We’ve all got our favorite websites to laugh at. But I had to share this article about concierge medicine from Business Expansion Partners. It’s not funny enough to be a spoof, but it’s so wrong that I had to address it.
Here’s a list of counter points to their insulting blog post.
“Under the Concierge Medicine model you pay a fee (retainer) to your physician to give you preferential treatment.”
Not true. An honest concierge medical facility like my own makes time to care for all of its patients. That’s why we limit each doctor to only 500 clients, so they are not stretched thin. And yes, at times, the demands are great. For instance, a family I take care of managed to bring in one child, went home and found another child with an earache, and then had a dad who needed stiches after an accident—all in one day. Needless to say, I made it work, mostly since I see 4-5 patients per day, not 25 PATIENTS EVERY MORNING, as do doctors operating in an HMO setting.
“Hopefully ‘treatment’ implies attention thus not impacting the physician’s motivation to attempt healing.”
Apparently this blogger is speaking from somewhere other than their mouth. I did not take the Hippocratic oath to do anything besides care for patients. Insurance companies have made our job more difficult than anything. That’s the allure of concierge medicine—doctors have time to actually SEE THEIR PATIENTS.
“Come to think of it I have noticed that my PCP (Primary Care Physician) has an expanding network of people (Physician Assistants, interns, students, etc.) around him that sometimes step in to provide my care. It never dawned on me to ask him if I should pay him for more direct access. How did I miss this?”
This raises an interesting point. I want to avoid industry politics, but at Atlas MD, MY PATIENTS ARE NOT PAYING EXTRA FOR MY ATTENTION. They are paying for around-the-clock access to me and my expertise, at-cost prescriptions, advice and counsel in the event of injury/sickness, and other benefits.
“The implications here are huge as a wrong decision could result in reduced access to care, timeliness in diagnosis and treatment, and potentially even death… It never dawned on me to ask… if I could pay for preferential service.”
This blogger is trying to strike fear in the hearts of its reader. Hopefully a rational person can see there is no argument here. The fact is that counties with concierge medical doctors have slightly lower ER rates. This could be due to the fact that people with injuries can call their doctor ASAP and get help. If something is less urgent, treatment can be done by the doctor with an at-home visit, with a trip to a drug store, or perhaps avoided altogether if unnecessary. It’s incremental, but the less people who go to an ER for minor injuries, the more adroit the ER can be in handling serious issues.
“Hey maybe we could launch a Frequent Patient Club (FPC) with tiers of status based on how frequently we partake in the healthcare services.”
Writing this bad threatens my professionalism. Concierge medicine is not an ACO or HMO model. We want to get away from a patient factory and move towards something more grassroots, where a service is provided and consumers pay money to get specific benefits. We’re even working with a top insurance agency to design wrap-around insurance plans with more affordable premiums that only cover catastrophic injuries and specialists. They still win since we managed to build a patient group who actually cost them $0 in a year. They made a 100% gross profit, which is nuts when you stop to think about it.
It’s funny how the writer included a Wikipedia definition of concierge medicine alongside their fallacious reasoning. In the spirit of argument, you can read the wiki on Proof by Verbosity (also referred to as Proof by Intimidation). This is where so many egregious points are listed that it’s difficult to counter each one. Lucky for me, it didn’t take long to correct them.