What is Concierge Medicine?
Concierge Medicine is the practice of medicine where the relationship between
the physician and the patient is more direct, and in which the patient
pays an annual fee or retainer. This may or may not be in addition to
other charges. The benefits of Concierge Medicine include enhanced care,
less or no wait time for care, and more direct access to the physician.
What is Direct Medicine?
Direct Primary Care, or Direct Medicine, is a subset of Concierge Medicine.
Concierge Medicine typically is very localized (neighborhood based), and
only available for the extra-wealthy. Direct Medicine, on the other hand,
gives people access to the concierge level of primary care. This is accomplished
through many different changes from traditional medicine:
Eliminate the middleman - Many hospitals, urgent cares, and doctor’s offices spend a significant
amount of human and actual capital on servicing insurance claims. By eliminating
a secondary payer, direct primary care is able to eliminate the costs
Control Costs - Because they are not beholden to insurance companies, Direct Medicine doctors
are able to control costs in a variety of ways. Eliminating unnecessary
office visits (by using non-traditional diagnosis methods, as an example),
eliminating unnecessary tests, and not paying additional administrative
costs required to service these unnecessary services allow a direct medicine
practitioner to reduce costs.
Negotiated best rates - The above expenses apply to supplemental care providers, like MRI techs
or blood test companies, as well. By providing them the same cost-eliminations,
we are able to negotiate rates that are often 75% or less of their “rack
The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that the United
States faces a significant shortage of physicians by 2020; more than 91,500
doctors to be exact. Additionally, with the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act (PPACA more than 30 million Americans will have access to healthcare
over the next decade. Due to these internal and external influencers,
the total number of office visits to primary care physicians is projected
to increase from 462 million in 2008 to 565 million in 2025. It is no
wonder that the Physicians Foundation found that 9.6 percent of "practice
owners" and 6.8 percent of all practices planned to convert to cash/concierge
practices in the next three years.