There’s a newcomer in town, and it’s offering a more personalized approach to care for all.
Concierge medicine—also known as boutique medicine, direct care, retainer-based medicine or executive medicine—is a form of medical practice in which physicians (mostly in primary care) see a fewer number of patients so they can spend more time with each one individually.
This new type of care comes in response to the major complaints both physicians and patients share:
- Scheduling difficulties
- Crowded waiting rooms
- Rushed physicians who need to maintain a high volume of patients and no longer have time for everyone
How does concierge medicine work?
It’s simple: Patients pay an out-of-pocket fee and, in exchange, get as much one-on-one time with their physicians as they need. This includes correspondence capabilities with their provider via email, text, personal cell phone number, as well as same-day or next-day appointments.
Typically, the fee does not cover:
- Emergency room care or hospitalization
- Major surgical or diagnostic procedures
- Out-of-office specialist visits
In addition, concierge services will not be covered by Medicare or private health insurance. However, personal health spending accounts, such as flexible spending accounts, may cover some of the cost.
Why are some physicians choosing concierge medicine?
The idea of concierge medicine is appealing to a growing population of physicians because they’re fed up with the direction of medical care. Concierge medicine allows them to give more individualized care as less patients are seen, allowing for more time to be dedicated to each one.
What are some of the critiques of concierge medicine?
Some critics are skeptical about the concierge model. There is concern that more care does not necessarily mean better care and can lead to over testing and over treating. It’s also been expressed by some that as physicians flock to concierge medicine, there will be a short supply of traditional physicians, especially for those who may not be able to afford the out-of-pocket costs.
While the latter remains to be seen, over testing and over treating are unlikely scenarios for quality concierge medical practices. A good concierge physician would never subject patients to anything that may be unnecessary, and are fully dedicated to providing each individual the best care possible.
Should patients consider concierge medicine given their current healthcare situation?
Well, that depends on a few factors:
- Are they looking for a physician dedicated to preventive care?
- Do they feel rushed during their regular appointments or are they unable to get an appointment easily?
- Do they feel that an out-of-pocket investment in their health is cost effective?
- Do they have a chronic condition—like diabetes or cardiovascular disease—and are in need of several specialists to manage their condition?
- Are they insanely busy—such as an executive or full-time mom or dad —and looking for quality medical care that fits their busy schedule?
If the answer to any of these is yes, then concierge medicine may be the right move for patients craving a superior healthcare experience.
For more information on how to find a concierge physician, contact Healsa today.