While retainer-based medical practices offering care known as concierge medicine have taken some heat over the years for charging big bucks to patients for improved access and added amenities, some view a different form of retainer care as a cost-saving approach.
Direct primary-care practitioners seek to offer affordable retainer-based care that focuses on wellness and prevention. The difference between direct primary care and traditional concierge care is that direct primary-care providers generally do not accept any form of insurance. The idea is to free the practice from the burden of dealing with insurers to offer hands-on, accessible care at prices that are affordable to the uninsured or those covered by high-deductible plans.
A direct primary-care practice offers the similar expanded access to weekend hours and an increased focus on wellness prevention that concierge-care practices typically offer. For example, clinics run by direct-care for-profit Qliance Medical Management, Seattle, might have a patient visit to deal with a persistent cough or to pass a kidney stone, says Dr. Garrison Bliss, chief medical officer of Qliance, which has been in operation since 2007.