Impact of Concierge Doctors

June 19, 2012

Some innovative physicians are rebundling and repricing medical services in ways that are not possible under third-party insurance.  For a fixed monthly fee, they offer flexible appointments, help in scheduling diag­nostic tests and appointments with specialists, help in negotiating prices and

fees, and other services.  Many will meet their patients at the emergency room to ensure prompt service, says NCPA President and CEO John C. Goodman in his new book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.

  • Most concierge doctors promise same-day or next-day appointments.
  • Some diagnostic testing services make the test results available to patients online within 24 to 48 hours.

Concierge physicians tend to relate to their patients in much the same way lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professionals interact with their clients -- including phone calls, e-mail consultations and convenient Web-based services.

As demand for health care increases with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and there is no corresponding change in supply, there will be increased waiting for care almost everywhere.  One place patients will turn is con­cierge doctors.  

  • In return for an annual fee, patients receive increased access and additional services.
  • Whereas a doctor in a regular practice typically has about 2,500 patients, a concierge practice usually has only about 500 patients.
  • The more doctors that opt out of conventional care for concierge care, the greater the rationing problem becomes for everyone left behind.
  • This could result in a two-tiered system in which those with more financial resources have concierge care, and everyone else is subjected to rationing by waiting.

Source: John C. Goodman, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, Independent Institute, June 2012.

To read more and purchase the book:

http://www.independent.org/priceless/

 

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