare services, streaming platforms, and other entities that allow us to purchase only what we desire and none of what we don’t. The largest benefit of this direct-to-consumer methodology is just that — cost-cutting. Why overpay for the full freight of dental insurance when a dental membership plan is optimal? The same goes for traditional healthcare insurance and direct primary care.

For physician Dr. Kre Johnson of Brownstone Healthcare and Aesthetics, she’s starting her direct primary care program with a cap of 1,000 members. She’ll be available around-the-clock via digital access — phone, email, and text — 24 hours a day seven days a week. Johnson will be wildly more available than many others in her field. It’s that accessibility she feels is missing from healthcare.

“Like the stories we hear our grandparents talking about, the doctor was a part of their family. I want to be part of your family,” Dr. Johnson told Alabama’s YellowStone News. Direct primary care has an intimacy to it that traditional healthcare insurance doesn’t. Dental membership plans, too, expose a similar connectedness not found through more traditional avenues.

Direct primary care is scaling upwards in big and small markets to support its far-reaching, positive implications. Hallmark institution Johns Hopkins opened its DPC program in January.

“Direct Primary Care offers longer in-person appointment times, same-day appointments and extended office hours. Members can also connect with a Direct Primary Care provider through video visits, virtual consultations,” Johns Hopkins told the Eye on Annapolis. Hopkins’ DPC Clinic [for now] will be accessible to only employees of the Johns Hopkins Health System.

As this emerging industry widens to touch varying points of the healthcare sector, its offerings will increase in variety. Plans will be more available and at price points that find commonality with the market they aim to serve. We’ve always been an a-la-cart society. The current successes and future triumphs of both dental membership plans and direct primary care reflect those cultural tendencies.