By Wayne Lipton
MARCH 22, 2014 – Periodically, my practice receives calls from people in different parts of the country asking for an odd service. They are looking for a concierge doctor to see them for a single visit, usually at a hotel in the middle of the night, and they want the doctor to come immediately. We have to explain to them that we do not offer a call-in, nationwide, visiting doctor service. I’ve often wondered what made them think that was concierge care. And then it dawned on me: “Royal Pains,” the television show on the USA network about a “concierge doctor” who practices in the ritzy Hamptons beach area of New York state. Our callers must think “concierge care” is what they see on TV.
When the television show “Royal Pains” started a few years ago, I was delighted to see that concierge care had made it to the small screen. However, as a company whose headquarters is about 50 miles from the Hamptons — the home of this series — I was surprised to see what they considered a “concierge company.” The concierge company they portray is certainly not what we see in the marketplace.
In real life, concierge care has many variations, but there are a few characteristics that are constant: patients pay a membership fee; doctors see fewer patients; and concierge programs offer patients much-needed convenience and time.