The AMA’s boutique care guidelines
The AMA issued ethical standards to guide doctors interested in starting a retainer-style practice. Among those standards are:
• Both parties must agree to—and be clear about—the terms of the relationship. Patients who wish to opt out should be able to do so without undue hassles or financial penalties.
• Retainer-style practices shouldn’t be marketed as providing better diagnostic and therapeutic services.
• Doctors must help transfer—at no charge—nonparticipating patients to others. If no others are available, a doctor “may be ethically obligated to continue caring for such patients.”
• Doctors must be honest in billing third-party payers.
• Starting a retainer-style practice doesn’t exempt physicians from caring for those in need, especially those in need of urgent care.
For a copy of the AMA’s guidelines for concierge practices, contact the
Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs,
American Medical Assn.
515 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610;