Nothing makes me feel older than this post, but the time has come to talk about concierge medical practices. (I mean, young, healthy people don’t care about this stuff, right? Sigh…)
Have you heard of these? Essentially, it’s paying a yearly membership fee to have access to a doctor who has a small patient load. The particular program I am looking into includes longer, more comprehensive annual physicals, personal goal charting and (longer) consultations, and 24/7 access to a doctor by cell phone.
There are other perks as well, but those are the big hitters. All for the (low? high?) cost of about $160 per month — in addition to your normal copay (set rate you pay per visit, anything from $20 to $50) and deductibles.
This might sound crazy, but as someone managing a long-term, recurring medical problem, it looks sweeter and sweeter by the minute. The idea of having an active partner in tracking, managing, and figuring out what is going on with me (as opposed to problem-focused 10 minute check-ins with various doctors trying to move on to the next patient) is very appealing. So, we’re considering trying this out to help me remove some of the stress of managing Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Here’s more coverage from a local news program, and here’s a rundown of the pros and cons that have been covered by another blog if you’re curious for more.
Aside from the monetary concern (about $2,000 per year on top of any other medical payments), these practices also raise an ethical health care dilemma: is it fair (or right? or okay?) to be able to get better or more attentive medical care in exchange for money? The answer, at least in America and at least for now, is yes.