From our friends at balancedmag.com, an explanation of concierge services:
Out of America’s growing healthcare dysfunction emerges a new, healthier trend – Concierge Medicine. Also known as boutique medicine, this fast-growing concept requires that patients pay an annual retainer, or fee, similar to those that attorneys charge clients. Concierge physicians limit the number of patients they see greatly reducing overall caseload and allowing them to spend more personal time with patients. Those who advocate this healthcare model feel it benefits both the physician and patient by facilitating a more satisfying and thorough appointment experience for patients.
What’s in it for the average patient?
In exchange for the annual fee, patients enjoy same-day appointments with no more long hours in waiting rooms full of others doing the same. Doctors actually know their patients by name and don’t flinch when ordering numerous preventive health screening tests. Patients have access to their personal physicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and aren’t burdened by calling a central line with recorded instructions. Some concierge physicians actually give patients a direct number where they can be reached.
A carefully selected, well-trained medical staff works along with each patient and the doctor to ensure patients experience customized, personal healthcare at each visit. Concierge medicine breathes new life into the trusting doctor-patient relationship of yesteryear. Patient amenities include:
Physician house calls and emergency home visits
Low physician/patient ratios (averaging one-fifth of the patient load per physician seen in most prevailing practice models)
Customized healthcare plans
Comprehensive preventive testing
On-site diagnostic tests
Staff scheduling of appointments with referred specialists
Treatment and diagnostic test scheduling
Curbside transportation service when necessary
Staff handles all correspondence with patient insurance plans, when available (some of these practices do not accept insurance), and advocates for the patient regarding approval of services, disputes, etc.