Inside A Practice

Concierge Medicine: Medical, Legal and Ethical Perspectives

Concierge Medicine: Medical, Legal and Ethical Perspectives
Peter A. Clark SJ, PhD Professor of Medical Ethics and Director, Institute of Catholic Bioethics, Saint Joseph’s University
Jill R Friedman DO, MBA Mercy Suburban Hospital East Norriton, PA
David W Crosson Esquire, Crosson Law Office
Matthew Fadus Senior Research fellow, Institute of Catholic Bioethics, Saint Joseph’s University

Citation:  P.A. Clark, J.R. Friedman, D.W. Crosson, M. Fadus: Concierge Medicine: Medical, Legal and Ethical Perspectives. The Internet Journal of Law, Healthcare and Ethics. 2011 Volume 7 Number 1. DOI: 10.5580/134f


SECOND (2nd) EDITION, Revised & Updated! -- Pre-Order Your Copy Now! Sale $134.95 (Reg. $189.95) | Free Shipping | All Pre-Orders Will Be Shipped in April 2017

SECOND (2nd) EDITION, Revised & Updated! — Pre-Order Your Copy Now! Sale $134.95 (Reg. $189.95) | Free Shipping | All Pre-Orders Will Be Shipped in April 2017

Abstract

Over the last 20 years, dissatisfied primary care physicians have turned to an alternative medical practice known as “concierge medicine,” “boutique medicine” or “retainer medicine.” Concierge medicine is a system in which the physician limits the amount of patients in the practice and offers exclusive services for an annual fee. Primary care physicians today are challenged with low reimbursements, malpractice premiums, overwhelming paperwork, and the responsibility of taking on thousands of patients to offset the rising cost of healthcare. They also face an immense pay discrepancy compared to medical specialists. To maintain their income levels, primary doctors may take on more patients and more hours to compensate for the transaction costs of dealing with insurance, which can take up nearly 40% of a physician’s income1. The increasing volume of patients and responsibility can compromise the overall quality of a physician’s attention. Today, the average primary care physician sees dozens of patients a day, and can treat thousands of patients a year. Primary care physicians may feel the need to comply with the overloaded standards of today’s healthcare system rather than the best interest of the patient’s health to keep up with patient demand in primary care. With this being said, it is no surprise that many primary-care physicians report that they no longer enjoy practicing medicine. A 2004 survey of physicians age 50-65 found that over three-quarters of them viewed medicine as increasingly unsatisfying2. Although only a small percentage of these disgruntled physicians have made the switch to concierge practices, the trend is expanding rapidly across the country. There are an estimated 5,000 physicians practicing concierge medicine in 2010 across the nation out of an estimated 240,000 internal medicine physicians and related subspecialists3. Of these 5,000 concierge medicine physicians, 1,000 of them opened their practice in 2009 alone4.The purpose of this article is fourfold: First, to examine the history of concierge practices; Second, to compare medical benefits and disadvantages of concierge practices; Third, to explore the legal implications for concierge physicians and their contractual agreements with patients; and fourth to determine if a concierge model follows solid ethical principles. The paper will be concluded with recommendations based on whether concierge medicine as a whole is in the best interest of the patient or the physician providing the service, as well as healthcare as a whole. It is the authors’ goal to provide unbiased information about concierge medicine so that readers can make informed decisions.


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s