Concierge medicine provides accessible and personalized care.  Concierge medicine is when the doctor offers their services directly to the patient in exchange for the patient paying the doctor a fee (typically yearly).  There are practices in which the fee covers all services rendered by the doctor and these practices typically charge a higher fee.  There are also practices that offer a hybrid model in which the patient pays a minimal fee for coming to the office (or insurance is billed for the visit) as well as pays for non-included services and the patient pays a slightly reduced fee when compared to the first model.

Concierge Medicine
Dr. Laurie Blanscet at the Temecula Health Fair.

Most patients do not realize how insurances actually work.  Insurances pay the doctors a set fee that is based upon the office visit code that is billed which is based upon the diseases that are diagnosed.  There is a complex set of requirements that the doctor must meet in order to justify the code billed.  Often doctors undercode to avoid having issues which results in them getting paid less than what they should be paid.  Every medical office has a lot of overhead (space, staffing, electricity, supplies, etc.) and in order to make ends meet and pay their own personal bills, the doctor is often limited to seeing more patients and spending less time with each patient.  This results in patients being limited to 1-2 complaints per visit and waiting in the doctor’s office for a long time before they actually see the doctor.  Often patients feel like a number and doctors feel unable to offer the proper care–feeling burned out and frustrated.

Why would a patient want to have a concierge doctor and why would a doctor want to have a concierge practice?

1.  Concierge doctors are able to limit the number of patients that they see so that in return they can have longer appointment times, able to properly address the issues at hand and truly get to know their patients.  An appointment with your concierge doctor is typically 30 minutes compared to less than 10 minutes with a traditional, insurance based doctor.

2. Concierge doctors can give you an appointment time when you need it (within reason), you don’t have to wait weeks or months to get an appointment.  

3.  Concierge doctors are more available.  Often, simple issues can be easily handled by phone because the doctor knows the patient well.  After hours urgent issues are typically handled so that the patient does not need to go to the urgent care or ER.  This saves the patient time and hassle and is more fulfilling for the doctor.

4. Concierge doctors offer true preventive care.  A concierge doctor is focused on keeping you healthy and is rewarded for keeping you healthy–that is the right type of system.  By focusing on your health it is a win win situation.  Sadly, the traditional insurance based system rewards doctors the sicker the patient is, that is a lose lose situation.

5. Concierge doctors assist you in navigating the confusing medical system.  Their office will help you get into and communicate with specialists.  They also assist you with prior authorizations and radiology appointments.  They work closely with your specialists to ensure that you get the best care.

6.  Concierge medicine actually saves you money in the long run.  Taking the time to ensure that you are healthy and well will save you money wasted on sickness and disease later on.  In addition, since your concierge doctor can take the time to get to know you, unnecessary testing is avoided which also saves you money.

Concierge medicine is a win win scenario for the patient who wants to live long and live well and for the doctor who wants to offer the best medical care and also live long and live well.