By Bill Folsom
COLORADO SPRINGS – MARCH 12, 2015 – An increasing number of people are choosing to pay a monthly fee for better access to their doctor. It is an option often referred to as concierge medicine. “It’s access– it’s really what it is,” said Dr. Aaron Fraser of Flying Horse Medical Center, “It comes down to access to your physician.” A growing number of doctors are offering this service in Southern Colorado.
Patients pay a monthly fee, usually based on age. In Colorado Springs the range is typically somewhere between $25 and $100 a month. For the price you have access to your doctor 24 hours a day seven days a week. Appointments with the doctor are from 30 to 60 minutes. “For one low cost no co-pays, wholesale medication, wholesale labs, 100% savings on images and x-rays and CT scan,” said Dr. Mark Tomasulo of PeakMed clinic. Some compare this health care option to the good old days of doctors who did home visits. They do make occasional stops at homes, but modern technology also allows even faster after hours consultation with options like text, smart phone pictures, or interaction on apps like Skype.
Under this direct pay model, clinics typically do not deal with insurance. It cuts a sizable administrative expense. They pass the savings on to patients. For doctors, it gets them out from under corporate structure that some doctors say feels like assembly line medicine. “Start focusing on healthcare on the individual again, not worrying about seeing 30 patients a day,” said Dr. Tomasulo.
Patients are still encouraged to carry higher deductible, lower cost medical insurance in case of any unforeseen major medical issues. They say it the “original intent” of insurance. They say combing the lower cost insurance for catastrophes with the direct pay model for every day health issues is an equation many people are pleasantly surprised to find, works well with their budget.