Direct care in charitable clinics

by Josh Roberts

Direct primary care is an interesting model that cuts insurance out of the healthcare equation. Direct care is a model in which patients pay their provider directly, rather than using a third-party like insurance or Medicare. Concierge care is sometimes used interchangeably with direct care, but more often refers to the level of service (e.g. having the doctor’s cell phone number, receiving immediate text responses) the patient receives from the direct care.

Recently, direct care in charitable clinics has started to take hold. Un- or under-insured patients making regular, affordable payments directly to their doctor simplifies the process for both parties. An ECHO client in San Jose, CA, Healing Grove Health Center, is already doing charitable direct care. Here they are talking about it on ZDoggMD’s podcast:

In the future, I hope ECHO has the opportunity to serve more physicians entering into direct charitable practice. Though it’s too early to be sure, direct care that addresses charitable needs seems to be a viable option that delivers access and allows physicians to practice medicine the way they want.