Concierge medicine, also known as boutique medicine, is being described as the health care of the future. The complaints that I commonly hear from patients, is that their past physician a) “just made an appearance”, b) didn’t spend enough time with the patient, and c) “didn’t listen”. Reimbursements for health care have declined, and chronic illness continues to soar. Chronic illness requires an incredible amount of time for each patient. It is not only the face-to-face time with the patient, but it also includes questions from pharmacies, prior authorizations, test scheduling, and insurance problems – just to name a few. This constitutes greater time and office staff needed to care for each patient, while reimbursement from insurance declines. I can assure you NO ONE is getting rich in primary care.
What is Concierge Medicine?
This fast-growing concept requires that patients pay an annual retainer, or fee, similar to those that attorneys charge clients. The annual fee ranges from $1,500 to $20,000. Concierge physicians limit the number of patients they see, somewhere between 500 and 1,000, greatly reducing overall caseload and allowing them to spend more personal time with patients.
This fee varies per practice, and the amenities also vary. Some amenities include:
- Same Day Appointments
- Access to physician 24/7
- Shorter Waiting Times
- Longer Face To Face With Provider
Is Concierge Medicine Really The Wave Of The Future
We live in a “fast food” society. We have to have things done immediately. We don’t wait to buy things; we just put it on a credit card. We don’t wait for things to bake, we microwave them. And now, we don’t wait for our appointments, we have to get in NOW. Did you know there are local emergency rooms that allow you to schedule an appointment? In my opinion, if you have to make an appointment to go to the ER, then…… IT’S NOT AN EMERGENCY!! So, is having 24/7 access to your provider really necessary? It concerns me that this type of practice is becoming common place and being expected.
So, what about those who cannot afford this practice type, or those who choose not to? I have read that some have taken out loans to pay for this type of health care. It is important to remember that just because you pay a “boutique” price, doesn’t mean you will receive the best healthcare. I would even contend that those are the providers I would avoid. Why are they in health care? Obviously, it is not to care for the masses, but simply to care for those with enough money to pay for these services.
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have been providing personalize, high-quality, affordable care to patients for years. Nurse Practitioners are expert nurses with advanced degrees. We examine, diagnose, treat and prescribe medications to millions of people everyday. \
The top reasons that people are choosing to see NPs include:
- “My Nurse Practitioner spends more time with me.”
- “They listen to me!”
- “I feel like I can talk more openly to them”
Wait a minute… Isn’t this Concierge Medicine, without the added cost? It appears to me physicians are trying to do what Nurse Practitioners have been doing for years.
Despite health care reform efforts, our health care crisis is spinning out of control. This creates a “perfect storm” of opportunity for NPs, created by a shortage of PCPs. We are caring for an aging population, with numerous chronic illnesses. While all of this may sound foreboding, the good news is there are almost 140,000 NPs practicing the United States. Your economic status, race, or religion does not matter to the NP. NPs are stepping up to the plate to help meet the health care needs of our nation. Nurse Practitioners are the best kept secret in health care.
Have You Hugged Your Nurse Practitioner Today!!
What are your thoughts on Concierge Medicine? Who would you prefer to see? Why? I want to hear from you!