The healthcare system is constantly throwing changes at us, and it can be hard to keep up. Unfortunately, some of those changes don’t always feel positive – but there are some transformations happening that might make accessing what you need a little easier.
I was recently introduced to concierge medicine, and it has been a game-changer for me. If this is a new term for you, here’s what it means:
Concierge medicine is an umbrella term used to describe a relationship between a patient and physician in which the patient pays an annual or monthly fixed fee. Patients pay the fee for conveniences like same-day appointments and 24/7 physician availability.
To provide those conveniences, most concierge medicine physicians – whether primary care physicians or medical specialists – see fewer patients or set aside days of the week when they see only their concierge service patients.
In my case, this has meant a more dedicated approach to healthcare where my physician takes all the time he needs to address my issues and concerns. In some concierge medicine scenarios, patients might also have access to:
- Better coordination of care between doctors.
- Having a physician who knows your entire medical history.
- Same-day appointments when you’re sick.
But not all systems are perfect and there are some things that you should be aware of before going down this path.
- It can be expensive.
- Sometimes there is limited insurance coverage.
- You might not have access to a concierge physician in your area.
Thinking about concierge medicine?
Here are some questions to ask to help ensure you find the right fit:
- What are your credentials?
- How many patients are currently in the practice? What is your limit?
- Do you offer any unique services? Wellness planning, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) pellets, genetic and genomic tests, health coaching, etc.?
- Do you have a website? Look for transparent pricing, reviews, doc bio, services clearly listed.
- What will be my TOTAL cost? What does the membership include? Exclude? Do you offer a discount for couples and families? Do you take my insurance? Medicare?
- How long do patients wait for appointment? Same and next-day? Average wait time?
- Tell me about after-hours policies? What happens if I need you at 6pm? 2am?
- Will I ever see Physician’s Asst (PA) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) or another doc?
- How do you simplify prescriptions? Rx coordination, free delivery, preferred programs?
- What level of communication can I expect?
- How do you handle specialist referrals?
CRN – 5353532-121422