Concierge Medicine, Doctors abandon Traditional Care
Fed up with crowded waiting rooms, impersonal visits and the insurance industry’s red tape, more and more doctors nationwide are abandoning traditional care in favor of concierge medicine. It’s a trend that many medical consumers don’t yet know about.
An estimated 1,500 doctors nationwide have abandoned traditional care in favor of concierge medicine. There are even professional networks of physicians affiliated with the practice of concierge health care, such as MDVIP and the Society for Innovative Medical Practice Design.
Typically, doctors who practice concierge medicine:
- limit the number of patients they see
- deliver more personalized attention
- help develop a wellness plan tailored to each individual’s lifestyle.
In return, concierge health care providers on average charge a yearly fee that can be $1,000 or more, which insurance generally does not cover, though most insurance companies do cover the medical treatment itself.
- Interview your doctor: Your physician is working for you. Ask questions to learn more about your doctor, like how he or she would treat a preexisting condition, handles emergencies during off hours, and her or his education and residency background. This initial visit should offer a good indicator of the type of care you are likely to receive. Is the doctor standing by the door with one hand on the handle while you are asking these questions, or is he or she willing to sit down with you and answer your inquiries?
- Know what you are paying for: How many patients will your doctor see on any given day? How long should you expect to wait for an appointment? Will your doctor respond personally to your emails and phone calls? Most concierge doctors should be available upon request. Also, how much will the doctor charge for the service? Will the doctor accept your insurance plan and will your insurance accept your doctor?
- Ask questions about your health: Your doc might throw some big words around when discussing your health, so don’t settle for being in the dark if you don’t understand the lingo. It’s your body. Make sure you have all the facts and don’t be afraid to seek a second – or even third or fourth – opinion. Also, if you have questions coming into the exam, write them down so you don’t forget what you want to ask.
- Know your vitals: Keep track of things like your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight and other vital statistics. Knowing this information, where you are and where you need to be, is vital itself.
- Research your doctor: The days of picking a name out of a phone book are gone. There is a variety of resources – including Angie’s List – available for consumers to make informed decisions before choosing a new physician
*1,178 Angie’s List members took our poll. Responses are representative of Angie’s List members, but not the general public.