Boutique Medicine at Your Service

Filed under : News

A latest snippet appearing in the NY Times pondered whether the small numbers of patients who could manage to pay for added attention & admittance to their physicians in a boutique/ concierge practice of medicine may be ethically fraught as the additional bucks are deployed for supporting the conventional general practice which the huge mainstream of patients presently get.

The word ‘concierge’ brings to mind plush hotel personnel tending to all your needs – answering queries, speaking multiple lingos, booking reservation to eateries, event and tour. Concierges at hotels are your insiders, people possessing personal information of whatever is necessary for you and one is given personal tending and pampering. Now envisage, your doctor offering the analogous thoughtful and considerate service.

Concierge Medicine

Undeniably, a petite yet rising numbers of doctors are providing such boutique care additionally dubbed retainer/concierge medicine. Doctors offer services classically not coming under the conventional health insurance cover, similar to yearly all-inclusive physical exams and straight admission to their physicians 24/7 through residence telephones, mobiles and paging. Other advantages entail getting an appointment on that very day and lengthier doctor face-to-face time, hardly any or no waiting period in lobbies and an emphasis on preventative care. In several practices, the doctor would also be accompanying the patients to speciality physician appointment and performing home call. Now doesn’t that sound like sweet music to your ears? However be cautious – such a type of service is bound to come at a cost. Patients in retainer care shell out between some hundreds to several thousands of dollars annually.

The notion of concierge care might have germinated in the later part of the nineties when ex-team doctor of the Seattle Supersonics was keen on providing the analogous levels of medical attention to the masses as that offered to trained sportspersons. The firm MD2 which he established offered a spa-similar feel to select-few patients that can manage to spend ten to twenty thousand dollars as yearly retainer fees (alongside insurance-related payments).

Several doctors are fascinated by such a novel doctor-patient association as they have become increasingly disillusioned with huge patient board masses, lesser repayment rates, briefer clinic trips, augmenting operating costs, unprofessional conduct fees and paper work. Doctors now are keen on slowing it down and spending additional time with the patient populaces – which is trickier in the present ambience of plummeting insurance compensation.

Moreover the dearth of ease of access to doctors is additionally contributory to dissatisfaction among consumers and is an impelling energy towards boutique medicine.

The lofty retainer costs that such doctors are charging tend to free them monetarily from health insurance bonds and permit them in tending to a smaller-sized patient board, classically one-third or lesser as compared to the standard doctor’s board of 2000-3000 patients. Possibly not astonishingly, such practices are attracting patient types that are mid-age tycoons, loaded senior citizens or those from the upper-middle-class.

Not all are cheerful regarding this novel development. While organizations like the AMA (American Medical Association) have uncovered no inconsistency in boutique practices meeting the objectives of health care deliverance yet it emphasizes on a doctor’s sense of duty being firstly his/her patients. Hence for instance, a physician retiring or leaving his/her practice or intent on switching to or taking on a novel retainer practice should assist his/her ex patients in transitioning to other equally adept doctors. In case there no available doctors in the neighbourhood who are capable of tending to such patients then the AMA points out that the original doctor might be morally obliged to carry on tending to that patient.

Though boutique service patients might sense that they are getting better quality health tending since they are able to avail additional doctor’s attention and time yet there is dearth of medical proof currently that backs that supposition.

Contrarily it is likely that a physician spending additional time tending to lesser patients might limit or degenerate his medical skill-sets due to the reduced numbers of cases he would be exposed to. In case your doctor begins practicing boutique medicine, it is vital to comprehend that for getting in touch with your doctor in the future might necessitate imbursement or retainer before you get any further services or tending which is not part of your insurance cover. As majority of the boutique doctors no more receive payments by insurance firms hence such costs would fall straight on your shoulders. And in case one opts on not continuing care then it is the doctor’s duty to assist you in locating a substitute physician.

Would boutique medicine become a success – only time would be able to enlighten?

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