ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y.--()--Once thought of as healthcare for the well-to-do only, concierge medicine today has expanded its range of programs and options for physicians and patients. With costs starting as low as $125.00 per month – less than what many people spend on daily trips to the local coffee shop – a growing number of patients are finding concierge programs to be an affordable choice for their health needs.
“People are looking at concierge as a viable option because it is becoming more affordable and because it helps to protect the doctor and patient relationship many patients really want and value.”
The move to explore new options coincides with another trend; fewer physicians remaining in practice and those that are, limiting practice size. A recent survey by the Physician’s Foundation found that 50 percent of physicians will cut back on patients seen, will switch to part-time, switch to concierge medicine, or retire within the next four years.1
Recognizing the importance of creating practice models that encourage good physicians to stay in practice and of preserving a strong relationship between patients and doctors, Wayne Lipton pioneered the innovative hybrid model of concierge medicine through Concierge Choice Physicians (CCP).
In hybrid programs, physicians can add concierge medicine as an option for patients who want it, while continuing to care for all other patients as before.
“Doctors want to provide care to their patients, but it is getting less personally and professionally rewarding to do so in today’s changing healthcare marketplace,” notes Wayne Lipton, founder of Concierge Choice Physicians. “People are looking at concierge as a viable option because it is becoming more affordable and because it helps to protect the doctor and patient relationship many patients really want and value.”
Ask the right questions
To determine if a concierge program might be right for you and your family, physicians offering CCP’s hybrid or full-model concierge programs have developed a quick checklist:
1. You hate to be told it will take three weeks or more to get an appointment and get annoyed by excessive waits to see your chosen doctor. Convenience is a big reason patients turn to concierge medicine. While in most practices patients can get in to see a provider when they want, seeing their chosen or preferred physician can be much more difficult. Selecting a concierge practice eliminates this frustration because your physician will be available when you want to see him or her.
2. You want a doctor that knows you and your unique needs. Concierge medicine enables doctors to return to the old fashioned way of practicing medicine, where the doctor knows not only about a patient’s medical history, but also the patient’s family and personal history as well. While the average medical visit today is 15 minutes, concierge visits are unhurried, giving the time for more meaningful dialogue about health questions, needs and concerns.
3. You or a family member has a chronic illness. Anyone who has ever had a chronic illness knows that managing the condition can be like having a second job. You need to coordinate among multiple physicians, tests, evaluations, prescriptions, prescriptions and treatments, plus manage your own hospital stays or ER visits when necessary. In a concierge practice, as a health advocate, your physician helps you manage the process and, guides you through the confusing complexities of the medical system toward the best care plan.
4. You’ve reached a stage in life where you want a lifestyle coach. Many patients today want more than lip service about prevention and wellness – they want concrete medically sound programs – led by a trusted physician who can help them maximize their potential for better health. Concierge medicine is structured so that physicians can become coaches, working with you to build a plan for better health that addresses your distinct lifestyle needs and goals.
5. You are concerned about a move toward “big box” or “assembly line” medicine. There are a lot of changes taking place in healthcare today. Some consumers are concerned about what they perceive as a move toward de-personalized medicine, where they become simply a number, not a person. Healthcare leaders are striving to create a system that provides better options for all patients. Concierge and hybrid programs are a part of a strong system that provides a range of choices for all patients.
Defining Concierge Medicine
Concierge medicine brings back the personalized care that most patients and doctors prefer. For an annual fee, concierge patients receive a range of services not covered by traditional insurance programs. These services include: an in-depth executive physical examination, conducted by their physician, which often would retail for more than the annual concierge fee; convenient appointment scheduling; office visits that allow plenty of time for the physician to discuss, analyze and plan for each patient’s care; and a direct private phone for members during the day as well as a line for after business hours.
For more information on hybrid concierge programs, or to find a concierge physician in your area, visit CCP at www.choice.md and click on the Find a Physician link.
About Concierge Choice Physicians
Concierge Choice Physicians™ is a private company headquartered in Rockville Centre, N.Y. Concierge Choice Physicians offers a hybrid medical practice option so that doctors can offer both traditional and concierge-style medicine within a single practice. The company works with medical practices in 20 states and growing, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Hawaii. For more information, visit www.choice.md or call 877-888-5590.
1 Physician’s Foundation, Biannual Survey, 2012. http://www.physiciansfoundation.org/uploads/default/Physicians_Foundation_2012_Biennial_Survey.pdf