What Is Concierge Medicine?
Concierge medicine is a form of membership or relationship between a physician and patient where the patient pays an annual fee or monthly fee (approximately $135 – $150/mo) for enhanced medical services outside of a traditional medical facility. Concierge medicine first made its appearance in 1996 in Seattle, WA through the partnership of Dr. Howard Maron and Dr. Scott Hall with MD2 (MD Squared). They offered a platinum standard of concierge medical care to those who could afford to pay for luxury medical care. MD2 was very popular among their patients allowing them 24/7 access to physicians, doctor’s cell phone number, longer office visits, and the best of medical services when needed. Through the years, concierge medicine has undergone many changes and is very appealing to physicians in private practice looking for other options outside of traditional medicine.
Will It Work For My Practice?
There are different ways to enter into concierge medicine, where you completely leave your practice cutting your patients down to a very small group that will become your new patient base. These patients pay your entire doctor’s fee and medical services on their own, and the insurance company will not be billed. These payments are made via annual retainer fee. However, you spend extended time with your patients, build strong relationships, and no longer have to feel the stress of moving large amounts of patients through a medical office and all that goes along with it. This concierge medicine model is fairly expensive but does lend itself to smaller patient load, shorter workdays, and less stress.
Another, more viable, option of concierge care is the hybrid model where physicians can merge traditional and concierge models. With the hybrid model, doctors continue to care for patients in their private practice who rely on Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance companies but through hybrid care, can provide additional services not covered by patients’ traditional preventative care and wellness visits, such as additional blood screening or further diagnostic testing. This hybrid model allows doctors to continue serving long-standing, insured patients while offering the specialized service for clients who pay a fee for concierge care that allow for more individualized attention and medical services.
Concierge medicine offers benefits to both provider and patient. In a world where doctor visits are scheduled at seven minutes each, it is hard to imagine how any one doctor can truly understand what ails a patient or grasp a patient’s true medical history so as to offer a proper diagnosis. Patients need to feel like they matter in the eyes of their doctor and a relationship exists. They want to be remembered each time they visit their doctor. With concierge care, extended office visits occur, you become a trusted friend and stand fully armed to help your patient navigate their health care needs.
Benefits of Concierge Medicine
Some of the major benefits to concierge medicine include:
- 24/7 access to doctor
- Same day or next day appointments
- Longer visits
- Personalized attention and medical care
- Wellness coaching
- Weight loss and nutrition coaching
- More time diagnostic testing and review of test results
- Cost effective for both patient and physician
- In event of emergency, hospital, staff, and specialists briefed by physician on patient’s behalf
Next time your patient voices frustration over long wait times or shortened office visits, consider concierge medicine. Your patients are important to you, so make sure they know you care about them and their health as well. Concierge medicine may be just the option you’ve been searching for.