We told you about Dr. Doug’s CNN Money feature last week. Now, in a recent article, Breitbart quotes that “after five years of dealing with the red tape of health insurance companies and the high overhead for the staff [Dr. Doug] hired just to deal with paperwork, he switched to a system of charging his patients a monthly fee plus the price of an office visit or test.” We did want to point out that this line had a bit of an error. Dr. Doug charges extra for things like MRIs, prescriptions, blood panels, but NOT for office visits. But, regardless of the minor oversight, the article generated a massive conversation, with resounding support for concierge medicine.
Tag Archives: direct medical care
The byline of last year’s LA Times article reads as follows: “Some physicians in solo practice, frustrated by long hours and less time with patients, opt for so-called concierge medicine. Critics say it could reduce access to care.” We’ve heard this argument before, and although it’s not entirely invalid, it does require a sweeping generalization, something theorists in academia do, or a teacher does when illuminating students to a mathematical law. And in doing so, it positions our field as more of a problem than a solution. They summarize direct primary care as follows: “The model is simple: Doctors charge their patients an annual fee and in turn, give them more time and attention.” While true, this overview is suspect, making us sound like we’re advocating a two-tiered system.
An article from Breitbart said recently that “despite a shortage of U.S. primary care doctors, less than 25 percent of new doctors go into this field, and fewer still work in rural areas.” The lead study author Dr. Candice Chen, is an assistant research professor of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. According to her study, only 4.8 percent of the new primary care physicians set up shop in rural areas.
RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR of the Associated Press says in a recent article that there’s good news for most companies that provide health benefits for their employees: Reports indicate that America’s slowdown in medical costs may be turning into a trend, rather than a mere pause.
Four Reasons For The Overall Price Drop In health Care
1. “Patients seeking more affordable routine services in settings like clinics springing up in retail stores, as opposed to a doctor’s office or the emergency room.”
2. “Major employers contracting directly with hospital systems that have a proven record for complicated procedures such as heart surgery and certain back operations.”
3. “The government ramping up penalties on hospitals that have too many patients coming back with problems soon after being discharged.”
4. “Employers’ ongoing effort to shift more costs to workers through higher annual deductibles, the amount people must pay each year before insurance picks up.”
First off, consider yourself blessed if you’re part of the growing community of practicing doctors who left the insurance nightmares behind. You’re going to have a lot on your plate now, even at less than maximum patient capacity. You’ve got to get your head around new billing processes, new responsibilities (like answering the phone and scheduling your own appointments) and most likely, a new office. However, you’ll want to prepare yourself for some serious patient expansion around the 18-month mark.
You know the drill already. Healthcare costs are forcing doctors to see obscene numbers of patients just to keep their lights on, causing many doctors to spend less time with their patients. Rose Egge contributed a reassuring article to Concierge Medicine Today (CMT) going over techniques that some Seattle physicians are adopting to counter this trend. And one turns out just to be concierge medicine. It figures we’d make a list of this nature.
Jerry Avorn is a professor of medicine at Harvard and an internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He’s also the author of “Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs.” He wrote an eccentric and slightly polemic opinion piece in The New York Times that connects Marie-Henri Beyle, pseudonym Stendahl, with the current state of primary care treatment techniques.
Congratulations if you’ve popped the cork on your “cash-only” concierge medicine practice! From the outset, YOU are the captain of your practice, and the sole reason that it even exists. But we’ve got another question to ask before we get to staff…
Liz Kowalczyk of The Boston Globe is adding more tinder to the price transparency fire. Her recent article follows patients who are angered by surprise surcharges tacked on to their hospital bills for doctor visits and who are starting to challenging these fees — at times refusing to pay outright!