Multiple Katy health care facilities offer a membership-based program that provides community members with direct access to their primary physicians—a service more doctors are turning to due to its flexibility and lower caseload, local doctors said.

The overview

Direct Primary Care, or DPC, connects patients with primary care providers who deliver medical care in what the physicians at these clinics say is a more timely and intimate manner.

“[DPC] is a model that allows the patient to have more control of their health care and allows them to work with a doctor that has their best interests at heart,” said Dr. Jacinta Anyaoku, physician at Hibiscus Aesthetics and Wellness in Katy.

This model grew in popularity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Anyaoku said. Texas had 61,629 actively licensed DPC physicians in 2023, up 25.9% since 2015, according to the Texas Department of State Health ServicesHealth Professions Resource Center, which provides health workforce information for Texas.

The details

Those with DPC memberships pay monthly fees ranging from $75 to $120 for adults to receive medical visits as well as direct access to their physician with personal emails and phone numbers, said Dr. Vera Oyabure, CEO of KarisMed Family Medicine in Katy.

Most plans have unlimited visits, although some offices may put a cap on the number included in the plan, she said.

Community members can visit their DPC provider for:
  • Wellness visits
  • Sick visits
  • Chronic disease management
  • Minor procedures such as earwax removal or cyst draining
“We've removed the middleman to allow people to get access to at least their basic primary care needs,” Oyabure said.

Breaking it down

DPC physicians typically take on fewer patients, so they’re able to give their full attention and provide more in-depth care, Anyaoku said.

On average, DPC providers have anywhere from 600 to 800 patients annually, while traditional doctors average 2,000 patients or more, according to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit research institute.

With fewer patients, DPC doctors also have greater control of their schedule, with built-in time to review labs and messages, Anyaoku said.

“We talk to a lot of physicians [and] they're feeling very burnt out. ... A lot of them are trying to leave medicine because of it,” Anyaoku said. “You have more personal time, you're less stressed or less burnt out, you're happier as a physician, and that is going to translate to better care for your patients.”
What else?

Although DPC can cater to many health needs, both Anyaoku and Oyabure said they recommend having insurance, if possible, to have additional coverage for emergencies.

“[Members] can reduce their premiums [and] use the high-deductible insurance for catastrophic events,” Oyabure said. “Like all other insurance—car, house, life insurance—[these insurances cover] catastrophic events. ... They don't cover you filling your gas tank or getting your nails done and routine maintenance.”

To find a DPC provider, click here.