The Affordable Care Act is adding new patients to already over taxed health primary care doctors, creating even longer waiting times. Newly insured patients are trying to fully understand their benefits 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 changed from its more wealthy clientele and morphed into a more affordable way for patients (outside of the 1%) to get treatment.
According to Matt Jacobsen, Founder, and CEO of SignatureMD, 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. 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. Jacobsen warns that by January of 2018, we will be short about 65,000 primary care doctors.
The complexities of concierge care
1. Contracts 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 an article by Software Advice.
Other companies such as World Clinic are taking more novel approaches. The market for their telemedicine service is employers or people with a high-net worth. 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.
Daniel Carlin of World Clinic explains why telemedicine is an important topic, he 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.
3. More services on a dollar
PwC’s Health Research Institute’s managing director Ceci Connolly has 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 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 which is beneficial for 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 12, 2021