Direct primary care bill passes Senate committee

02/08/2017 02:41 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would allow patients to contract with physicians by paying a monthly fee for basic doctor health care was passed on Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare by an 8-0 vote.

Senate Bill 79, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, would establish Direct Primary Care (DPC) as an option for patients who would enter into a contract and pay a monthly fee to a physician for basic medical care with that physician.

Alvarado said DPC has a lot of benefits for both the physician and the patient.

“The current traditional system drives up costs, as well as physician and patient frustration as well,” Alvarado said. “In DPC, patients get greater access and more time with their physician and physicians spend more time helping patients rather than dealing with the hassles and costs associated with billing a health insurance company.”

Alvarado said that some claim that DPC is a form of medical insurance, but, in fact, it is not a form of insurance but a medical care model.

DPC practices do not assume any risk,” Alvarado said. “The monthly membership fee covers the practices specific set of services, and patients should still maintain some level of heath insurance for specialty care and catastrophic events that require hospitalization.”

Dr. Tracy Ragland, a physician who practices in Crestwood, operates a DPC practice and says it’s a win win for her as well as her patients.

DPC has the potential to be a key tool in fixing our broken healthcare delivery system,” Ragland said. “It’s an innovative delivery and painted model for comprehensive primary care that involves and agreed upon set of services in exchange for a flat, affordable, periodic fee. There’s no insurance company billing involved.”

Ragland charges a monthly fee of $10 to $100 per month based on the age of her patients. She also has a family rate.

The bill now moves on to the full Senate for consideration.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Ragland worked in Maryland. Her practice is in Kentucky.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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