By Avitzur, Orly MD, MBA, FAAN
Neurologists are exploring concierge medicine in which patients pay their physicians an annual fee or directly for individual services. Here, several neurologists discuss the logistics and benefits of these practice models.
APRIL 2, 2015 – With declining reimbursement and increasing pressure to see more patients in less time, who hasn’t considered, even for a fleeting second, seeking a different way to practice? Concierge medicine, as well as direct care (or direct pay) models, were, until recently, primary care trends in which a patient typically paid an annual fee for a physician’s availability or remunerated the doctor directly for services. But a growing number of neurologists, hoping for relief from the frenetic pace and onerous regulations imposed on practice — which have resulted in burnout — have put their own spin on these practice models.
Some combine traditional fee-for-service with concierge care, while others charge flat and sliding scale fees. Though their practice models vary, the neurologists who shared their experiences with Neurology Today said they have been quite pleased with the results.
Roy C. Katzin, MD, president of South Florida Neurology Associates, who has practiced general neurology for the past 30 years, expanded his practice to include concierge services two years ago after observing an increasing number of internists — 40 to 50 in his Palm Beach County community — adopt the trend successfully. Although his neurology group provides traditional fee-for-service neurologic care, all five (soon to be seven) of its neurologists devote a small portion of their time to concierge care.
“Many of our patients are seasonal residents who don’t want to see two sets of doctors and contract with us so we can provide telephone or HIPAA-compliant telemedicine care even when they go out of state,” Dr. Katzin said. The concierge model, also referred to as retainer, boutique, personalized, or VIP medicine, makes sense for these patients, he said, because many have chronic neurologic conditions and the neurologists in his group serve as their primary providers.