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Full Checklist | 50 Questions To Ask A “Concierge” Doctor Before You Sign-Up
Last Updated: February 2022
By Staff Writer, Concierge Medicine Today, LLC
America’s Best Places To Work never include a doctors office. Inside traditional, plan reimbursed medical offices, patients expect to wait. They put on an invisible ‘suit of armor’ and prepare for battle. They expect to wait, they expect to fill out the same paperwork as before, and they even expect insurance to cover their visit. And, when it does not go according to plan, they expect a fight. Patient (eg Consumers) of healthcare today say they expect a rude, disengaged and inattentive staff. They anticipate an unpleasant, late visit when they visit the Doctor’s office. Concierge Medicine and its offspring of other subscription-based healthcare delivery models in primary care, family medicine and even sometimes in the specialties — give people options. It gives people choice and isn’t that a good thing?
Like you, we like checklists. And if we ever decide to go to a Doctor’s office, inevitably we can forget to ask something we wish we would have remembered to bring up. So, to help keep us focused and organized, our team put a list of some sample questions you may want to bring up at a Concierge Doctor’s office to ask before you sign-up.
“It’s a different type of busy … My day is just as long now, if not longer. But, I’m spending a lot more time with all of my patients. In between visits, I’m on the phone checking on people at home.” ~Physician in FL
The concierge medicine healthcare space is just like any other healthcare industry — but it’s typically a lot more personal. It has many success stories, but it also has a few stories of Patients who were over-promised and under-served. Not as many as you might think, but we’d be remiss if we weren’t honest and say that no one is perfect. Like you, we want to help you understand all the nuances and details before you sign up.
Feel free to use this checklist as a jumping-in point of sorts to help get the conversation started with your next Doctor and their staff. After all, there’s a difference between a “good” Doctor and a “great” Doctor — and you’ll know it by how well they take the time to listen and respond to just a few of these questions. Good luck!
Here are a few questions to get your started. Please note: these are by no means going to get you all of the answers you require, but it’s at least a starting point to help you and/or your family make more educated decisions. Please see disclaimer here for more information. Thank you!
- Doctor’s Full Name?
- Total years in Practice?
- Years in practice in this community/area?
- Do you have multiple locations? If so, where?
- Do you have a web site?
- Can I read patient reviews about the doctor and his/her practice?
- Does your web site have the Doctor’s bio? on it?
- What is your monthly, quarterly or annual membership fee(s)?
How do I pay the doctor?
- Do you accept quarterly or monthly fees?
- What services are covered by the annual fee?
- Do you offer any discounts for couples and/or families that join (if applicable)?
- What additional fees are not included in the annual membership fee?
- Will I be required to pay even if I do not need to use your services?
- What services can I expect to receive directly from your nursing staff or other healthcare professionals at the practice each year during my membership?
- Do you accept Insurance? How compatible is your medical practice and services with my health insurance plan?
- Do you participate in Medicare? (If applicable)
- Do I need insurance to enroll or sign-up?
- Is there a co-pay?
- May I see a copy of your Medical Service(s) Agreement?
- What if I need to go to the hospital or emergency room?
- Will my insurance reimburse my monthly fee?
- If applicable, tell me about what’s included in your Annual Physical?
- Tell me about after-hours care and the doctors 24/7 availability.
- Can I still see my gynecologist? (If applicable)
- If a duplicate test is ordered by your office and by a specialist I’ve recently seen, will you coordinate with that specialist’s office to receive the results so I do not have to go thru the same process more than once? If not, why not?
- What is your annual patient retention? (I.e. do you retain most of your patients annually?)
- What about lab, x-ray and specialists’ fees and hospitalizations?
- How long do in-office visits typically last?
- How long will I have to wait if I come in for a visit?
- Do you provide home visits or delivery of prescriptions to my office of home?
- What if I have an emergency or need hospitalization?
- What hospitals does this doctor have admitting privileges to in this area?
- What about the cost of prescription medicines?
- Can I receive secure, HIPAA compliant text messages from my doctor? eg. E-visits, chat, etc.
- What type of new technology do you use regularly in your concierge medical practice?
- If I call my concierge doctor at 8pm or 2am for an urgent healthcare concern, what will happen? I.e. Will the doctor be available?
- What if I need to see a medical specialist or need surgery?
- How difficult is it to get an appointment?
- Do you provide same or next-day visits with unhurried appointments that start on time with the doctor?
- What happens if my doctor goes on vacation?
- What happens if I am hospitalized in another state or country?
- How will you, your office staff, etc., communicate with me and oversee my care?
- What happens if I move out of the area after I enroll?
- Can I enroll in a concierge medicine plan anytime in the future?
- What if I get married or have/adopt a child?
- Can I extend coverage to my new family members?
- Do you provide help for out-of-town family members visiting for a few days in the event that they have a health issue?
- Do you have any specials/discounts running right now?
- How do I sign up?
Did we miss something? Got a question you’d like to add to this list? Contact us here and let us what question you think should be included and we’ll review it.
Please note: these are by no means going to get you all of the answers you require, but it’s at least a starting point to help you and/or your family make more educated decisions. Please see disclaimer here for more information. Thank you!
Original Article, APRIL 25, 2016. Updated Spring 2022