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Concierge Medicine: 5 Pros & Cons for Patients in 2024

Are you struggling to find a primary care physician? You're not alone. Navigating the healthcare system can feel like a puzzle, with long waits and doctors who don't quite seem to be on your side.


Enter concierge medicine: a fresh take on primary care that aims to put the patient first. It's an alternative to the traditional model, offering personalized care and a more intimate doctor-patient relationship.


Like any solution, concierge medicine has pros and cons. While we're big advocates for this approach, we believe in giving you the complete picture to make the best healthcare decision for yourself.


At Proactive Choice, Dr. Collins has offered select patients the opportunity to pay forward a monthly fee for expanded access, However all patients are able to get in depth 30-60 minute consultations including appropriate laboratory testing and referrals to specialists.

 

Encrypted medical records and email communication is available to all of Dr.Collins’ patients and every effort is made for same week appointments and quick turn around for lab orders or special requests. High satisfaction and positive patient experience come from years of Dr. Collins working in a cash based practice where people don’t come back if they don’t get high end service and rapid results. In short every patient is treated like a VIP with Dr. Collins.


Below is an overview of the changing market place called “Concierge Medicine “


What is Concierge Medicine?


Concierge care, or concierge medicine, offers patients direct access to their primary care physician. This exclusive healthcare model provides round-the-clock physician access, same-day appointments, and personalized, comprehensive care. While this level of service comes at a cost, it's not just for the elite anymore. Over the past decade, concierge care has become increasingly popular among patients. Whether it's called concierge care, membership medicine, or platinum practice, the aim remains to provide top-notch, personalized healthcare with a focus on hospitality.


How does concierge medicine work?


In the mid-1990s, concierge medicine burst onto the scene, offering what was dubbed "luxury medical care" at a hefty price tag. Patients were shelling out up to $25,000 annually for this exclusive healthcare experience on top of their regular insurance premiums. However, this premium service didn't cover hospitalization or specialist consultations.


Fast forward to the present day, and the landscape has shifted. While some still pay a hefty fee for concierge care, the average membership cost now ranges from $1,500 to $2,400 annually, which is about $125 to $200 per month.


But there's another player in the game: direct primary care (DPC) practices. These offer a more affordable subscription-based model for high-quality care. Unlike concierge medicine, DPC physicians don't deal with insurance or government programs like Medicare. Instead, they rely solely on patient fees, offering transparent pricing. Patients can expect to pay around $30 to $100 monthly for unlimited doctor visits.


5 Pros of Concierge Medicine for Patients


Concierge Medicine: 5 Pros & Cons for Patients

1. Strengthening the Doctor-Patient Relationship Through Increased Time Together


Traditional primary care often leaves patients feeling rushed and unheard. Discussing your health concerns thoroughly with appointments as short as 10 or 15 minutes is challenging. But it's not the doctor's fault; they often juggle many patients daily. In contrast, concierge medicine offers a refreshing change. Concierge Doctors typically care for a fraction of the patients seen in traditional practices, allowing for longer, more personalized appointments. With 30 minutes dedicated to each visit and a smaller patient load, you'll have the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your physician. They'll take the time to understand your health, address your concerns comprehensively, and work with you to achieve your wellness goals. It's a game-changer in the doctor-patient dynamic.


2. Say Goodbye to Waiting: No More Delays in Appointments or Exam Rooms


Have you ever tried to schedule a doctor's appointment and faced long wait times? Studies show that the average wait time for a primary care appointment can be as long as 20 days, with some patients waiting up to 44 days in certain areas. And once you finally make it to your appointment, there's often more waiting involved. On average, patients wait around 18 minutes and 13 seconds to see their physician.


But there's a solution: concierge medicine. This approach removes these hassles by offering same-day or next-day appointments for sick care and minimal waiting time at the office. With concierge doctors, you can get the care you need quickly, and appointments start right on time.


