Navigation Links
Concierge Medicine--Premier Medical Service for a Price
Date:8/13/2008

With patients demanding a greater level of customer service during office visits and physicians receiving reduced amounts of income through standard insurance reimbursements, a growing trend in the healthcare profession is the practice of "concierge medicine." However, there are important ethical and legal questions that surround this controversial approach to patient care, as discussed in a special report in the most recent edition of the Jackson & Coker Industry Report entitled "Concierge Medicine--A Growing Trend?"

Alpharetta, GA (PRWEB) August 13, 2008 -- With patients demanding a greater level of customer service during office visits and physicians receiving reduced amounts of income through standard insurance reimbursements, a growing trend in the healthcare profession is the practice of "concierge medicine." The premise behind this concept is that some patients are willing to open their wallets wider to pay for a "premier" level of medical service and personal attention.

However, there are important ethical and legal questions that surround this controversial approach to patient care, as discussed in a special report in the most recent edition of the http://www.jacksoncoker.com/newsletter/Long_7282008.aspx [Jackson & Coker Industry Report entitled "Concierge Medicine--A Growing Trend?"]

"Admittedly, concierge medicine is making some significant inroads into the healthcare community, but there are important questions that need to be addressed concerning this innovative practice model," mentions Sandra Garrett, president of Jackson & Coker.

Understanding the Concept:
Often referred to as "boutique medicine," "direct practice," "retainer practice," or "innovative practice design," concierge medicine is not a brand-new concept. For the last dozen years, a growing number of physician practices in the United States have experimented with the concept of offering a more personalized approach to treating patients who are willing to pay more out-of-pocket fees for shorter wait times during office visits, lengthier consultations, 24/7 access to their primary care physician via cell phone, and, in some instances, house calls by someone on the medical staff.

All of this is for a price. Often times, concierge practices offer a tiered-approach to fees for service. On top of customary insurance billing, the practice may charge patients annual fees ranging from $1,000 per person or upwards of $15,000 to $20,000 per family.

Thomas W. LaGrelius, MD, FAAFP, president of the Society for Innovative Medical Practice Design (SIMPD) http://www.simpd.org/ [simpd.org], addresses the matter of cost: "The range of fees goes down to as low as $39 per month for full care concierge services" in some practices. "The national average is less than $150 per month and membership levels as low as 50 patients. The average practice has about 600 patients as its cap. Keep in mind, the most expensive concierge doctor with the fewest patients is the White House doctor."

Some critics of concierge medicine raise this important question: How can healthcare practitioners justify concierge medicine on the upper end of the tier, given the fact that an estimated 40+ million of U.S. residents lack any insurance coverage at all? Furthermore, by making medical treatment even more costly, doesn't this widen the current disparity in healthcare delivery that is of concern to many segments of society?

"Such critics are short-sighted. Insurance is the problem, not the solution," mentions Dr. LaGrelius. "Most primary care doctors today run from room to room with seven-minute visits accomplishing next to nothing in the pursuit of generating enough CPT codes to keep the office solvent. Half the money paid to health plans and government for health care is wasted."

"Concierge doctors have been shown to cut high tech and hospital costs by as much as 60-85%. Insurance is not a useful tool in the delivery of primary care. Such care should be purchased directly, thus eliminating the costly, meddlesome middle man," he points out.

In fact, proponents of concierge medicine stipulate that for a modest $100 - $200 monthly retainer, along with higher deductibles to cover serious emergencies, providing patients significantly greater personalized medical attention is actually cheaper than traditional insurance-based healthcare models.

Direct practice proponents would further argue that this approach to patient treatment is intended to bridge the gap between theory and practice concerning consumer-driven medicine, and as such might serve as a viable model for reformed healthcare care in America.

