Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Professional Freedom Beckons
I have now received three amazing solicitations from MDVIP. This is the Boca Raton corporation that will set a doctor up to do concierge, retainer medicine. The letters invite me to join a few exceptional physicians who seek "professional freedom, personal freedom and financial freedom". One invite came in a bottle with sand and seashells inside, inviting me and my guest to all expense paid trip to Florida. This week, I am invited to California and they will feed me and my guest, treat us to museum exhibits and pay me an honorarium.
The invitations are sexy, appealing and seem to be coming at a rapid clip. MDVIP is one of a handful of companies that know primary care physicians are in demand and they know patients are fed up with the long waits, quick visits and difficulty in even seeing the doctor. They know the doctor is burned out, disgusted with the hassles of insurance paperwork and discount rates. The dream of caring for the patient has turned into the nightmare of patient "panels" of 2500 people.
The solution? The patient pays a retainer ($200-1500/month) and the physician limits her practice and is available to see the patient and spend more time with each patient. Prompt phone calls and email communication is part of the deal. Usually the retainer fee covers the primary care visit also so there is no insurance billing or hassle. Labs, referrals to specialists, Xrays, hospitalization and procedures are usually not included. For those services, the patient's regular insurance applies.
Concierge medicine is taking off in Urban areas where affluent patients meet up with frustrated physicians. MDVIP helps the doctor make the transition into the new mode of practice. They take a cut and everyone is happy.
I get it. I understand it. I have many friends and colleagues who are now concierge physicians and they are rested, happy, fulfilled and off the treadmill.
It is not the answer for what ails health care and it further worsens the doctor shortage, but at this time, I'm sure MDVIP has many takers. It represents the free market at work and doctors are just saying "enough" with the patients who are saying "enough" right along with them.
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