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What is concierge medicine?

It comes with many names. Some call it retainer medicine. Others call it boutique medicine. Some call it an executive health program. Others call it a platinum practices. Others call it concierge medicine. Whatever name is given to the concept, it is something being given consideration by increasing numbers of physicians. What the concept basically entails is a situation whereby patients pay a set annual fee for "special service."

Many physicians have felt compelled to put in even more hours and see even more patients in an attempt to "maintain" their practice’s economics. Unfortunately, many of them find that there are not enough hours in the day to do that and that their economic conditions are worsening.

Those who have done this have generally limited, by a drastic amount, the number of patients which they will service. We have generally seen this concept make the most sense for urgent care centers, primary care physicians and those specialists who have an ongoing and regular relationships with their patients. As a general rule, for a fixed annual fee, these practices offer a limited number of patients special services and amenities that are not now provided by most medical practices. These services may include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Nicer and less crowded reception areas.
  • Priority/same day/ guaranteed next day/ extended/ Saturday and Sunday appointments.
  • 24-hour Access to the the provider.
  • Preventive care/ weight loss/ nutrition/ wellness advice and programs.
  • Telephone and email consultations.
  • Free Fitness Center membership.
  • Free check ups.
  • Physicals and other normally uncovered services.
The main selling points to patients of these practices are that they get better and more immediate access to, and more undivided attention from, their doctor.

The cost for such memberships could run as low as $1,000 per year to $20,000 or more per year. It all depends on what services are actually provided and the age and health of the patient.

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