Lingering Questions:
No matter which side of the argument one supports, there are lingering questions that concern all sectors of the healthcare community, as the JCIR special report notes. For instance, the American Medical Association (AMA) emphasizes that licensed physicians are obligated to provide the same level of care to all patients treated, regardless of their economic status. (Direct practitioners would emphasis that they also abide by this ethical standard.)

With respect to consumer satisfaction, patients who pay out-of-pocket $10,000 or more for family medical care certainly expect a different level of service than they have previously received.

Quality of care is judged by recipients of medical treatment, regardless of the cost, explains Dr. LaGrelius: "Keep in mind, the average concierge fee today is less than $150 per month. Most Americans pay more for cable, cell phone bills and cigarettes. Concierge medicine costs, like cell phones, are going down and such care is being used by more and more average Americans. That trend will continue. Most innovations start with wealthier people and then become generalized."

Furthermore, there are ethical and legal matters concerning when and how to inform current patients when a medical practice transitions to a retainer-based model. Patients who cannot afford concierge-level medical care must be given the opportunity to continue seeing competent physicians whose services are more affordable.

Concierge physicians have no problem with this stipulation, but point out that their approach to primary care medicine is to rule in, not rule out, persons who can benefit from access to "direct practice medical homes," much like the Dr. Welby-type practices of yester-year. Or at least that's their visionary goal.

As healthcare costs and delivery models are hotly debated in this political season, a fresh spotlight shines on innovative practice design, which will undoubtedly gain much more attention in the foreseeable future.

Ms. Garrett comments: "Our special report on concierge medicine raises concerns for all segments of the healthcare community. Though an interesting concept, it remains to be seen how widespread concierge medicine will be adopted by patients and practitioners who generally agree that improving customer service is a priority in our consumer-driven society."
            
About http://www.jacksoncoker.com/ [Jackson & Coker]:
Begun in 1978, Jackson & Coker is a prominent physician recruitment firm headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia. The firm places physicians in over 40 medical specialties as well as advanced practitioners (such as CRNAs) in temporary (locum tenens) assignments and permanent placement opportunities.

Jackson & Coker is a member of a "family of companies" known as Jackson Healthcare (JH). The corporation provides information technology and human resources solutions to hospitals and healthcare organizations across the country. Jackson Healthcare has the distinction of being voted among "Atlanta's Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies" and designated by Inc. Magazine as among "The Fastest growing U.S. private companies."

More information concerning http://www.jacksoncoker.com/ [Jackson & Coker]--along with the monthly Jackson & Coker Industry Report--can be found at www.jacksoncoker.com.

###

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/08/prweb1201784.htm


'/>"/>
Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2008 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. MSU engineering team designs innovative medical device
2. ATS Medical to Present at the 2007 Thomas Weisel Partners Healthcare Conference
3. Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Caregivers Reach Agreement on a Union Contract
4. Owner and Operator of Florida Durable Medical Equipment Company Convicted of Medicare Fraud
5. Father and Daughter From Tanzania Receive Their First Medical Examination in Newport Beach
6. Doctors and medical ethicist discuss whether doctors should participate in capital punishment
7. Preparation for Natural Disasters Critical for People With Diabetes, Chronic Medical Conditions
8. Doctors and Medical Ethicist Discuss Whether Doctors Should Participate in Capital Punishment
9. Symmetry Medical Completes Acquisition Of Specialty Surgical Instruments
10. Milestone Scientific Announces Successful Completion of its Collaboration Agreement With Carticept Medical
11. FDA Seeks to Regulate Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Products Such as Vegetable Juice Could Be Restricted for Medical Use
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Concierge Medicine--Premier Medical Service for a Price
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have ... these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as ... Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood ... something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a ... children and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm ... 2016 Legal Elite. The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered ... Seven Greenberg Traurig Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® ... American Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to ... and other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils ... an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic ... 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay ... Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne ... Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of ... Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Research ... "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical ... structures, replacing dumb structures such as vehicle bodies ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical ... the "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan ... "Hongyuan Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop ... the strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: