What is concierge medicine or a membership-based practice?
Concierge medicine goes by several names including direct primary care or membership-based practice.
So what is a concierge medical practice exactly?
Simply put, it’s a direct patient-provider practice where a patient enters into a direct relationship with the physician and pays a fixed amount directly to the physician for primary care services.
There is no hassle with third party payers or insurance companies which take a physician’s time away from providing patient care and which create high overhead for physicians.
While I do not bill insurance for the care I provide you, I do work directly with your insurance company to get health care services covered for you including labwork, medications, imaging, or referrals to specialists.
What’s the advantage of seeing a concierge physician?
At full capacity, my practice will be less than a third the size of a typical primary care physician’s practice which means I can spend more time with you during your appointment and provide more comprehensive care for your healthcare needs.
Furthermore, there are no long waits for an appointment to see your doctor.
You can get same day appointments when you are sick and need to be seen right away.
Lastly, you see me, your doctor for all of your visits.
You don’t see a nurse practitioner, a physician’s assistant or another doctor who doesn’t know you or know your health problems.
What is unique about my practice?
As a physician, I pride myself in being kind, compassionate, respectful and available to my patients.
As a concierge medical doctor, I pride myself in providing exceptional customer service and high quality care to my patients.
You, the patient, are front and center.
We all value our health.
When it comes to our health and being sick, most of us want fast, convenient service, but we also want a relationship with our doctor.
It’s important to ask yourself what kind of relationship you want with your doctor.
Think about the current health care you are getting.
Are you happy with the care you are receiving at your doctor’s practice?
Do you feel heard and taken care of by your current physician?
Do you feel he or she spends enough time with you at your visits to do a thorough evaluation and answer all your questions?
Or do you feel rushed at your visits or experience long wait times to get an appointment with your doctor?
Do you get seen on time at your doctor’s office or do you often find that your doctor is running behind on his or her schedule?
Do you feel it’s easy and convenient to get a hold of your doctor when you need him or her?
Hopefully, you answered yes to all of these questions, but if not, maybe it’s time to consider seeing a concierge physician.
What is another advantage to concierge medicine or direct primary care?
Not only are individuals using direct primary care, but labor unions and state governments and other business in the U.S. are using it for their employees.
You might be asking, why are they using concierge medical doctors? Isn’t concierge medicine more expensive?
Actually, what they have found is that direct primary care services has not only cut down on costs, but has also decreased the need for emergency room visits, specialist referrals, need for advanced imaging and surgeries.
I recently asked a patient of mine if she would be willing to share her experience of joining my concierge practice and here’s what she had to say:
“There came a time when a traditional primary care practice stopped working for me. I’m not saying that individual providers weren’t competent physicians, just that the delivery system was not working.
I’m a psychotherapist in a private practice; a client of mine mentioned that she begun seeing a concierge physician in a membership model primary care practice, so I decided to check it out.
I found Dr. Bazel, a member-based practitioner who was the right answer to my difficultly navigating the traditional primary delivery care system.
She spent a lot of time getting to know me.
Initially she provided lengthy appointments as part of her client-oriented approach.
She listened to me and validated my awareness and self-knowledge regarding my input into my presenting problems.
She has an exceptional ability to connect with various specialists.
Dr. Bazel advocated for me by getting earlier appointments and gathering knowledge from those specialists about their fields.
I feel grateful for her expertise in primary care.
The membership model is fee-based, but all other services, e.g. labs, specialists, and x-rays, are covered by insurance.
When you factor in the co-pays for visits, the fee for Dr. Bazel’s care ends up being reasonable.
I have 24/7 access to her by using the portal, email, and phone; this has proved to be extremely valuable to me.
I recommend without hesitation this type of care as provided by Dr. Bazel”
Does this situation sound familiar to you? Did you find yourself nodding yes as you were reading her letter?
Hopefully, this blog has clarified for you the mysteries of a concierge medical practice.
Many people think it’s not possible to join a concierge practice unless you are rich, but as Sharon pointed out above, when you factor in the co-pays and deductibles you pay on an annual basis for your health insurance, often times the cost of a concierge practice ends up being reasonable.
I tell patients that you should also factor in the quality of care you are receiving.
Would you rather pay more to receive better quality service?
Patients who join concierge practices often find the expense worth it when they can get fast, convenient service and access to their doctor when they need it.
If you’re curious about the concierge model, but not sure if you are ready to make a change, give me a call!
I would be happy to set up a Free 30 minute Meet and Greet visit to discuss your health care needs and to see if my practice is right for you.