July 24, 2000
“Boutique” practices: Good medicine or ethical swamp?
By Anita J. Slomski | Group Practice Editor
Bob Sage, 70, pays $3,000 a year just for the privilege of being the patient of Seattle internist John Kirkpatrick. Medicare pays Sage’s bills; the surcharge grants him more time with Kirkpatrick at appointments, house calls if he needs them, the doctor’s cell phone number, free valet parking, and a private waiting room at the clinic.
“When I signed up in January I thought this added service was a bit of a luxury, and I didn’t know whether it was worth it,” says the former TV-commercial producer and director. “But now I think of it as a necessity.”