More and more Phoenix area doctors are considering concierge medicine. Doctors and citizens alike are concerned about the consequences of healthcare reform. Physicians are concerned about the consequences of the health care reform. The bill will likely mean fewer doctors and more patients for general practice physicians as well as reduction in reimbursement. These conditions have triggered a very dramatic surge for doctors into the practice of concierge or boutique medicine.
Concierge or boutique medicine has been around for the last decade but was most common for the wealthiest social classes including the middle upper and upper class. With the dawn of healthcare reform approaching more doctors are choosing to start concierge medicine practices.
This news is shocking as the current number of medical school students choosing to become general practitioners is decreasing at an alarming rate. This means that by the time the government actually passes a healthcare reform bill we may have a shortage of doctors and an overflow of new patients.
Patients who use concierge medicine pay an annual fee, or retainer that ranges in price with the average annual fee of $1500 but can go upwards of $15,000. With the retainer, patients receive concierge like service from their doctor. This includes 24/7 accessibility via phone and email, personalized care, same day appointments and in some cases sit-in with specialized and bedside hospital care. Depending upon the doctor they may or may not still bill insurance companies for the services they provide.
Concierge doctors limit their patient load. The number of patients they have can range from 100 to 1000, a fraction of the number of patients general doctors see per year. Reducing the patient load has its benefits and doctors are able to devote more time and personalized care to their patients.
The jump to concierge medicine doesn’t come without opposition. Economists and health care providers alike have agreed on the negative side effects of concierge medicine. These effects include a growing gap between social classes and fewer general practitioners to care for those who cannot afford it.
Despite the negative effects of concierge medicine it is not hard to see where the doctors are coming from and why more and more are starting their own or joining already existing concierge medicine practices.