A Royal Pain?
While recently watching and episode of the USA Network television show, “Royal Pains” I became intrigued about the true nature of concierge medicine and so I decided to devote a blog piece to the concept.
Concierge medicine, also known as direct care, is a relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer . Widely believed to have been started in 1996 by Dr. Howard Maron, as of 2012, there were 4,400 private physicians; a number that continues to grow.
A recent Forbes article entitled, “Is Concierge Medicine Right for You?” outlines some of the benefits that a patient might see from joining a concierge medicine practice.
– Concierge medicine can be surprisingly affordable
- Once thought to be something only the wealthy can afford, a yearly fee can now average out to be approximately $4-5 dollars per day.
– The Choice is good, meaning that patients have the right to pay for a more comprehensive doctor’s appointment.
– Concierge medicine benefits both physician and patients.
- These physicians routinely report greater job satisfaction, because they can practice the way that they were trained – taking the time to really talk to their patients and use their skills to their fullest extent – rather than being handcuffed by increasing overhead costs and decreasing insurance reimbursement.
While the concept of concierge medicine may sound enticing, detractors have accused the practice of promoting a two-tiered health system that favors the wealthy. It also limits the number of physicians to care for those who cannot afford it, and burdens the middle and lower class with a higher cost of insurance. As more and more physicians retire every year in a “silent exodus”, losing physicians to concierge practices cannot be easily tolerated by the general public.
Upon doing some further research, my local area offers a number of options for patients seeking these services. The most surprising resource that I found was a service provided by a local hospital. My challenge to you this week is to do a quick google search for concierge physician services in your area.
Thank You for Reading!