Term: Concierge Medicine

Description:
Concierge Medicine, also known has direct primary care, is a type of healthcare where patients hire a physician to be their personal healthcare provider. The doctor provides all of the same care as they would in a regular practice but with the convenience of being seen at the patient’s home. Along with the convenience of being seen in the there own home they also provide preventive care and do check ups and follow-ups on a frequent basis.

Along with the convenience factor they also guarantee 24-hour access to the doctor. If the patients need to speak or be seen by the doctor, they are able to do it at any time. It can be said that Medical practices are starting to revert back to how medicine was done in the early part of the twentieth century. Physicians are spending more time in getting to know the patient to rather than fixing the problem and sending them on their way.

The doctors, who take part in this type of practice, usually do not except any form of insurance and only accept cash. By not dealing with insurance companies the physicians are able to keep the cost low and not by not having to pay for offices workers to do insurance billing. They also keep the amount of patients they see annually between the ranges of one hundred to a thousand giving the satisfaction of personal care.

Doctors who participate in concierge medicine only see a limited amount of patients, resulting in special relationships that are formed between the doctor and the patient. Doctors will be your go to physician and will get to know everything about your health needs without needing to review a chart every time they see you(AAPP, 2012). This bond that is formed between the patient and doctor is what most people look for when they are searching for a general practitioner.

Since the Affordable Care Act, the number of practitioners has diminished significantly because of cost (Drummond, 2014). These physicians are turning to Concierge Medicine as an alternative medical practice. With this increase in the amount of doctor’s offering this service, they will broaden the type of patients they are willing to serve. The costliness of this service is diminishing and this is no longer a service offered to only the wealthy. Annual premiums are dropping significantly to around $200 a month, which is a dramatic decrease from what they were in the past (Drummond, 2014). This is making concierge medicine affordable for all those wishing to participate.

Applications:
Since this type of healthcare is expensive and not covered by insurance, it is mainly targeted towards the wealthy. Some doctors see this as a way out of dealing with insurance companies, the rising healthcare cost, and the increasing number of patients that they see annually. By keeping the ratio of patients to doctors more manageable the lives and feelings of how the doctors felt during medical school can be restored. They would be grateful of just being able to help their patients.


ACA Effects on Concierge Medicine:
With the effects of the ACA on the population, especially among the middle class, there's been a surge in concierge doctors choosing to cater more towards the middle class than the extremely rich. The rates of these private doctors provide competition to the catches and problems with the insurance polices and their modifications to comply with the ACA. As Dr.
Samir Qamar phrased it to the Wall Street Journal: "
All of a sudden our market went from the uninsured to everybody"

Concierge Medicine in Pop Culture:
In 2009, USA Network brought concierge medicine into the mainstream of pop culture with their original show "Royal Pains." The show focused on a young doctor who after being wrongfully accused of a patient's death became a doctor for hire for the rich residents of The Hamptons. The success of this show exposed more people to the concepts, pros and cons of concierge medicine; a factor that led to a 25% increase in private doctors from 2011 to 2012.



Concierge Medicine Providers:
Concierge Medicine Association
Signature MD


Related Terminology:
Retainer Medicine
Boutique Medicine
Platinum Practices
Private Physician


Citations/References:
WebMD Concierge Medicine
Concierge Medicine Association
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Pains
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concierge_medicine
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303471004579165470633112630
The Happy MD
[[http://AAPP.org|AAPP.org Ethics Page]]