Julie K. Gunther, MD moderates a panel to discuss money in the healthcare system. Where is the money coming from and how is it being distributed, and how does compensation improve for physicians when changing healthcare models? The panel, 'Changing Healthcare: Is it Really Changing Anything for Physicians?' that took place at Hint Summit 2022, featured speakers, Jeff Bernhard, CEO of ReviveHealth, David Contorno, Founder of E Powered Benefits and Brandon Alleman, MD, PhD, Co-founder of Antioch Med.
Dr. Gunther begins by demonstrating how long it takes for a physician to catch up in earnings with an individual who starts working full-time as a UPS driver straight out of high school. Because of a physician’s long and rigorous schooling, it takes 17 years for the physician to meet the same income gains as the UPS driver who started working full-time after graduating high school. If the UPS works overtime, it would then take 27 years for the physician to match the income gains. The gap gets wider rapidly if the UPS driver invests his or her earnings at a marginal interest rate as it would then be 60 years before the physician can catch up.
The panel introduces themselves beginning with, Jeff Bernard, who shares how his company, Revive Health along with some executives from United Healthcare, Cigna and Aetna have collaborated to create self-funded health plans, which incorporate DPC and virtual care with the goal of bringing tens of thousands of patients to DPC providers across all 50 states. Brandon Alleman, MD, PhD has only practiced DPC and started his practice, Antioch Med, with other practitioners during his 3rd year of residency in Wichita, Kansas. David Contorno’s company, E Powered Benefits creates innovative health plans for employers of all sizes.
Dr. Gunther breaks down the usual payment structures in medicine and expresses her discomfort with the word, ‘incentives’ particularly when it comes to pay and asks Dr. Brandon Alleman to illustrate what his best contract would include for a doctor’s compensation.
“The word, ‘incentive’ does not have to be a scary word; I think it is used as a tool against us doctors - we’re going to put you on some incentive based thing and really that means, you’re never going to meet it and we’re going to pay you less.” - Brandon Alleman, MD
Dr. Alleman then acknowledges that when people such as David Contorno talk about “changing health care” with direct primary care at the center, however, then there is an opportunity for incentives to naturally align. Dr. Alleman’s practice offers new physicians a competitive salary that would be comparable to what they would get at a hospital or healthcare system, but a different reality where they can actually have time with the patient and not be limited to 7 minutes per patient due to the need for maintaining a high volume of patients. The issue with this demand on physicians is more of what Dr. Alleman likes to call, “moral injury” rather than “burnout” because not having sufficient time with patients makes it difficult for doctors to properly serve and solve patients’ problems. And this focus on quality of patient care and not volume is what keeps physicians happy in DPC.
Watch this panel for an engaging discussion including a thoughtful Q&A on how leaders in healthcare, employers and DPC providers are coming together to align incentives and change the healthcare system so that it can work for all.