Looking for a concierge doctor near me. Concierge medicine is a relationship between a patient and a physician, in which the patient pays the physician monthly, quarterly or annually. This would give the patient an unrestricted access to the concierge doctor. The fee the patient pays may or may not include other additional charges. In exchange for this payment, the physician provides quality care to patients. Also, the physician would have to limit the number of patients he attends to, so he would have time for each patient. There are different types of concierge medicine, and they all have something in common. Although they have a lot in common, their prices differ. Majority of physicians affected by long-term underpayment are opting for concierge medicine, solely to improve their income.
What Is Boutique Or Concierge Medicine?
As earlier mentioned, concierge medicine can be described as a relationship between the doctor and the patient, in which the patient pays a retainer, or fee, which might be quarterly, monthly or yearly. This fee gives the patient, an unlimited access to the physician. This kind of arrangement is useful when patients don’t like long waiting times, associated with hospitals. On the part of the physician, he has more time for his patients and can focus more on them. Unlike when he has to attend to an unlimited number of patients. Doctors also can easily estimate how much they’d be making in a month.
What Are The Types Of Concierge Medicine?
There are different primary types of concierge medicine business models. Below are some of the categories of these business models;
- Fee for care: This is the kind of arrangement in which the patient pays monthly, quarterly, or annual payment to the physician. This payment usually covers most of the services the physician provides in his office. Although, other services such as vaccinations, laboratory work, radiological test are not included in this payment.
- Fee for Extra Care: This plan is similar to the Fee for Care plan, although the additional services are charged to Medicare or any insurance plan the patient might have. Some of the benefits and services the fee for extra care offer includes two retainer models, which are same-day access to your
doctor, telephone or text message to your doctor, unrestricted and unlimited access to your physician’s office, minimum waiting time in the office, convenient scheduling of the appointment, online consultations and so on.
This system works typically like an insurance policy, where funds are deposited in advance of an expense. Apart from the Fee for Care, and the Fee for Extra Care, there is a type of model that integrates the plans together. This is known as the hybrid concierge model. In the hybrid concierge model, the physician charges a monthly, quarterly or an annual membership fee for the services the patient’s insurance plan doesn’t cover. Patients also get to have a direct communication link with the physician. This includes email access, telephone conversations, regular check-ups, detailed evaluation plans. The physician would bill the insurance company, for whatever service they provide to the patient, that is under their insurance plan.
How Much Does It Cost For A Concierge Doctor?
Concierge medicine is a kind of arrangement in which the patient has to pay upfront, with an unrestricted access to the doctor. Concierge medicine isn’t very popular globally yet, however, it’s been picking up in the United States. According to statistics, about 6500 doctors offer this service. The retainer fee patients pay differ. However, you should expect to pay between the range of $1200 to $1500 per year. These fees can also be split and paid monthly, or quarterly. Studies have shown that those that signed for concierge healthcare, are more satisfied with the quality of service they received from their doctor.
What Are The Pros Of Concierge Medicine?
- Doctors Have More Time For Patients: This is one of the most important benefits of concierge medicine. Doctors have more time for their patients. However, since the patients have to pay monthly, quarterly or annually, regardless of falling sick or not. This drives in more income for the doctors. Most concierge doctors usually cap their patients at a maximum of about 300, without losing any revenue. This type of medicine prevents a situation where patients have to rush in and out of the examination room.
- Reduction in overhead: By charging the patients an upfront fee, many expenses are to be boycotted by patients. Except for the ones, the upfront fees don’t cover. There are different plans of the concierge. Those under the monthly plan can visit the hospital several times without having to pay any extra charge. In this case, only the monthly fee is needed to be paid.
- Personalization: Concierge medicine affords the physician the opportunity to meet the needs of their community. This is beneficial for the doctors, as their community might be willing to pay more for the additional care and services included in concierge medicine
Does Health Insurance Cover Concierge Medicine?
Health insurance does not cover concierge medicine. However, you can always make use of direct primary health care. Concierge healthcare demands that patients pay a fixed amount of money, up front, for any services they might need from a doctor.
What Are The Cons Of Concierge Medicine?
- Fewer Patients, Higher Expectation: Although doctors tend to get lesser number of patients, this doesn’t imply that they have more free time. In fact, having a lesser number of patients simply implies that they get to spend more time with the patients they consult. Patients subscribed to concierge medicine expect to receive extra care, and additional packages. Examples of the services include around-the-clock access to the doctor, telephone and email access to the doctor, and so on. Even though the patient might have less number of patients, these patients might end up taking more time as compared to direct primary care.
- Loss of patients: This is one of the problems with concierge medicine. A lot of patients are used to the direct type of primary care. However, switching to concierge would translate to losing some of your patients. According to studies, doctors making a switch to concierge medicine would only retain about 12% of their patients. Although, the study didn’t factor in the number of patients the doctors gained after they made the switch.
- Error in pricing: This is one of the problems faced by concierge doctors. It’s easy to make mistakes in the pricing of services provided to patients. In most cases, the business is more likely to record a loss. The product sold in this case is the services provided to your patient. On the other hand, setting the price too high may discourage some patients. So either way, the doctor truly never wins.
Alrajab, S. and Uysal, A. (2018). Concierge Pulmonary Medicine. Chest, 153(2), pp.566-567.
Simone, J. (2006). Concierge Medicine Revisited. Oncology Times, 28(23), pp.3-4.