Another financial upside? Continual payer reimbursement declines have no effect on his revenue. "I think it's definitely possible to be as successful, and I think, especially as this concept grows, even more successful than in the traditional practice," says Dibble.
Direct pay vs. Concierge
Before choosing to transition to a direct-pay practice model, family physician Paul Dibble looked into concierge practice. In the concierge model, patients typically pay an annual or yearly fee for services, rather than paying practices directly at the point of care for each service rendered, as they tend to do in direct-pay practices.
Ultimately, Dibble chose to go the direct-pay route for two reasons:
1. Cost concerns. By opening a direct-pay practice, Dibble felt he would serve a broader range of patients. "Part of what I was interested in doing was providing affordable care and really wanted to make it affordable to even relatively poor people especially who didn't have insurance," he says.
2. Transparency. Dibble appreciated the straightforward approach to fees found in direct-pay practices. "I saw it to be simpler and easier for people to understand the particular costs," says Dibble, whose practice posts fees for services on its website. "If [patients] call up and ask, 'How much does it cost for whatever?' we can tell them very straightforwardly," he says. "There's no kind of catch of, 'You have to be a member in order to get the deal,' or, 'You have to commit to signing up for membership.'"
Aubrey Westgate is an associate editor at Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Physicians Practice.