November 3, 2008
Is Concierge Medical Care Right For You?
Long waiting times, brief appointments and a shortage of primary care physicians have many Americans frustrated with the quality and quantity of the medical care they receive.
Concierge medicine offers an alternative that brings back the personalized care that most patients - and their doctors - long for. For an annual fee, concierge patients receive services such as an executive-type physical examination and evaluation, 24 hour-a-day physician availability via cell phone or pager, and immediate appointments with enough time to discuss, analyze and plan for their care.
If you are in the process of choosing your primary care physician, you might consider the concierge option. Concierge Choice Physicians(TM) (CCP), the largest national company offering a "hybrid" model of concierge medicine which enables physicians to offer both concierge care and keep their traditional practice, has developed this checklist to determine if concierge care may be right for you.
1. You Want Personalized Care, a la "Marcus Welby, MD"
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 about their family and personal history as well. Today, a typical primary care practice can have 2,500 active patients or more, with doctors seeing 20 to 40 patients a day. Concierge physicians on average see less than half that number, enabling them to spend additional time with each patient, getting to know them, their situation, and their health needs.
2. You or a Family Member Has a Chronic Illness
Managing care for a chronic illness may seem like having a second job, what with coordinating multiple physicians, tests, evaluations, prescriptions, treatments, and even hospital stays or ER visits. A concierge physician can "run interference" for you, cut through the confusing complexities of the medical system and guide you towards the best care plan for a complicated situation.
3. You Just Don't Have Time to Wait for Medical Attention
A doctor visit can require weeks or even months of waiting for an opening in the schedule, and then take half a day or more, factoring in time spent waiting in the reception room. Many people with busy schedules simply cannot plan their life around a doctor's availability. Selecting a concierge practice eliminates that frustration, as your physician will be available when you need him or her.
4. You Want a Health Coach Who Will Be a Proactive Advocate for You to Be Well, Not Just Disease-Free
The additional time and focus from the concierge physician means that your doctor can lead you to optimal health as an advocate, coach, and proactive advisor. With longer office visits and more time to be intimately familiar with your medical and family history, your doctor can develop a much more tailored care plan and then work with you to follow through with it. Physicians can more fully analyze any risk factors, such as depression, career or stress issues, and emerging symptoms that can be treated and perhaps prevented in the future. They can develop recommendations and tips for you to stay healthy, and introduce preventive care and wellness programs that contribute to your overall health and well-being.
5. You Want Full Diagnostic and Assessment Services
Many insurance plans do not cover the complete preventive physical evaluation and counseling that the concierge practice provides for its annual fee. Concierge physicians can offer services such as a comprehensive annual preventive examination, physician-to-physician coordination of specialty referrals, a wellness assessment, and a written report of the results and recommendations.
6. You or Your Family Members Have Multiple Residences, or Travel Frequently
Some patients select concierge medicine for their college-age children so that they can have immediate access to their doctor by phone and e-mail while they are away at school. Others want it for elderly parents who have complicated health needs, especially if they live away from their children. When traveling, immediate access to your physician can literally be a lifesaver in a medical emergency, and a valuable convenience for less urgent health matters.
7. You Have the Discretionary Income to Pay the Concierge Fee
While many may consider concierge care a service for the well-to-do, the reality is that the majority of patients are middle class and the cost is less than anticipated. The price of an annual fee in the case of Concierge Choice Physicians is equivalent to about the cost of one daily trip to Starbucks.
To find a concierge care physician in your area visit Concierge Choice Physicians' web site at www.choice.md or call 877-888-5590.
About Concierge Choice Physicians
Concierge Choice Physicians(TM) is a private company headquartered in Rockville Centre, New York. Concierge Choice Physicians offers the hybrid model of concierge medicine so doctors can practice traditional and concierge medicine within a single practice. Physicians never have to dismiss current patients and continuity of patient care is maintained. Concierge Choice Physicians operates in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and New Jersey. For more information, visit our web site at www.choice.md or call 877-888-5590.