Can Primary Care (and FFS) Survive the CV19 Crisis?

There has been a lot of stress during this pandemic. Primary care docs in the old system have been hit hard. Patients weren’t coming in so they couldn’t bill the insurers. Luckily, the insurers have seen this as a problem and have been paying the doctors anyway. NOT. They could give a crap about them. As this article puts it:

“When visits get disrupted for any reason … and combine that with the fact that the majority of primary care practices have low reserves or no reserves — they often exist on a month-to-month basis and don’t have that prospective form of predictable population-based payment — that really puts them at risk of not being able to make it through this tumultuousness.”

Of course the author doesn’t truly understand what can fix this system:

The financial problems that physicians are having — as well as the concerns patients have over paying for treatment — are evidence of the need to reconsider the way healthcare is financed in the U.S., Cavanaugh said. “Clearly something is fundamentally wrong when the greatest health risk in 100 years causes unemployment in healthcare, and people to lose their insurance. The fact that when we need it most, the system crumbles the quickest, is a problem. Whether it’s ‘Medicare for All’ or some other approach … we need to ensure people get coverage all the time.”

Ummm, how about DIRECT PRIMARY CARE? Our system didn’t crumble. We didn’t need the insurer’s money. We take care of patients without insurance so they weren’t abandoned. We were there with telemedicine on day one for NO EXTRA COST because we do that already. People were covered all the time. You would think the mainstream press would have trouble realizing this but this author, Joyce Frieden, oversees MedPage Today’s Washington coverage, so she deals with healthcare all the time and shouldn’t have been so clueless.

The answer to fix our broken healthcare system, and find an answer to this Kobayashi Maru, is to remove the government and the insurance companies. Boop, problem solved.

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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] 

  1 comment for “Can Primary Care (and FFS) Survive the CV19 Crisis?

  1. Holly Champaign
    June 23, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Curious, wonder how insurers are treating self-insured businesses? Are they getting a break on the fees charged for “management” of THEIR money? Or are the businesses expected to pay the required fees regardless of employee usage? If claim payout is down, will employers see a decrease in their premiums next fiscal year?

    Also, are the employers being hit with up-charging due to the elimination of copays related to COVID-19. Ins execs were lauded for “doing the right thing” but was it the insurance companies own monies or self-funded employers? Just wondering?

    For those who have patients who could answer these questions, it may be worth asking …

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