Concierge medicine has had somewhat of a “brand/identity” issue in the media and health care marketplace. Concierge medicine (also known as “Direct Care” and sometimes closely aligned with the term “Direct Primary Care”) is a term used to describe a relationship with a primary care physician in which the patient pays an affordable fee for access and cost effective care with their primary care doctor.
Concierge medicine has had somewhat of a “brand/identity” issue in the media and health care marketplace. It has also been referred to as: membership medicine; boutique medicine; retainer-based medicine; concierge health care; cash only practice; direct care; direct primary care and direct practice medicine. While a typical physician can carry a patient load of 2,500+ patients, a concierge physician generally limits their practice to between 300-600 patients or more. While all concierge medicine practices share similarities, they vary widely in their structure, payment requirements, and form of operation. In particular, they differ in the level of service provided and the amount of the fee charged. There are an estimated 5,000 concierge, or membership medicine doctors throughout the U.S., according to SIMPD. However, there is only one organization tracking the specific number of concierge/direct primary care practices in the U.S. today, Concierge Medicine Today, an online news agency dedicated to educating traditional practice physicians and patients about the cost effectiveness and value these types of practices can provide to both physicians and patients.
This term also refers to those primary care and family practice physicians who have chosen to provide healthcare services in a more convenient, accessible and cost efficient manner to their patients. These physicians charge patients a membership fee ranging from $600 to $1,800/year and higher. In exchange for this fee, concierge practices generally include 24/7 access to a personal physicians’ cell phone, same-day appointments with no waiting, personal coordination of care with specialists, personal follow up when admitted to a hospital or ER, house calls, and more.