Concierge medicine, also known as boutique medicine, is a developing trend in the healthcare industry. Concierge physicians offer their services as executive health plans. Over the past decade, doctors have been required to work harder and see more patients on a daily basis to earn a decent living. It has become increasingly difficult for private physicians to cover rising overhead costs like increased malpractice insurance and other costs of owning a practice.
America’s healthcare system has transformed a highly personal patient care experience into a relatively cold and impersonal business transaction. Whether we like it or not, healthcare is a business. To make a profit, doctors must now cram more patients than ever before, making patients feel more like cattle and less like humans with real needs. Concierge medicine appears to address some of these issues for both patients and physicians, particularly those in primary care such as family practitioners or internists.
In the practice of concierge medicine, doctors charge an annual fee to each patient in their practice. There are doctors who charge each patient between $1,500 and $ 2,500 per year, and retainer medicine could be in five-figure range.
In exchange for paying that fee, patients receive 24-hour access to the doctor, and it includes last-minute appointments, prescriptions, and answering medical questions. Also, appointments can last up to an hour, as opposed to the standard 10-20 minutes of appointment time, which is conventionally allotted to patients. In concierge care, patients are not required to wait for weeks or months for appointments; they have medical assistance at their fingertips, and they can spend time with the doctor so that the doctor really fully know the patient’s medical requirements. If one can afford, it certainly is a good way to keep your health in check without waiting in a queue to see a doctor whenever needed.
It also allows doctors to partially bypass health insurance payers and the managed care reimbursement crisis. Each patient’s annual fee supplements their practice, allowing them to break free from the restrictive numbers game of seeing 25-35 patients per day to cover their costs and earn a fair wage.
Most doctors practice concierge medicine on their own. However, there are some firms that have popped up to provide medical concierge services, which are typically physician partnerships, who probably would not need to hire another physician as an employee, unless that new physician is willing to invest in the company as a whole.
Government health care agencies are closely monitoring concierge medicine, looking for unethical or illegal insurance abuse or patient care. Therefore, there may soon be additional regulations imposed by the relevant authorities to discourage or prevent doctors from practicing boutique medicine.
If you want to practice concierge medicine, you’ll probably have to do it on your own, rather than having someone hire you as an employee and pay you a salary. Since upper class and upper-middle class can afford such care, the patient base is a limited. This model works best in wealthy and professional populations.