Concierge Medicine : The future of Medicine

January 23, 2015

Many physicians who strive to provide more personal services to their clients are beginning to practice Concierge Medicine. In Concierge Medicine, a patient pays a fee to a medical doctor in return for doctor’s personal and exclusive care. The doctor in turn lowers their patient load in order to provide more exclusive care to concierge medical patients. Exclusive care may mean:

  • in-home, hotel room, or office visits
  • Same-day appointments
  • Phone call or text messages to the doctor directly
  • Unlimited office visits
  • Prescription refills
  • No wait time in the office
  • Same day lab reports etc.
  • Worldwide access to doctors
  • Expedited emergency room care (triage care)

There are three types of Concierge Medicine. The Fee For Care (TFFC), The Fee For Extra Care (TFEC), hybrid concierge medicine.

The Fee For Care (TFFC)

Patient pays annually, biannually, quarterly or monthly for doctors special care. This fee usually covers the services offered in the doctor’s office. Extra fee may be charged for medical tests, X-rays, prescribed medicine and vaccinations.

The Fee for Extra Care (TFEC)

Same rules apply as TFFC medicine with one difference. The additional services such as medical tests, vaccinations and x-rays are charged to the patients insurance.

Hybrid Plan

In this plan, the patient may pay for services that their insurance does not cover for doctor’s exclusive services. In hybrid plan, some things are charged to insurance company and other additional exclusive services are charged to the patient personally.

With such added benefits, it only leads one to think it may be very costly. However, many clinics offer affordable concierge plans though many expensive plans are also available for people who may want special services for sensitive cases. The plans are available from $195 to $5000. Some clinics, such as Greeenfield Health in Portland, Oregon, offer lower cost concierge plans ranging from $195 – $695.

According to Business Week, the percentage of concierge doctors have increased 30% in the last year, alluding to its growing popularity and usefulness. It is predicted that concierge medicine practices will rise in the next 5 years. As the number of patients increase, there will be a long wait in doctor’s office for an appointment.

In such a case, paying an extra fee to be seen by the doctor may be necessary, which is why we see more doctors starting to practice concierge medicine. Its popularity makes sense as well. Paying $50 to see a physician in an emergency is much better than waiting for 3-4 months for an appointment.

Progressively taking hold in United States, concierge medicine has been practiced successfully in other parts of the world since ancient times. The Concierge Medicine Model comes naturally in places where medical insurance is not widespread, such as in Pakistan, India, Malaysia, etc. People pay out of pocket for doctors appointment and usually do not have to wait for months for an appointment. How much a doctor charges depends on the doctor.

Some may argue that this sort of model will benefit the wealthy. To remedy that, many clinics concierge medicine plans start with low, affordable fees. One example of concierge medicine benefiting the poor is a concierge practice in Atlas MD Clinic in Wichita. In one example, Dr. Nunamaker helped a woman with no insurance who had just lost her job by using the concierge payment model. Dr. Nunamaker restored the woman’s health in three months at a cost of $147 to the patient. Dr. Nunamaker made money from the fee the clinic charged for her visits, not for her tests and lab work. If not for Atlas MD’s concierge services, the woman would had been left untreated with no insurance and a job.

Weigh-in, have you used a concierge doctor in Las Vegas or somewhere else? if so, what did you think about the quality of care and service.