By Jonathan Nelson
Direct primary care practices are cropping up across the country as physicians grow more frustrated by administrative burdens inherent in a fee-for-service third-party insurance market. But some regulatory obstacles block many people from joining DPC practices. The Direct Primary Care Coalition — of which TAFP is a steering committee member — has called on physicians to ask their representatives in Washington D.C. to sign on to federal legislation that would remove those obstacles.
In DPC practices, physicians charge patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee — like a retainer or membership fee — that covers a broad set of primary care services and patients typically enjoy greatly enhanced access to their physician. IRS rules interpret these DPC payments to be like paying premiums for health insurance rather than just a different way to purchase a set of services. Even though Texas and 17 other states have passed laws defining DPC arrangements to be outside of state insurance regulation, the IRS interpretation bars individuals with health savings accounts paired with high-deductible health plans from using their HSA funds to pay DPC fees.more
By Perdita Henry
Congratulations go to the family medicine interest groups at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine for winning the first annual Texas FMIG Program of Excellence Award. Last year TAFP’s Commission on Academic Affairs voted to create the award to celebrate and support FMIGs for their work to inspire medical students to consider the specialty of family medicine.
FMIGs are student-run organizations with faculty and departmental support. They provide a forum in medical schools for students interested in family medicine. FMIG programs across Texas applied for the new award and a subcommittee of the Commission on Academic Affairs reviewed the applications and selected the winning programs. Award winners receive cash prizes to help cover student travel costs to AAFP’s National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Students.more