"A few weeks back, I pointed out a living, breathing example of a successful cash only pediatric business. I've also added a few posts about concierge pricing and what our customers are doing.Meanwhile, over on her blog, Susanne Madden adds some insightful commentary on the subject, including one point in there which is quite subtle, but incredibly important:
In the case of insurers, some don't want physicians to charge these fees to their members citing contract provisions excluding them from doing so, while others do not have a problem with it.
Sure enough, some of the major payers (Aetna, Cigna, and others, I believe) are "allowing" their patients to work with "concierge" practices. This is the hole in the dam we've been waiting for, imo. You now no longer immediately alienate some of your patients when you begin to provide a concierge solution. You can develop your solution and then grow it. No need for a radical change.
- I quote "allow" because your patients are always allowed to see you. They might have to pay more, is all. You're worth it, no?
- I quote "concierge" because I don't like that word in this instance and need to come up with a better word. "Concierge" implies some kind of exclusive, wealthy-only practice. Which the model I continue examine is not. Anyone want to help me name it? I'm thinking something like "Human" or "Natural" or "Reasonable" or "Anti-Managed Care."
Susanne has gone so far as to find another living, breathing example of a concierge group. Check out this national program: MDVIP. To become an MDVIP provider you must, among other things, limit yourself to 600 patients (an interesting start). What I like about their sales pitch is that "prevention and wellness" appear so close to the top of benefits of working with them. I think it ought to be #1, personally, but it's a good start!Two additional pieces to read:
- A piece entitled "Concierge Family Practice: A Minor Trend Sparks Major Ethical Questions" from the Dagger Press with some detailed stories about a few concierge groups and their stories.
- I should have known: someone has started a blog about opening a concierge practice.