MASS: ‘When I told him I didn’t think I could afford the additional $3,000 a year, [my Doctor of 26-years] kind of had that perplexed look on his face.’

 By John D Byrne/ Guest Columnist The MetroWest Daily News | Oct 31, 2013 | The Sudbury Town Crier
concierge medicine checklistSUDBURY, MASS — “Calling Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard,” is the classic line from episode “Men in Black” (1934) where the Three Stooges play recent medical school graduates who devote themselves to “the glorious cause of duty and humanity.” Working at the Los Arms Hospital they go from room to room making one mistake after another including sewing their medical instruments inside a patient on the operating table. President Obama must have been a Three Stooges fan. Eighty years after “Men in Black” was nominated for an Academy Award, Obamacare has become its sequel.

Shortly after Obamacare was signed into law in 2010 I got a letter from my doctor of 26 years that he was going Direct Care, better known as “Concierge Medicine.” Simply explained, Direct Care charges a fee in the expectation you will have more access to your primary care physician. All I had to do is pay an additional $3,000 a year to remain his patient.

At first I thought his choice to change to concierge was a smart move. After all, Dr. Bill began his practice with just himself and one other doctor in a small office in the Newton Wellesley Medical Building. This practice now employs about 100, including over 20 physicians. Dr. Bill had worked hard for many years; he deserved the right to spend more time with his family. The concierge system reduces his patient load from about 4,000 patients to about 500 depending on the plan. Essentially you get to keep a competent doctor that has to answer your call within 24 hours.

When I told Dr. Bill I couldn’t afford the additional $3,000 he assured me that he would leave me in the competent hands of Dr. Eric. After a year of being Dr. Eric’s patient I finally grew comfortable with him. When I first went to Dr. Eric with a virus he concluded it was the result of working seven days a week with little sleep and a poor diet. I made a deal with Dr. Eric. I told him the long hours of work would not change, but my diet, exercise and sleeping habits would, and I stuck to his plan. The only other time I needed to see Dr. Eric was for my annual physical.

On this occasion he sat me down and said he had good news. He was taking me off my medications all medical results revealed I was back on track living a healthy life. “But that’s not all the good news I have for you,” he continued. “I have decided to join the direct care type of patient insurance coverage with Dr. Bill. This will reduce patients load and you’ll be able to see me whenever you need to with virtually little or no waiting time, ” Dr Eric explained. When I told him I didn’t think I could afford the additional $3,000 a year, Dr Eric kind of had that perplexed look on his face.

Source: Byrne: Obamacare is going to be a disaster – Sudbury, MA – The Sudbury Town Crier
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