What is concierge medicine
Concierge medicine is a direct relationship between a patient and primary care physician, in which the patient pays the doctor directly, either through an annual retainer or only for the services provided. Doctors within concierge medical practices provide enhanced care.
What are the benefits of concierge care over the traditional approach
Regarding the traditional approach, many doctors are responding to ObamaCare by retiring early or reducing their hours. As millions of newly insured patients enter the system, a shortfall of tens of thousands of physicians is expected. Therefore, patients will endure longer waits for doctor’s appointments, and because of decreasing reimbursements, primary care physicians will be forced to see as many patients as possible each day during hurried appointments.
There are many benefits of concierge medicine over the traditional approach:
Patients are seen within the same day of requesting the appointment if needed.
Patients are seen on time. There is no time wasted waiting to be seen by the doctor.
Doctors spend ample time with patients, giving patients time to properly explain their condition. In turn, doctors can properly diagnose them.
Patients have access to the doctor 24/7.
Doctors follow their patients to the hospital.
Excellent service is provided at all levels.
What do patients typically pay for private care
There are different types of concierge style practices. Some charge a retainer anywhere between $1,500–$10,000/year. Within concierge practices, there are different levels of membership (families versus individual). For example, Coral Gables Executive Physicians uses the “fee for service” model. We charge based on services provided to the individual on that particular day. We then submit the claim to the insurance company on our patient’s behalf, so he/she can get reimbursed. This model works only for the individual.
Is concierge medicine affordable
Concierge medicine is surprisingly affordable. Today, the nationwide average annual fee for concierge practices amounts to approximately $4–$5 per day, which is within the means of many middle class families. Just as consumers can decide to buy a more expensive house or car, or pay for private school for their children, they can choose to pay more for a more comprehensive medical experience at their doctor’s office. It’s a win-win for physicians and patients. Concierge physicians typically report greater job satisfaction because they can take the time to work with their patients and appropriately utilize their skills. Good care requires time, and patients benefit from this.
Are there any types of patient who would benefit most from private care
Everyone would benefit from concierge medicine. It’s more a matter of who can afford it. However, for those who need to spend less time at the doctor and more time doing other important tasks (and have the ability to utilize concierge medicine), the choice is evident.
For patients who only see a doctor 2-3 times a year is concierge medicine worth the cost
It depends on the pricing model and services provided. For example, in the Coral Gables Executive Physicians’ model the less a patient sees the doctor, the less they pay and the doctor is available to them when the need care. In a retainer practice where a fee is paid annually, the fee is the same regardless of how often you see the doctor.
Do the services/care provided justify the additional cost
This is for each person to evaluate. One should compare the benefits versus the costs and come to a solution. It’s a very personal decision.
Are there any outcome studies or quality of life studies that support concierge medicine
There are studies regarding the fact that patients who utilize concierge medicine have very low admission rates to the hospital. In one study patients from a concierge medicine practice experienced and reported better service, greater access to care, and improved care co-ordination than patients in a traditional practice.
About the Author
Coral Gables Executive Physicians (CGEP) Internal Medicine, a leader in healthcare, provides same-day appointments and 24/7 telephone access, allowing patients to see their physician in a timely manner. For more information, visit www.cgepmd.com, call 305-446-9940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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