Direct Primary Care for Local Governments
Local governments across North Carolina, like other employers, are wrestling with the question of how to provide quality health care to their employees in a cost-effective manner. Union County in North Carolina has piloted an innovative program in an attempt to both lower the cost of providing health care to its employees and improve the quality of, and access to, that care. In 2015, Union County expanded its health benefits to include a Direct Primary Care (DPC) option for employees.
Direct primary care (DPC) works like a gym membership. In exchange for a monthly, out-of-pocket fee, patients have unrestricted access to their physician and unlimited access to a defined package of services. DPC grants access to whatever primary care the patient needs. And all of this is done for an average monthly fee of around $75.
As health care costs continue to rise faster than the rate of general inflation, county government must necessarily consider new and innovative ideas. The DPC model has the potential to go beyond reforming our local and national health care delivery system and effectively transforming it.