Nov 10, 2010

Doctors Abandon Traditional Practice for Concierge Medicine, Hospital Employment

Doctors Abandon Traditional Practice for Concierge Medicine, Hospital Employment

For patients it’s about finding a dedicated physician whose only concern is the patient’s welfare, having no hidden agendas such as holding down costs to derive financial bonuses like the hated gatekeeper of the 1980s. For physicians is about keeping independent from the heavy hand of government run health care and being able to serve their patients needs.

The Palm Beach Post, on the growth of concierge medicine: "As health reform prepares to send another 32 million people into the already stressed health system, some say that concierge medicine is the future — where the wealthy see the best primary care doctors in a luxury setting, and everyone else makes do with clinics staffed by 'physician extenders' such as nurse practitioners. ... More than 430 MDVIP [a concierge medicine company] doctors now practice in 31 states, seeing 138,000 patients. The growth, nearing 25 percent a year, persuaded Procter & Gamble to become 100 percent owner of MDVIP in December. Meanwhile, its concept has been copied, and some observers put the number of concierge doctors nationwide at 5,000" (Singer, 11/7).

Concierge Medicine Today: In 2009, an online media and news agency, Concierge Medicine Today, was created by entrepreneur and journalist, Michael Tetreault. Media outlets, like Concierge Medicine Today, are perceived to be more relevant and share more factual information when compared to web portals, blogs, independently owned physician web sites and group associations. Why? Because according to the Online Publishers Association, online news and media web sites provide more accurate, educational, informed, unbiased and comprehensive content. This relevance translates into a perception that brands (eg. Concierge medicine) found on media web sites are more informed, relevant, pre-screened and vetted than those found on generic physician directories randomly found on the Internet.

“Concierge Medicine has a story to tell…no doubt,” said Michael Tetreault, Editor-In-Chief of Concierge Medicine Today. “That story is that these practices provide an affordable, cost effective and personal relationship with a doctor. Furthermore, I personally believe it is also a life-line to those primary care physicians across America considering alternative business structures for their practices. It [concierge medicine] is very attractive to just about any physician that wants their future in medicine to be rewarding and fulfilling in the years ahead.”

The Wall Street Journal: More physicians are choosing to work for hospitals rather than going into private practice. "The latest sign of the continued shift comes from a large Medical Group Management Association survey, which found that the share of responding practices that were hospital-owned last year hit 55%, up from 50% in 2008 and around 30% five years earlier. … The trend is tied to the needs of both doctors and hospitals, as well as to emerging changes in how insurers and government programs pay for care. Many doctors have become frustrated with the duties involved in practice ownership, including wrangling with insurers, dunning patients for their out-of-pocket fees and acquiring new technology." Meanwhile, "[h]ospitals are also seeking to position themselves for new methods of payment, including an emerging model known as accountable-care organizations that is encouraged by the new federal health care law" (Mathews, 11/8).

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