Concierge and Direct Pay

I’m occasionally asked, “Do you have a Concierge practice?”  My answer is, “Yes and no” because it depends on how you define “concierge”.  If you define “concierge” as the type of practice that provides individualized care, great service and the attention you deserve when you see a doctor then yes, I have a concierge practice.

But most people who ask about a “concierge” practice (now often called “Direct Pay”) are probably asking about a kind of practice where patients become members by paying a fee of usually about $1,500/year.

This membership fee promises service for patients beyond what they might otherwise receive.  Better service is possible because the Direct Pay doctor keeps his panel of patients very small, maybe 500, so he therefore has more time to spend with each patient.  This arrangement is very good for the doctor because he has few patients and a lucrative income.  It is pretty good for the patient because they get more time with the doctor and improved access if they can afford it.  I don’t have this new type of “Concierge Practice”.

The main reason I don’t have this type of practice is because I don’t think paying all that money provides nearly as much value for patients as a straight fee-for-service model like what I offer at my office.

It is also often the case that people who need the most medical care do not have the resources to pay for entry to a Concierge Practice.  Who is going to see them?  I think my system can do it best.  My prices are reasonable and a good value for everybody.

Concierge, or Direct Pay, is an interesting alternative style of practice and I’m confident it will grow.  I hope the future of medicine allows good doctors to establish their own unique practices so patients can find the individualized care that suits them best.

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