By Allen Mask, M.D.
JULY 29, 2013 | Goldsboro, N.C. — After moving from Texas, Shena Santillana had trouble setting up appointments with doctors.
“When I finally did find a doctor here in North Carolina that I liked, they left and went to a different practice or whatever,” Santillana said.
She’s thankful to have found Dr. Gaither, but even he is dealing with problems on the business side of his practice.
“Our costs are going up. Our reimbursements are dropping. We’re required to see more patients in a day,” he said. “I want to decompress my day.”
Many doctors are choosing partnerships with hospitals, but Gaither has chosen to keep his private status by changing to a “membership care” model, also known as concierge care.
Concierge care isn’t new, but it’s growing dramatically. Older plans required patients to pay an annual fee in addition to their insurance co-pays. Those fees can be as high as $1,500 to $1,800 a year, an amount that only the well-to-do can afford.
But now there are packages that offer tiered pricing.