Concierge Medicine refers to those primary care and family practice physicians who have chosen to provide healthcare services in a more convenient, accessible and cost efficient manner to their patients. In many cases, they’ve reduced overhead costs in their practice to make it easier and more convenient to see and be seen by the second most important person in the office, the doctor (Note: In case you were wondering, you’re the most important person in a doctors office). These physicians typically charge patients a membership fee ranging from $10 to $1,500 per year and in rare cases, a higher annual ‘access’ fee. $1,500 is the national average according to Concierge Medicine Today in February 2013. In exchange for this ‘access’ fee, concierge medical practices generally include 24/7 access to a personal physicians’ cell phone, same-day appointments with no waiting, personal coordination of care with specialists, personal follow up when admitted to a hospital or ER, house calls, and more. A full list of services typically provided to patient can be found later in this chapter.
So, while a typical primary care and family physician can carry a patient load of 2,500+ patients, a concierge physician generally limits their practice to between 300-600 patients or more. Concierge medicine goes by many names and is also referred to as: membership medicine; boutique medicine; retainer-based medicine; concierge health care; cash only practice; direct care; and direct practice medicine. While all concierge medicine practices share similarities, they vary widely in their structure, payment requirements, insurance and Medicare participation and form of operation. The biggest difference you will find is their level of transparency, affordability, access, convenience, technology used and service provided.
We believe as you probably do too, that the doctor’s office should be one of the most irresistible and pleasant places to visit in any community. The prices should be upfront and transparent. Why is it that doctors offices are sometimes the last business on the planet to list their fees? Well, if you’re as frustrated as a lot of patients out their then concierge medicine may be a good fit for you and your family.
Excerpt from “Why Choose Concierge Medicine,” (C) 2013. All Rights Reserved.