If you’ve never heard of it, concierge medicine is an interesting extreme of consumerism. I met a physician in St. Louis about 7 years ago who had such a model. He didn’t take insurance. Each patient had their own voicemail box for exchanging messages with the physician. Everyone paid him an annual fee for unlimited access. Most of his revenue was for a private company’s executive team and their families. He spent lots of time with the patients, focused on preventative care, and kept trying to find ways to keep them healthy.
Newsweek had an article about this in their 11/26/07 publication called “The Blue Chip Checkup“. It talks about the Concierge Medicine clinic in LA where you can go get a $1,400 Vehicle Loans physical just like the President gets. It is so comprehensive that it even includes a skin consultation. Apparently, over the past year, they have had 600 people come in to get this physical.
I know lots of people are pretty skeptical about this. I am not sure I have an opinion yet. It’s interesting. Obviously, you don’t want to create unneeded costs and certainly we don’t want to make care a luxury good. But, having people take responsibility for their health and wanting to learn as much as possible about how to manage their care seems like a positive.
Ideally, there should be lots that we can learn about patient-MD interactions, value of testing, preventative care, and what would happen in an ideal setting where insurance and money was not an issue.