At Your Service
An update on medicine in America
In recent years, news stories about medical practice in America have been mostly negative. They have a point. Our reimbursement system has incentivized— indeed, forced— doctors to see more and more patients each day to remain solvent. To see more patients, doctors have had to work faster to reduce the duration of visits, which now average a mere seven minutes each!
The average American primary- care doctor serves about 4,000 patients. Since quantity and quality are incompatible in medical practice, this increase in volume has resulted in a predictable decrease in quality, with an attendant decrease in satisfaction for both patient and doctor. “Obamacare” will only exacerbate the problem. So what are we to do? Fortunately, there is a solution.
In the late 1990s, a new movement was born simultaneously in Fort Myers, Florida, and Seattle, Washington. Creative physicians, dissatisfied with the status quo, opted out of the insurance- based medical system to invent a better way of serving their patients. They reduced their panel size to a few hundred instead of several thousand patients, increased the length of visits to thirty minutes or more, and established direct financial relationships with their patients to eliminate conflicts of interest and to re- empower patients. This movement came to be known as “concierge practice” and is sometimes also known as “direct practice,” “private practice,” or “boutique practice.”
In just fifteen years, this movement has grown from a couple of outlying practices in opposite corners of the country to thousands of mainstream ones throughout the land. Today, even medical schools are including “private medicine” in their curricula, giving medical students a viable path- way to a career in primary care, which was all but nonexistent. As the momentum continues to build, what accounts for the explosive growth? It’s simple: concierge medicine is a better model.
Concierge medicine restores the doctorpatient relationship to the lofty level it enjoyed before being constrained and degraded by government and insurance. Concierge physicians work only for the patients. We give them uncompromising care in an unhurried, respectful setting. Because we care and have no conflicts of interest, the physician becomes a trusted friend.
Imagine being able to call your doctor at any time on his or her cell phone if you have a question, or being able to schedule an office visit “today” if you need it. How about a house call if you are unable to go to the office? Imagine having your doctor guide your care through the complex maze of specialists and hospitals, selecting only what is best for you with no compromises or excuses. That is the world of private ( concierge) medicine. Marcus Welby, M. D.
CONCIERGE PHYSICIANS WORK ONLY FOR THE PATIENTS. WE GIVE THEM UNCOMPROMISING CARE IN AN UNHURRIED, RESPECTFUL SETTING. BECAUSE WE CARE AND HAVE NO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, THE PHYSICIAN BECOMES A TRUSTED FRIEND.
is alive and well!
Contrary to public opinion, concierge medicine is less expensive than today’s standard medicine. Because we emphasize prevention and have time for proactive care, our patients enjoy much lower rates of hospitalization and emergencyroom utilization, which saves the system money— a lot of money. Our product is good health, and healthy people are inexpen- sive in regard to their care.
Concierge medicine is blossoming because it is a better model for medical practice. It restores the doctor- patient relationship, responds to needs of the market, solves the malpractice liability crisis ( data show that concierge doctors don’t get sued), and reins in wasteful spending that is bankrupting the system. So, the prognosis for health care in America is excellent. Thanks to private medicine, outstanding health care will continue to be available, and the future looks bright for both patient and doctor alike.