3. Access Care Anytime: Convenience and Peace of Mind 24/7


In concierge medicine, the perks of no waiting and more time with your doctor extend far beyond regular office hours. Many concierge practices offer round-the-clock access to care, meaning you can reach out anytime, day or night, and expect a prompt response. This isn't just about leaving a voicemail and waiting days for a callback. It's about honest conversations with your doctor via phone or email, promptly addressing your health concerns and treatment needs. The convenience factor alone is remarkable, but the real value lies in the peace of mind it brings. Knowing that you can access care whenever you need it provides a sense of security and reassurance, whether you're a patient, a busy professional, a parent, or a caregiver for elderly loved ones.


4. Save Time with Virtual Communication: Skip the Unnecessary Office Visit


Calls and emails can often save you a trip to the office when staying in touch with your doctor. Concierge practices are usually great at handling minor issues through these methods, giving you convenience and flexibility. Plus, with the rise of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can now have virtual appointments with your doctor using your smartphone, tablet, or computer, all from the comfort of your home.


5. Streamlined Specialist Referrals: Minimizing Your Stress


In concierge medicine, we streamline your healthcare journey by acting as the quarterback of your medical team. This means ensuring that all your doctors and specialists are on the same page, working together towards your well-being.


Some clinics go even further by helping you schedule specialist appointments.


While the specific benefits may vary between practices, the bottom line is clear: concierge medicine offers unparalleled access and personalization that traditional practices can't match.


5 Cons of Concierge Medicine for Patients


1. Membership Costs Can Be a Barrier


Concierge medicine often comes with a hefty price tag, typically ranging from $2,000 to $3,500 annually. While we wish personalized healthcare were accessible to everyone at no extra cost, the reality is that concierge doctors need to charge a membership fee to cover their expenses. These concierge doctors can provide more personalized and convenient care by limiting the number of patients they see, usually from 2,000-3,000 to 400-600. This includes eliminating long wait times, offering same-day or next-day appointments, extending appointment durations, and even providing round-the-clock availability.


2. Possible Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Potentially Covered by Health Insurance


Concierge membership isn't a replacement for health insurance. You'll still have to pay for specialist consultations, prescriptions, and hospital visits, just like you would with a regular doctor. Your health insurance should still cover some of these costs, so choosing a plan that aligns with your healthcare needs is essential.


3. Insurance Cooperation Limits: Understanding the Situation


To clarify, many concierge practices take insurance for medical treatment, although not for membership fees. However, some concierge offices might accept fewer insurance carriers compared to traditional practices.


4. Low Investment, Low Return: The Simple Equation


Having a concierge membership might be a good idea if you visit the doctor often. But if you don't plan to use the perks of your membership, you're essentially wasting your money.

Think of it as re-learning how to use concierge primary care. You might be used to seeing going to the doctor as a hassle, but with concierge care, it's meant to be more accessible. However, it would help if you were ready to make the most of what you're paying for. Many people with concierge memberships need help with this.


5. Limited Availability of Concierge Doctors in Your Area


Concierge medicine, where you pay a fee for special access to a doctor, is becoming more popular. But you might have few nearby choices if you live in certain places. And even if some doctors are offering this service nearby, they might already have a full schedule and can't take on new patients.


Considering Concierge Medicine?


We think you can have a better healthcare experience with concierge care, but it's important to know about the concierge medicine pros and cons. 


Are you interested in learning more about concierge care? Are concierge doctors worth it? Need help deciding if it's right for you? We're here to assist you. Reach out to Proactive Choice 

(858) 333-5196 to learn more about our concierge service.


Want to consult a holistic medical practitioner in Oregon? Please take a look at the links below.



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About The Author: Dr. Collins

Author: Dr. Collins

Dr. Collins is a Pacific Northwest native and University of Oregon graduate in biology and comparative religions, practicing Naturopathic Medicine. Committed to harmonizing ancient traditions with modern science, he prioritizes holistic patient care in Oregon.



 

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