Frontier Institute statement in support of SB 101
By permanently authorizing Direct Primary Care, lawmakers can ensure this option for affordable primary care is available for all Montanans.
HELENA (Jan. 20, 2021) – Today, The Frontier Institute offered support for SB 101, a bill to permanently authorize Direct Primary Care (DPC) in Montana.
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a growing direct care model where Montana patients bypass insurance entirely to pay doctors, in the form of a membership, in exchange for unlimited access to primary care services for as little as $70 per month. SB 101, proposed by Senator Cary Smith of Billings, follows the Frontier Institute’s recommendations to permanently authorize DPC and other direct care arrangements, creating a definition for DPC in state law.
“Direct Primary Care has proven to be a transparent, low cost option of quality primary care for Montanans struggling under higher and higher medical costs,” said Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of the Frontier Institute. “With SB 101, lawmakers have an opportunity to permanently authorize DPC and help drive down the cost of healthcare for Montanans.”
Frontier Institute has promoted extensive research about the benefits of Direct Primary Care for both patients and doctors, including:
- By eliminating the middlemen and bureaucracy involved in billing insurance, patients in direct care save on overall healthcare costs.
- Patients in direct care practices have the opportunity to form a stronger relationship with their doctor, which has been shown to prevent expensive conditions and save costs over the long run.
- Without the documentation, coding and billing of insurance, direct care practices are able to regularly post the real cost of services on their website, and not just estimates.
- By taking insurance out of the equation, doctors are able to save money and eliminate overhead, allowing a closer focus on their patients.
Here’s what Montana patients and doctors are saying about Direct Primary Care and SB 101:
“The patient / doctor relationship is sacred, and the direct primary care model allows me to keep this relationship at the center of medical care, without having to swim mightily against the system to do so. I work for and am accountable to the patient, rather than a 3rd party with other interests. DPC brings back the caring piece of medical care that has faded away over the last few decades.,” said Dr. Todd Bergland, President of the Montana Direct Primary Care Association.
“Improving health outcomes (and thus lowering costs) starts with a genuine relationship between a patient and a primary care provider. Direct primary care is a sustainable model for both patients and providers to spend their energy and resources on actually changing behaviors that affect health outcomes,” said Dr. Cara Harrop of Purehealth DPC in Polson.
“The Direct Care model allows more time with each patient, thus allowing a trusting relationship to form and creating the opportunity for providers to fully utilize all of their education and training. This leads to better health care for patients and decreased burnout for providers. I can think of nothing better than Direct Care to confront the challenge of Montana’s primary care provider shortage,” said Dr. Brandon Bilyeu of Ascension DPC in Helena.
“DPC affords superior health care versus traditional insurance coverage. We’ve developed a personal relationship with our doctor and are never treated as just another number. Freedom of choice is more critical now than ever before and I strongly urge that our Legislators support the passage of SB-101,” said Roger, a DPC Patient from Flathead County.
“We could not be any more pleased with the care that we receive from Direct Primary Care. We are allowed time, availability, reasonable prescription costs, and expert advice for our health care needs. Please allow the lawmakers the opportunity to permanently authorize DPC and help Montanans receive affordable health care,” – Karen, a DPC patient since 2018.
“I’m thrilled at this Direct Primary Care model, and can report that my elderly mother is equally satisfied with her own DPC physician in another state. It is my hope and expectation to see out my days in the care of a DPC, and I trust that the Montana legislature will allow me, and many other satisfied patients, to exercise this freedom of medical choice,” – Margaret, a DPC patient from Bigfork.
“Before having access to Direct Care I would sometimes go 3 to 5 days without the medicine I need simply because requests for a refill are low priority in a busy standard practice, and there is no way to reach the doctor. This may not seem like a big problem to someone else, but it was agony. Now, however, I can always get a response from my Direct Care provider within 4 hours. It is a night and day difference, and really wonderful. Please pass SB 101 to preserve this option for patients like me,” Gary, a DPC patient from Kalispell.
“The model of Direct Primary Care is the best as well as my provider who is awesome! I can reach my provider at any time using whatever method I choose. An office visit is however long it takes to address my needs. There are no surprises when it comes to fees, I know what they will be. Please pass SB101 to permanently authorize Direct Primary Care for affordable healthcare in Montana,” Vicki, a DPC patient in Kalispell.
“DPC gives me the chance to make adjustments within days, not weeks or months as has been my experience with the VA. I feel professionally associated with the DPC system, much as I do with my professional career in DOD training. I support the continuance of DPC in Montana and all practitioners,” said Paul, a retired US Army veteran and DPC patient.
IMAGE: (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)