What is boutique medicine – and is it worth it?
Two friends of mine recently received the same letter in the mail from their internists: Fork over $1,500 or you’re out of my practice.
Of course, they didn’t say it quite that way. The doctors said they’d be cutting their practices down from around 2,500 patients to 600 patients. Those willing to pay the annual fee were promised primo service in return: The doctor’s cell phone and/or pager number; “same day or next day appointments that start on time and last as long as needed” and a “full, thorough, comprehensive physical examination that is typically not given in most traditional primary care practices.”
“Is it worth it?” my friends asked. “Should I spend the extra money, or should I go find myself another doctor?”
Virtually unknown 10 years ago, in 2005 there were 500 doctors practicing what’s referred to as concierge medicine. Now there are 5,000, according to the Society for Innovative Medical Practice Design, a professional society of concierge physicians.
So, if you’re thinking about becoming a patient in a concierge practice, there are questions to ask.
If you’re like the rest of us, you work like hell, do due diligence, and try to come up with satisfactory health care your insurance will cover.
If you have insurance.