Are There Too Many Flavors Of Concierge Medicine?

We found another article relaying the exodus of doctors to our side of the healthcare system. Here’s a passage worth checking out. It lays out valid insurance concerns in context with concierge medicine. (We inserted notes in parentheses.)

“Concierge medicine is not a substitute for health insurance. (True. That’s why we recommend a high-deductible plan or HSA program in conjunction with our subscription. The math is great. You get us, and them, for less that a traditional PPO with NO medical care administered.)
“The retainer, no matter how steep, does not cover out-of-office visits to specialists, emergency room care, hospitalization, major surgery or high-tech diagnostic tests, such as CT scans and MRIs. (Also true, but part of the reason we encourage insurance coverage. And again, these tests are not done unless a complication demands them to be performed. Seeing a doctor regularly, and actively addressing your health is one way to minimize, though not prevent, the need of these tests.)
“The fee is not reimbursed by either private health insurance or Medicare, although patients’ health savings accounts may cover some of the cost. (This is something that we COULD be fighting for. But again, the idea is to keep the price of our service low enough and the quality of care high enough to encourage “cash” payments.)”

The article continues to list out four “flavors” of concierge medicine.

  1. Patients pay an annual fee and also pay for office visits.
  2. Patients pay an annual fee for all in-office care (and in cases like ours, remote visits).
  3. In a hybrid practice, the doctor continues to see all patients but sets aside a few hours each day for patients who pay an extra fee.
    Here’s a video segment from ABC Oklahoma City News of Dr. Robert Blakeburn who operates a hybrid practice. For the record, we’re a bit skeptical of this model. It feels like the type of care that our critics reference when they say we’re “only for the elite” and creating a “two-tier” healthcare system. This is by definition two-tiered, which poses a definite semantic problem.
  4. Some practices operate with the same “family principles” as we do, but then bills for insurance reimbursement.
    This last one is a stretch, and kind of contradicts the point of concierge medicine.

Needless to say, we might need to come up with a new term for AtlasMD style of family medicine. We believe our model is the most affordable, the most encompassing and the most rewarding for our patients. In three years we’ve increased our staff to three doctors and nearly 1,150 patients. And our newest member, Michael Palomino, is keeping nice and busy.