The Affordable Care Act is adding new patients to already over taxed health primary care doctors. Waiting times to see a doctor have increased and newly insured patients are trying to understand their benefits fully and their financial requirements. However, health industry analysts are also seeing an increase in concierge care, a service most people associate with the wealthy.
Perhaps it is an unintended result, but concierge care has fallen or climbed down from its mountain top that was reachable by only the wealthy and morphed into a more affordable way for patients not part of the top 1 percent to get treatment.
Patients impacted by the shortage of primary doctors are turning to concierge medicine as it guarantees treatment in a timely manner by an experienced doctor who specializes in primary care, according to Matt Jacobsen, Founder, and CEO of SignatureMD, a concierge medical provider himself. Jacobsen explained that doctors practicing concierge receive monthly retainers. The income from retainers allowed concierge doctors to see fewer patients. The patients they do see receive preventive care as well as acute care as more time is now available to practice high-quality medicine.
Experts in the health care industries say the United States is on the verge of a doctor shortage that will affect all of us. By January of 2018, we will be short about 65,000 primary care doctors warns Jacobsen.
Most large cities in the United States already have concierge medical practices. One Medical Group is a concierge practice in New York City. Patient/members pay an annual fee of $199 per patient. The group has online scheduling and accepts health insurance. Health insurance does not cover the practice’s annual fee.
Some concierge medical providers see opportunity by contracting with employers. Chairman and CEO of Best Doctors, David Seligman says his company, a global health company with more than 30 million members across the globe selects doctors from a database of the top 5 percent of physicians. To insure the data is correct, the Gallup organization completes audits and certifies the outcomes. Services like Best Doctors are attractive to employers, as they believe there use will lead to lower health care expenses from more accuracy in diagnosis.
Doctors wanting to investigate the prospects of offering concierge services should read the latest article by SoftwareAdvice (here).
Other companies are taking approaches that are more novel for providing concierge medicine. The market for their telemedicine service is employers or high net worth people. The telemedicine practice is a complete medical practice for people who are a great distance from traditional personal medical care or too busy to go the doctor. World Clinic is a telemedicine practice. According to Daniel Carlin of World Clinic explains why telemedicine is an important topic.
Carlin says that in the immediate future people will have to line up to see a doctor. He blames Medicare for politicizing patient care and punishing primary physicians with artificially low reimbursement rates. Carlin feels that the system now rewards emergency care and punishes preventative medical care.
PwC’s Health Research Institute’s managing director is Ceci Connolly. She has some interesting opinions about health care too.
Today’s health care purchasers, whether employers, government or families want more health services for their health care dollar. Connolly says that this creates opportunities for businesses that offer easy to understand information so consumers can compare and shop for a variety of health care items including health insurance, hospitals, doctors and a variety of other medical products and services.
Connolly also discussed what she termed the “new necessities” in the health care sector.
She envisions many medical services being “tiered” with varying costs related to options. She said her company believes that by quickly analyzing data it will learn valuable insights to care givers. This is important because necessity is a complex emotion. She wonders who had ever believed that cell phones would move from novelty status to necessity.
As the shortage in primary care continues to influence medical care, Connolly believes that based on our existing knowledge of health care consumers, some medical services, such as getting in for a routine medical issue with only a short wait, will move from luxury status to necessity. As Americans begin to understand the services available under the Affordable Care Act rapid access to service may become more important – and that is good for the concierge medical practices.
The most efficient way to get the data sought by Connolly and scores of other companies is through practicing best billing practices. Demographic, procedure, and diagnosis data is easily retrievable with electronic billing systems and electronic medical records as they store the very information critical to the success of concierge practices. With cloud-based systems, no matter where a medical service takes place, providers use any device with an Internet connection and all appropriate data for billing and an electronic medical record transmits to the server for billing and entry into the patient’s chart.
Last Updated on January 28, 2014