OP/ED by Paul Sassone (Chigago Tribune): ‘Membership Medicine rubs me wrong.’

By Paul Sassone, Chicago Tribune

MAY 13, 2015 – Are you tired of …


Wait, wait. I haven’t asked the question, yet. Are you tired of spending more time in your doctor’s waiting room than with your doctor?

That question is pretty much the first sentence of a letter I received the other day.

Well, who hasn’t had to wait longer than they’d like to see a doctor? So, go on.

The letter continued, “As more doctors face mounting pressures to pack more patients into their daily schedules, it’s only getting harder for many primary care doctors to provide the kind of care they know you deserve.”

Now, for me, waiting is less of a problem with my primary care doctor than with specialists to which I am referred. But, go on.

2015 EDITION -- Learn more about Concierge Medicine, Myths, FAQs, Insurance, HSAs, Medicare and more ... On Sale Now in our Bookstore

2015 EDITION — Learn more about Concierge Medicine, Myths, FAQs, Insurance, HSAs, Medicare and more … On Sale Now in our Bookstore

At this medical corporation things are different. Patients don’t spend “more than a few minutes” in the waiting room, the doctor doesn’t rush the patient through an appointment

Sounds good. Why doesn’t everyone sign up for such care? Money.

This is what is known as a concierge practice, also sometimes called membership medicine, retainer medicine, direct care medicine or cash-only medicine.

Patients pay a yearly fee, which can run anywhere from $200 to $5,000. That’s to become a member, not everything all patients will pay for medical care that year.

In return, patients see doctors who have a lighter patient load and thus, the theory goes, provide better medical care.

Concierge doctors see between 50 and 1,000 patients a year, as compared to non-concierge doctors who see between 3,000 to 4,000 patients a year. The concierge corporation that wrote to me said their

doctors’ patient load was 85 percent less than non concierge doctors.

I really can’t afford to become a concierge customer, even with the 25 percent off the first year membership offer. Besides, I like my doctor. And, I don’t know, something rubs me wrong about the concept of better care for richer people.

Maybe this will help …

I was watching the Cubs-Brewers game the other day. Both teams wore pink to promote a charity that raises funds for women who cannot afford the cost of their cancer treatment or who have no insurance.

See what I’m driving at? Something isn’t right.


1 reply »

  1. So tell me me Mr. Sassone, how do you feel about the first class section of an airplane or VIP box seats at the stadium or ballpark? In both of those examples the people in the “cheap seats” still get to their destination or get to watch the game, but how they feel about the experience is quite difference. Funny how people love to tell other people how to spend their money.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.