Direct Primary Care vs. Concierge Medicine

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Direct Primary Care vs. Concierge Medicine

The ever changing healthcare system has brought about alternative medicine and medical practice models. Some of these models are membership-based practices. With the various names for doctors and medical practices, it can be confusing or hard to understand the differences. 

As a direct primary care practice, Blue Skies Family Medicine in Mooresville offers high quality, comprehensive care to individuals and families.

How Do DPC and Concierge Medicine Compare?

Direct primary care (DPC) and concierge medicine are two types of practices that have gained popularity in recent years. While the two carry some similarities, they are also quite different.

What is Direct Primary Care?

With the increase in expensive, confusing health insurance plans, DPC models have developed and rapidly grown. These models are popular with patients who do not have insurance at all or who are tired of paying exorbitant premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

DPC cuts out the middleman in healthcare. A financial agreement is made ahead of time between the physician or medical practice and the patient. The patient pays the provider a monthly fee for care instead of paying copays and high insurance premiums. This fee gives the patient access to comprehensive primary care and other medical services.

What is Concierge Medicine?

Also known as retainer medicine, concierge medicine is the relationship between a physician and his/her patient. The patient pays a yearly fee in exchange for the doctor’s commitment to provide healthcare with time and availability. 

Concierge doctors see fewer patients than traditional medical practices. While a doctor in a general practice may have 3,000-4,000 patients, a concierge doctor has between 50 and 1,000 depending on his/her practice.


Both DPC and concierge medicine are membership-based models. Patients generally sign a contract and pay a fee. This fee gives them access to the physician. Since both are fee based membership programs, this healthcare model often makes it easy to confuse direct primary care with concierge medicine.

Additional similarities of the two practice models include:

  • Better access to a physician – Membership based programs accept fewer patients. This allows the doctor to spend ample time one-on-one with each patient. It is also usually easier to get an appointment.
  • Better patient-doctor relationships – Since the physician has more time with the patient, there is more time to talk about the patient’s needs or concerns. These models are very patient-centered.

Improved healthcare – DPC and concierge doctors have a better grasp on their patients’ health and needs. If specialty care is needed, they coordinate and communicate with the other doctors for better continuity of care.


The differences between concierge medicine and direct primary care are minimal, but mostly involve contract terms, fees, and insurance coverages. While concierge practices may participate with insurance plans, DPC practices do not.

DPC and concierge medicine also differ in their fees and contracts. DPC models usually involve monthly fees whereas concierge medicine fees are yearly. The length of the contracts follow the same time frames. Concierge medicine membership tends to be more expensive than DPC.

The annual fee for concierge medicine covers one in-depth comprehensive physical with numerous screenings. The DPC monthly fee covers more office appointments.

Benefits of Direct Primary Care

Patients who have an ongoing positive relationship with their doctors often have improved healthcare. With DPC models, the open communication between the patient and doctor strengthens their relationship and adds to the benefits of this medical care model. Patients receive better lifestyle management and disease prevention and can make more informed healthcare decisions.
DPC models save patients money! By cutting out the excessive insurance premiums and added expenses of the middle man, DPC patients generally pay less per year than patients in other medical practices.

Why Choose Direct Primary Care?

The reasons to switch to a DPC model are numerous, particularly at a time when access to quality medical care is crucial. Additional advantages of DPC include the following:

  • Less wait time for appointments
  • More one-on-one time and open communication between doctor and patient
  • Patient-centered care
  • A doctor who is more accessible
  • Consistent, better access to medical records
  • Lower medical expenses with transparent billing

 How Blue Skies Family Medicine Stands Out

Dr. Katherine Weeks is a board-certified family physician and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She is dedicated to more inclusive healthcare and devoted to her patients. As a smaller direct primary care practice, Blue Skies Family Medicine gives patients 24/7 access to a primary care physician, unrushed appointments, and a personal approach to medical care.

Our practice offers membership plans to suit individuals or families. The plans cover a range of services and discounted fees on additional services.

To schedule an appointment with our direct primary care doctor, contact Blue Skies Family Medicine in Mooresville today!

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