Concierge medicine, sometimes called boutique medicine, is a newer model for providing primary care that’s gaining traction in the United States. Instead of long wait times for appointments and hurried appointments when you get to the office, concierge medicine offers same-day or next-day appointments, short wait times, and greater physician availability — for a price.
At Broadway Family Clinic, board-certified family physicians Dr. Kashif Siddiqui and Dr. Sumera Muzaffar offer concierge medicine to their patients in Pearland, Texas. For a yearly fee, the practice provides an individualized care package that guarantees you specific services; which ones depend on your plan, but you can expect higher-quality health care than a typical practice whose business model is to treat the largest number of patients possible, thereby limiting your time with the doctor. Keep reading to learn more about how this new option works.
In 1996, two physicians, Dr. Howard Maron and Dr. Scott Hall, were disturbed by the lack of quality time they had with patients, and they sensed that patients felt their needs were going unmet. They opened the first concierge medical practice in Seattle, Bellevue, Washington, called MD2 (pronounced “M.D. squared), where they charged patients an annual retainer of $13,200-$20,000 per family.
Since MD2 didn’t include the word “concierge,” though, other people credit Cooperative Med of Florida, founded in 2002, as being the first. This practice was unique in that it had never had a typical patient base; it was formed exclusively as a concierge medical practice.
If you’re a new patient in a large city, you may need to wait an average of 24 days to get an appointment with a primary care physician. That’s because doctors often have a roster of 4,000 patients or more, see up to 40 patients a day for 10-15 minutes each, and have little-to-no time for follow-ups, phone calls, or paperwork.
The traditional route for an appointment is tried and true. After waiting for your appointment, when you come in you get some basic tests and screenings, then wait days or weeks for the results to be uploaded to a patient portal. If you’re lucky, you can discuss those results with a nurse over the phone.
This model not only has downsides for the patient, but the physicians struggle, too. Their offices become more like factories, and the inability to keep up-to-date with both medical and administrative duties becomes overwhelming. Doctor burnout is common, and many otherwise good doctors leave medicine altogether.
The concierge medicine model is more about the patient experience. Participating physicians usually have no more than 600 patients, and see only six to 10 a day, spending at least 30 minutes with each of them. Patients can easily get same-day or next-day appointments, access test results more easily and quickly, and discuss those results with the doctor. From there, the doctor develops an individualized treatment plan and oversees its implementation.
For a flat yearly fee, patients receive unlimited office and telehealth visits that last long enough for you to ask questions and the doctor to answer them. You also gain access to your doctor’s direct phone line for medical questions, even outside of office hours, and you can access simple diagnostic and blood tests in the office. If you have a major health problem, your doctor coordinates referrals to a specialist and/or hospital care as needed.
We should note, though, that concierge medicine is not an alternative to health insurance. Some advanced tests and procedures may not be covered under the retainer (that’s why you need to check your plan), nor will specialist visits or hospital stays. You’re paying for access to your primary care physician and facilities, nothing more.
Are you interested in finding out more about Broadway Family Clinic’s concierge medicine plans? To get started, give our office a call at 346-857-0603, or book online with us today. We’re here to help.