Have you ever wondered why you’re not able to follow-up with your doctor regarding any questions you might have after your appointment without making another one and paying the fee? This question only has one answer: they do not get paid to do this.
One exception to this rule is concierge doctors. Concierge doctors are doctors that step out of the world of the traditional insurance system and are available for their patients almost 24/7.
They see their patients the same day if needed or the following day, depending on their schedule. They are able to stay in touch with their patients by email or phone and provide constant support.
Understanding the Effectiveness of Concierge Medicine
Concierge doctors are your essentially personal assistants for health. They’ll provide you with your blood test results, schedule appointments with specialists, or send you reminders regarding a prescription refill.
Heritage Foundation scholar, Daniel McCorry, points out that for the five states (NY, FL, Virginia, Arizona, and Nevada) where there was sufficient patient information, decreases in preventable hospital use accounted for $119.4 million in savings in 2010 alone.
Across these states, these savings come to $2,551 per patient, which is significantly greater than the payment made for concierge medical practices in the whole year.
Furthermore, all the five states listed above indicated positive health results for these patients indicating that the quality of care is as better. Back in the same year, 2010, patients treated by concierge doctors underwent fewer admissions compared to patients of traditional practices.
Similarly, the British Medical Journal study of Qliance, which is a primary care group practice, presents similar positive results.
The study indicates that Qliance’s patients suffered “35% fewer hospitalizations, 65% fewer emergency department visits, 66% fewer specialist visits, and 82% fewer surgeries than similar populations”.
The Flip-side of the Equation
With that, then the question arises – can everyone be covered with concierge medicine? Sure they can. But herein is a problem too. Typically, primary physicians continue to bill Medicare and other insurance companies.
And they are only reimbursed by insurance for face-to-face visits and essentially a full fee for only one problem per visit, which is an inefficient practice of medicine.
Interestingly enough it is possible that the entire population of patients could have a concierge doctor with no more demand for doctors. However, that would mean that we would have to get rid of insurance companies and third-party payments.
Only then would we have a doctor (a concierge doctor) that would be able to talk over the phone, email, or text messaging. However, that would mean the patient would have to agree to pay for the entire costs associated with primary care.
If you are facing a hard time getting in touch with your primary care physician or have to wait several months before your next appointment, you might want to check out Giles Family Medicine.
Giles Family Medicine is a privately owned concierge medicine practice located in Tucson, Arizona. The team Medicine ensures that it is able to address all of their patient’s needs in a timely manner with the highest quality of care the patients deserve.