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HEALTHCARE WATCH: What is ‘Direct Primary Care’?

Dr. Laura Petrescu, after nearly 14 years with Rochester Regional Health (RRH), has transitioned to a ‘direct primary care’ model with the founding of Athena Direct Primary Care.

This shift represents a significant change in the healthcare landscape, as highlighted by a trend among local doctors moving away from traditional fee-for-service roles, according to reporting by News10NBC.

Direct primary care involves a monthly subscription fee, granting patients quicker access to their doctor, including same or next-day appointments, hour-long consultations, and included in-office procedures.


Petrescu’s decision to adopt this model stemmed from her experiences of burnout and limitations in patient care within the conventional system, where primary care physicians often see up to 30 patients a day, leaving them with as little as five to seven minutes of actual face-to-face time per patient.

This new approach to primary healthcare is part of a broader movement identified by the New England Journal of Medicine, which predicts a shift in care from hospitals to community and home settings over the next decade.

The direct primary care model, as opposed to concierge medicine which combines insurance billing with an annual membership fee, offers a more affordable option with a flat monthly fee. Petrescu’s practice charges individuals approximately $119 per month, a rate significantly lower than typical concierge practices.