Episode 18: The Father Of DPC: Dr. Garrison Bliss
Updated: Feb 10
Direct Primary Care Doctor
Dr. Bliss completed his undergrad education at Harvard College before pursuing his medical degree at the University of Utah. He spent his internship year and residency at the University of Washington. Following residency, he walked out the door and went into private practice and never looked back. He left clinical medicine in 2020.
In this episode, discusses his background and how he developed the idea of direct primary care as a solution to the country's broken health care system. He puts forth the seven most important points (see below) that he believes can be used to reflect on and to grow the movement from. These
points include discussing the culture of care the movement provides, what it takes for patients to join
and what it takes for doctors and the movement to succeed. As we enter a new year, no matter where you are in your DPC journey, his words are sure to inspire!
1) This movement is about a culture of care and service much more than being about a business model.
2) Success of the model REQUIRES that patients control hiring and firing, no matter who pays for the care. Doctors need to know whom they work for, and it has to be the patients and only the patients.
3) The point of the monthly fee is that it provides a consistent cash flow necessary to support 24/7/365 access. It encourages smaller panels and ends rewards for overtreatment, overdiagnosis, over-evaluation and overpriced care.
4) The importance of avoiding FFS incentives is to obliterate the idea that PCPs can make more money by doing or not doing something to patients. Medical treatment and evaluation needs to be directed to the needs of the patients, not to the financial ambition of the doctors.
5) Primary care MUST be independent, to avoid being pulled back into the FFS game by being owned and controlled by insurers, specialty clinics and hospitals which all benefit from overutilization and over-referral.
6) By competing for patient allegiance, we can use market forces to increase access, patient experience, PCP satisfaction and continuous innovation.
7) When the above design is brought to fruition, the net effect has always been: Happy patients, happy PCPs, stable/sustainable income, modestly increased PCP income, dramatic increases in innovation, markedly decreased overall cost of care, overdiagnosis and overtreatment. This AUTOMATICALLY begins the process of rebalancing the medical ecosystem to improve outcomes, control overutilization and improve the lives of everyone in the ecosystem. I also predict that DPC addresses the moral dilemmas and hopelessness that are the root causes of burnout for providers.
See Dr. Bliss share more of his story here:
In The News:
Resources mentioned by Dr. Bliss