Embracing DPC Takes Dedication and Sacrifice

My friend and colleague, Julie Gunther MD, is highlighted in the most recent AAFP News magazine.  I recently spent a lot of time with Julie at a business conference (Inc Magazine) where we got to know each other much better. I was NOT at the DPC Summit to hear her talk but I know what she said.  I have heard her lecture twice before and she is an excellent speaker and extremely honest and passionate. It is no wonder the AAFP gave her the headline in their recent online journal.

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  • “I wanted to do comprehensive care and be ‘Dr. Julie,'” she said. “That’s the Marcus Welby model. People say that model doesn’t exist. It does exist. We can make it exist because it’s what our patients want.”
  • “Do you really want to do DPC, or are you just really unhappy?” she asked. “If you still love medicine, maybe DPC is for you.”
  • Gunther’s final piece of advice: “Be a great doctor, and create a system that allows you to be a great doctor.”

I am proud of you Julie and I owe you a beer or shot or both.

For those who would like to hear Julie speak again or hear me lecture then come to the DPC Nuts and Bolts conference in Orlando in October.

(we’ll email you a reminder weekly and NEVER give your info out. promise.)

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “Embracing DPC Takes Dedication and Sacrifice

  1. June 29, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Dr. Doug- Thank you for your support, enthusiasm, passionate advocacy for integrity in the physician-patient relationship and for role-modeling successful independent practice for many years.
    And, let us not forget… for humor. The key ingredient to surviving any challenging venture. ;).

  2. Mary Lang Carney, MD
    June 28, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    I also got totally fed up but loved my patients. Could not stand the rat race. Joined MDVIP recently
    I can make house calls now. I still use the hospitalists, but oversight them as well .
    Still teach transitional residents in my office give them a taste of what can be.
    My daily patient lists are much more tolerable.
    I have done a staff model HMO for 10 years, worked for a hospital for 10 years started my own practice when the hospital closed the women’s center after a month’s warning. Was in my own practice for the last 17 years. (Had 2 partners who left at about year 5 and 7. On my own for the last 10). MDvip is a great way to ease into a sane way of seeing patients who definitely appreciate what I bring.

  3. Kurt
    June 28, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Let me preface what is written below as something that was not allowed to be posted under that
    report above. Doubt it will get through the AAFP censors. Don’t get me wrong, I think you guys and gals deserve to make a decent living without having to deal with a lot of garbage. DPC can offer that but again, pick the wrong place and you are going to get into trouble. If the payer mix is “bad” can end up with a panel of deadbeats and would bear researching what the economic circumstances are in a potential area of practice. Also many of the DPC folks lose something of the care continuity by not taking care of (or at least seeing) people in the hospital but I
    bet by not doing that, certainly relieves a heck of a lot of stress. Most of the computer generated drivel that comes out of tertiary care centers is hard to follow and figure out who did what without printing it out on paper anyways:——-
    I am not doing DPC as I am within 4 years of 65 and am leaving. The AAFP went along with the government types suggestion of the “ABC” accountable care organizations and baloney that is requiring us to perform so much “uncompensateable” paperwork. DPC is a direct response to this garbage that is doomed to failure unless patients are held accountable for their lousy health behaviors.
    That said, one has to be very careful of the geographical area they set up in (true about concierge practices too) as they will go bankrupt if there is no one who will pay the monthly fees. High Public Aid? Forget it.
    Would rather buy more frozen pizzas and cigarettes before they’d pay a monthly fee.
    I see the NP’s doing this once they get the privilege of being “free standing” in the 28 remaining states that
    don’t allow it. 22 do. Gives one something else to worry about competing with. Mark my words. There are patients who don’t want to see anyone but the NP because they “aren’t” a doctor. I know because my group uses them (I proctored one who is close to retiring. Did a good job too. But no better than me in getting compliance.)
    Most of the DPC people I read no longer do hospital care so there is more lost income. Nice thing though is if the practice is self supporting, since one is not dependent on third party payers they can bid adieu to the ABFM and MOC garbage as all they have to do is 50 hours a year to satisfy the state board. That in and of itself is enticing to get out of the association of what was an academic service organization now cum money making conglomerate that only benefits those that run it. There is no evidence that MOC has improved anything in this country but line the coffers of the so-call “board” treasuries. All the while of holding “certification” over one’s head to get paid from the third party payers. I hope anyone who does DPC and is successful with it realizes they can dump this excess baggage after awhile. As long as the DPC practice flourishes for them, why not?

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