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The Rise of Concierge Medicine

By Jami Gibson

The healthcare industry has changed immensely over the past decade. The use of electronic record-keeping, skyrocketing insurance costs, and technological and pharmaceutical innovations have changed the way we experience medical care. One particular area of healthcare that is emerging and gaining traction is “concierge medicine,” a retainer-based, doctor-patient relationship that has many perks. Some think this business model gained traction because of the Affordable Care Act, which insured tens of millions of people formerly uninsured and magnified the doctor shortage in the U.S. Concierge medicine may be the answer for those not wanting to wait several months for a 10-minute appointment. However, even if you’re not concerned with your spot in the healthcare world, most concierge medicine offers desirable benefits to both patients and doctors. Here’s how:

Patients

  • Unlimited access to your doctor 24/7
  • Same day or next day appointments
  • Longer in-office appointment times
  • Most in-office services are covered by the retainer (no co-pay)
  • Additional services, such as x-rays, vaccinations, and extensive testing, may be covered by the retainer, or will be performed on a cash basis or billed to insurance when not covered
  • Comprehensive annual exams (sometimes using genetic testing) to create a personalized wellness plan

Doctors

  • Less risk of burnout with a patient load in the hundreds instead of the thousands
  • Fewer patients leaves more time for focused care and less time spent on other activities such as charting
  • Focus on wellness and prevention
  • Reduced staffing costs as there may not be a need for personnel to handle paperwork, copays, insurance, etc.

Every concierge practice is different in terms of retainer pricing (usually ranges from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars) and services covered, but all boast accessibility and convenience as major advantages compared to traditional practices. Are you currently using concierge medicine, or would you be willing to pay to have your doctor on speed dial?

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