“So what if they are? What’s wrong with being successful?” says Dan A., on social media.
By Staff Writer, Concierge Medicine Today | With Social Media and Commentary Included Below from Industry Resources
“Concierge medicine must be treated seriously by physicians and patients alike because it is a concept that is here to stay. Paying a set annual fee for “special services” may appear to some to focus on money and greed but to others it may be redirecting the focus of medicine back to preventing disease and seeking wellness. If concierge physicians are successful in preventing illness and keeping patients healthier then it is in the best interest of patients, physicians and society as a whole.” ~Peter A. Clark SJ, PhD Professor of Medical Ethics and Director, Institute of Catholic Bioethics, Saint Joseph’s University
SUMMER 2015 – It’s a misconception that physicians participating in this style of practice (concierge medicine) are solely doing so to experience more financial success.
The data just simply doesn’t support it from this sector in healthcare. According to the trade publication, Concierge Medicine Today, Concierge Doctor Salaries average $100k-$300k per year. And memberships, typically they only cost patients of a concierge medicine practice an average of $135 per month.
“Business is tough,” says Dr. Chris Ewin of 121MD in Fort Worth, TX. “If you are doing something just for the money, you are never going to enjoy it. You will be the hardest boss you have ever had. So, find something you love and pursue it. Follow this advice and you will set yourself up for an enjoyable future in medicine.”
On average, a Concierge Physician earns the equivalent salary of a specialist, such as a cardiologist or a radiologist. Most concierge doctors do a significant amount of charity work, often seeing about 10 percent of their patients free-of-charge or at a reduced fee.
“The claim that MDs who go into concierge and become millionaires is rarely true,” says Wayne Lipton of Concierge Choice in a commentary related to a Forbes article. “As someone who has been working with MDs for more than 30 years and talks to hundreds of doctors a year, I can tell you that most improve their economic and professional situations, and many do it just to survive. The goal of nearly all concierge physicians is to keep their practices independent and viable for their staff and patients. Additionally, for a physician with an established practice and a sound plan, financing a concierge practice conversion is a non-issue. If they align with a company that has experience with practice conversions, the costs to the practice are minimal. The risks are far greater if they attempt to build a concierge program from scratch, in which case they will more likely need a bankruptcy attorney. The other benefit to aligning with an experienced concierge care company is that it handles business development, allowing the physician and his staff to focus on doing what they do best—providing superior care to their patients.”
Concierge Medicine puts the incomes of internists and family practitioners on par with their colleagues. A 2012 Medscape study found that the average salary for a primary care physician ranged from $156,000 to $315,000, while Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the average salary for a Concierge Physician ranged from $150,000 to $300,000. Concierge Physicians within the hospital environment may enjoy the best of both worlds. They see a reduced number of patients on a day-to-day basis while earning higher salaries and handling less administrative obligations than they would in a traditional private practice setting.
“My real joy is spending time with patients and trying to help them improve their health,” says direct-pay doctor Dr. Brian Forrest, Apex, NC. “In many practices, the high volume of patients that must be seen reduces the time clinicians can spend with each patient. Our model increases the time available for each patient encounter. I spend about 30 minutes with a patient during our average visit. This is the main reason that most patients give for returning to our practice. People are willing to spend money on something they value, and they value time with the doctor.”
“Happier doctors usually have happier patients and tend to be more successful by many measures including reputation and patient retention, which leads usually to better financial reward in the end,” says Dr. Robert Nelson, MD, a Direct Primary Care Physician and Advocate for free-market healthcare. “If focus is on good care and good business practices, reward will follow.”
Concierge Physicians within the hospital environment may enjoy the best of both worlds. They see a reduced number of patients on a day-to-day basis while earning higher salaries and handling less administrative obligations than they would in a traditional private practice setting. When compared to traditional, insurance-based physicians working in a hospital setting, Today’s Hospitalist conducted their own limited survey of non-concierge Hospitalist physicians and found that the salary ranges very widely with some Hospitalists making between $150,000 to $227,000 in annual income.
Concierge Medicine has been around for about 20 years, but it has gained more traction in recent years among both physicians and patients. Known variously as “boutique,” “membership medicine” or “retainer medicine,” it was long considered an option primarily for the wealthy, but is becoming more mainstream.
Concierge Medicine Today also finds Concierge Medicine and Direct-Pay physicians to number approximately 12,000 physicians and/or physician clinics throughout the U.S. This data is based upon an in-depth review and recent examination of the national marketplace as well as interviews with corporate industry leaders and marketplace decision makers. Because there is no official federal or state registry, it’s hard to pin down exactly how many physicians have switched to concierge practices.
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