With so much controversy and drama surrounding medical care and insurance in the United States, patients are looking for new ways to get the care that they want without feeling like a victim of the medicine machine that seems to have taken over. Patients and physicians alike can find ways to benefit from the more personal relationship and clear fee structure that concierge medicine offers. For many, the move to a concierge medicine practice is just the solution that they have been searching for, giving them a stronger relationship between physician and patient and allowing for the better quality of care that most wish for.
What is Concierge Medicine?
In concierge medicine, physicians carry a much smaller patient load, allowing them to develop deeper relationships with those whom they serve. In most cases, services are based on a membership rate or a cash-only basis, cutting out the middleman of the insurance company. Though fewer patients are treated, the per-patient costs are reduced as there is no need for insurance billing. The overall stress of a day is reduced greatly, as adequate time blocking and scheduling allows for doctors to have quality time with each patient, helping to prevent the burnout of “machine” medicine.
For patients, there are many benefits, as well. Getting the quick access to the care they need and knowing just how much they are paying out of pocket are both big factors in their choice to be treated at a concierge medical practice. They are able to save money on insurance, only carrying a high deductible plan for emergencies. Finally, they have a more in-depth relationship with their doctor and the time spent developing this can result in a stronger focus on preventative care.
Making the Move to a Concierge Practice
Concierge medicine is a great move for many physicians, but these practices take a bit of work to set up. For example, if your practice is directly affiliated as hospital practice, you will not likely be able to remain with that office. So-called “franchise” physicians will not be able to take advantage of this treatment and billing model.
The simplest way to move to this practice style is to open a new practice which uses the new structure from the beginning. Find a partner or two that is ready to get out from under the high-stress world of standard medicine and hang up a shingle. Develop a pricing structure that works for your needs and write up a set of parameters of care that your new patients will agree to as they buy in to membership with your new practice. Don’t forget to check local licensing, permits, and other regulations before you open your doors to patients.
Concierge medicine is a wonderful solution for many physicians and patients. How do you think your own community could be better served by having a doctor who is so highly focused on preventative and high-quality care of their patients? Is a concierge practice something that you would consider?