I’m occasionally asked, “Do you have a Concierge practice?” My answer is, “Yes and no.”
It depends on how you define “concierge”. If you define “concierge” as a practice that provides individualized care, great service and the attention you deserve when you see a doctor, then yes that’s what I do. I spend time with patients.
But most people who ask about a “concierge” practice are thinking of a different type of practice which has evolved over the last decade. These days “Concierge” or “direct pay” has come to define practices where patients pay a monthly or annual fee for individualized and attentive care. That fee is usually about $1,000/year. That kind of fee allows the primary care doctor to have a lucrative income and keep a small number of patients in his practice, say 500. With such a small patient load the doctor is able to spend more time with the patients. I don’t have this new type of “Concierge Practice” for several reasons.
The main reason I don’t have this type of “Concierge Practice” is because I don’t think the model of paying all that money provides nearly as much value for patients as my fee-for-service model. Most people in the “Concierge” practices are relatively healthy and for the most part should only be going to the doctor when they are sick. Changing your lifestyle is the most important thing you can do to prevent sickness and disease but you don’t need to pay $1,000/year for that. You can just schedule an appointment.
Also, many people who truly need medical help also do not have the resources to pay for entry to a Concierge Practice. Who is going to see them? I think my system can do it best. I prefer to keep my prices reasonable and a good value for everybody.
Concierge is a great alternative style of practice and I’m confident it will grow. I hope the future of medicine allows good doctors to establish their own unique practices so patients can find the individualized care that suits them best.