August 17, 2011

Concierge Practice Is a Doctor's Right

Web activity about concierge medical practice is getting heated and more is being said almost every week. A few months ago, there was a blog now and then and some exploratory articles, but in the last week, there had been a flurry of blogs and articles. Some have been very condemning and others very open and forward thinking. Not being a doctor, I can only express my thoughts of how I view them as a potential patient.

First, is it really a doctor's right to have a concierge-type practice? What is to prevent this from becoming a bigger fact of life than it already is? I think that a doctor has every right to have a medical practice in any form the doctor desires. As long as the doctor maintains his/her license to practice, why does he/she need to be locked into one form of medical practice – even one that is flawed like our current system?

I can see advantages for certain doctors to have the concierge medical practice. This allows them the freedom outside the restrictions of a standard practice as we have become accustom to using. The cost of overhead can be cut dramatically as employees may or many not be needed. Time spent doing paperwork for insurance is non-existent, and a lot of other expenses just don't happen. In some areas the doctor can own the building and only pay taxes and utilities plus maintenance. Otherwise, the office can be rented and pay utilities.

The doctor in the this article lays out a good case for concierge practice. It is an interview and the doctor does and excellent job of ignoring obvious attempts to agitate him and stays on topic. He spells out the advantages to doctors and patients who desire wellness and not treating an illness or disease after the fact. Yes, there will be some of that, but prevention and wellness will now receive the value it should.

Someone really felt that they had been stepped on in this article and wrote about it as if people did not understand what was happening. I don't agree with the author and the understanding felt was directed at the profession. At least the author of the original article was allowed to respond. I do think his attack on the concierge practice is misplaced and a little over the top.

There will definitely be some problems left behind in the aftermath of primary care physicians moving to concierge practices, but people will start demanding to see doctors and some of the specialists may end up doing some of the primary care whether they wish to or not.

A patient describes a visit to a doctor in concierge practice and describes his satisfaction with the visit. Enjoy reading his blog.

I do have one concern – that being the new medical organizations being established under the Affordable Care Act. How will the concierge practices fit within the Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), or will they be completely exempt. Once this is established, I can see many benefits for concierge medical practices.

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