Op/Ed

The wave of the future for the rich—while poor stand in long lines

Stephen Frank | 02/01/201 | The rich can now get VERY good, immediate health care coverage.  Those not wealthy may wait weeks or months to see a doctor, then only for a few minutes—that is how it is in Britain—soon the same in the United States.

Why does Barack want Americans to lack health care—and the very rich to stay healthy?  How elitist is that?

“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. The annual fee ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 or more. Concierge physicians limit the number of patients they see, somewhere between 500 and 1,000, greatly reducing overall caseload and allowing them to spend more personal time with patients.”

See the full story by clicking by Samantha Gluck at Balanced Living (below)

By Samantha Gluck | BlancedLiving |  2/1/13 | Do you long for the old days? You know — the ones your father used to tell you about when mom gave him a chance to get a word in? Perhaps he reminisced about walking several miles to school, how hard his father worked to make ends meet, or the doctor who made house calls when anyone in the family fell ill. People say the days of physician house calls and the tender, personalized care that accompanied them are long gone.

All things work together for good

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. The annual fee ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 or more. Concierge physicians limit the number of patients they see, somewhere between 500 and 1,000, 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.

Dr. George Kikano, Chairman of Family Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, explains, “With the traditional practice structure, ill patients who call their primary healthcare provider for an appointment usually are not seen the same day. Frequently, if they’re fortunate enough to get in the same day, they see an on-call physician rather than their personal provider.”

Patient-focused care

The current system requires that patients bear the burden of arranging the various aspects of their care, causing stress and decreasing patient compliance. According to Kikano, “One of the most challenging tasks for both healthy and chronically ill patients involves coordinating their various appointments and tests. Typically, they must schedule the initial visit for one day, any necessary lab tests for another, and other diagnostic procedures for still another day.” This presents some serious issues for the working patient, the mother with young children at home and the elderly person with limited access to transportation. “With the concierge practice model, the physician’s office staff takes care of this scheduling for the patient. The patient comes in, meets with the doctor, and undergoes the necessary tests and procedures all in one day,” says Kikano.

A better level of service — not just for executives

While business executives were some of the first to experience the type of healthcare provided by concierge physicians, this new practice model is practical and affordable for a large segment of Americans. Kikano adds, “This level of service isn’t reserved for executives. In fact, most of my patients are not executives. I have elderly patients, families with children of all ages, and patients from a variety of income levels. Everyone wants and deserves a high level of care and service regardless of social status and position. This concierge practice structure makes this possible.”

Only a handful of concierge medical practices exist in Ohio, but this is sure to change in the near future. This cutting-edge practice model allows physicians to focus on providing optimum care and treatment for their patients as individuals without the burden of considering what insurance executives and actuaries demand.

Source: http://www.balancedmag.com/2011/06/what-is-concierge-medicine/ and  http://capoliticalnews.com/2013/02/01/what-is-concierge-medicine-the-wave-of-the-future-for-the-rich-while-poor-stand-in-long-lines/

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