If you are living with a chronic illness—such as diabetes or congestive heart failure—you understand what it takes to effectively manage it; an endless array of appointments, medications and lifestyle changes. Ironically, the one that is most important (the visit with the primary care physician) is the one that is most often shortchanged. In fact, a traditional primary care physician visit lasts approximately 7 minutes, giving the average patient roughly 23 seconds to speak before being interrupted by said physician.
So, you have to ask yourself: How can I receive quality care for my chronic, complex condition under these circumstances? How can all the intricacies of my disorder be discussed in that short amount of time? All of my questions and concerns addressed?
Thankfully, concierge medicine may offer the solution to these questions.
Why concierge for your chronic condition?
The concierge medicine model is highly patient-focused. Concierge physicians only see a select number of patients, allowing for more one-on-one interaction (approximately 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the patient’s needs). Your concierge physician will coordinate with other specialists to ensure you receive the most comprehensive care possible. In addition, there is around-the-clock access to your concierge physician through a variety of mediums, including email, text and telephone. Essentially, it’s having a personal healthcare professional on call when you need it, where you need it.
In short: Not only do you get the quality of care that you deserve for your condition, but you can choose to receive it when it fits your schedule. Long gone will be the days of wasting gobs of time in a germ-infested waiting room, only to be shooed out the door in under 10 minutes with questions unanswered and a prescription slip in hand to placate you.
How does concierge medicine work?
Concierge medicine is convenient and easy: You pay an out-of-pocket fee and, in exchange, get as much one-on-one time with your physician as you need. That includes the aforementioned correspondence capabilities as well as same-day or next-day appointments.
The true beauty of concierge is that it’s all-encompassing, taking into account your support system. Your concierge physician will work with friends and/or loved ones that help you manage your chronic condition, keeping them connected and informed of your care (should you so choose).
What isn’t covered with concierge medicine?
In terms of care, absolutely nothing, but the fee you will pay does not cover:
- Emergency room care or hospitalization
- Major surgical or diagnostic procedures
- Out-of-office specialist visits
It is important to note that concierge services will not be covered by Medicare or private health insurance. However, personal health spending accounts (e.g., flexible spending accounts) may cover some of the cost. That said, a high-deductible health plan for catastrophic events can compliment the concierge medicine model quite nicely.
What’s the bottom line?
No matter the demands your chronic condition may make in your day-to-day life, concierge medicine can be the best investment when it comes to effectively managing your health and getting the most bang for your buck, medically speaking.