Concierge medicine offers a vast array of services at all price points
January 19, 2011
The term concierge suggests a world of self-indulgence, but the basic model of concierge medicine may simply provide good healthcare. The January 2011 issue of Town & Country, reports on this trend, citing as an example, MDVIP, one of the largest providers of concierge medicine. MDVIP has 430 physicians in 30 states plus the District of Columbia. For an annual fee ranging from $1,500 to $1,800, you can receive unrestricted doctor access by phone, text and email; house calls, if necessary; a comprehensive annual exam and office appointments of no less than half an hour.
It is no wonder that this red-carpet service, including same day service and an end to waiting room vigils, is a growing trend. In some models, you can have chefs and personal trainers organized for you and receive massages, fitness evaluations and medical jet evacuation.
For physicians, an annual upfront fee can mean an end to juggling the huge caseloads necessitated by slim insurance reimbursements. With this model, doctors can radically limit the number of patients they see and have a chance to practice medicine in the old-fashioned tradition. Physicians bill insurance companies for approved medical procedures but the annual fees covers all the extras.
According to Marshall, “Most concierge medicine is surprisingly inexpensive. The average monthly cost at more than half of these practices is less than $135 and some concierge doctors charge as little as $25 a month, according to a poll by Concierge Medicine Today.”
But you can also spend a lot of money. There is a platinum practice in which the physician travels via private jet to make house calls for a full-service retainer fee of $150,000. There is a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon that has adopted the concierge model, charging $50,000 a year for house calls, all facial procedures, skin cancer and accident treatment, Botox, fillers and unlimited facials. But this model is a rarity among plastic surgeons; most concierge medicine providers are internists and family practitioners, with a growing number of dentists and pediatricians. Concierge medicine has increased from 500 practices in 2005 to more than 5,000 in 2009, making this a trend that bears watching.
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