MDVIP, which contracts with doctors across the United States to provide concierge medical services has been ordered to pay the estate of a deceased woman $8.5 million. Jurors hearing a civil case in West Palm Beach, Florida (FL), held the company liable for fraud and negligence in relation to a misdiagnosis by one of its affiliated doctors.
Evidence presented during the trial indicated that the doctor, who reached a separate malpractice settlement with the victim’s surviving husband, failed to find a blood clot in the woman’s leg in time to adequately treat her pain and prevent an amputation. While the woman’s death did not stem from that incident, her spouse sought compensation for loss of quality of life during her remaining years.
A September 2014 profile of Boca Raton-based MDVIP in Daily Business Review defines concierge medicine, and what the dispersed group medical practices does, this way: “For an upfront annual fee, patients are given specialized attention by physicians with limited patient loads. Services can include house calls, longer appointments and greater access. Some high-end concierge doctors are available 24 hours, seven days a week and will even travel to a vacation location if a patient is ill.”
The company operates in most states, including Virginia, where contracted physicians works in Norfolk and Newport News. Most of MDVIP’s revenue comes from member patients, who pay annual subscriptions that average $1,500. Insurance plans generally do not cover concierge medical services.
MDVIP was held accountable, in part, because it advertised concierge care as being of higher-quality and leading to better outcomes. According to the deceased victim’s husband, as quoted by television station WPEC, “the trial the jury discovered MDVIP recruited its affiliated doctors based on marketing demands, while not prioritizing medical credentials.”
The company denied wrongdoing, and denied having any direct control over how the doctors it makes available to members practice. What the outcome of the West Palm Beach lawsuit shows, however, is that MDVIP and other companies that offer concierge medical services must be more restrained in promoting benefits and more through in vetting affiliated providers.