Physician Practice

Concierge medicine model continues to grow

Physician Practice Insider, March 21, 2017

Concierge medicine is still a niche industry, but in an era of decreasing reimbursements and increasing government regulation, it has become a more attractive option for some physicians running a small practice.

The concierge business model, which operates under several names including “direct pay,” has been around for 20 years and once catered to wealthy clients in affluent urban and suburban areas. But changes in the way small practices operate—and the proliferation of high-deductible health plans—is prompting physicians and consumers to give the model a second look.

“Back in 2001, when I started out in Richmond, Virginia, most people had $20 copays and nobody saw the rationale of directly contracting with a doctor,” says Tom Blue, chief strategic officer for the American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP). “Back then, it smacked of elitism and healthcare for rich people, but now, things have changed.”

Analysts say some physicians looking to escape the pressures of an independent practice are migrating to the concierge business instead of selling their practice.

“A lot of physicians are frustrated with things getting in the way of patient care like MACRA and MIPS,” says Kurt Mosley, vice president of strategic alliances for Merritt Hawkins-AMN Healthcare. “Many doctors are spending more time on paperwork and administrative duties than they are with patients, and they’re looking to do something different.”

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the March 2017 issue.

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