Mon. Sep 27th, 2021

We have described before the difference between concierge medicine and direct primary care. DPC is a movement and continues to grow and outpace concierge care yet many news outlets love to cover the latter. This latest article and accompanying video from KMOV4 show how they work to highlight the negative angle of membership practices by just focusing on concierge medicine. Here is an example:

Recently, Marlene Nolan received a letter from her primary care doctor, whom she had been seeing for quite a while, announcing a switch over to a Concierge Medical Practice. It’s basically a membership, with additional out of pocket fees direct to the doctor’s office, often on top of insurance and co-pays.

“It’s $1500 so I can call her my doctor,” said Nolan.

Nolan, who is relatively healthy and on a fixed-income, was livid.

Marlene has a point. Her doctor will be double dipping. The piece goes on:

The doctor’s marketing materials list a number of perks: same day appointments, little or no waiting to be seen and longer, unhurried medical visits, but Nolan wasn’t impressed.

“When you really look at it, you are getting the same stuff that you should be getting from a physician anyway. There are no additional perks to this. all the perks are on her end,” she said.

Unfortunately, Marlene, you are wrong there. You cannot get same-day appointments, little or no waiting to be seen and longer, unhurried medical visits ANYWHERE except membership practices. Why? Because insurance companies are taking 90% of the fees and doctors have to make this up with volume.

This whole thing from KMOV4 was horrible because it focuses only on concierge medicine in order to make doctors look greedy.

News 4 reached out to Marlene’s current doctor, who declined an on-camera interview, but in a statement said the change was made after careful and thoughtful consideration.

The statement reads: “Most important is the time we have to further develop the essential physician-patient relationship and care for patients in a holistic, proactive way.”

If only the network had done their homework and reached out to the many direct primary care offices in that area. They could have compared the two and shown that DPC doctors don’t double dip and charge much less. They could have highlighted the doctors who are eschewing the insurance model versus still being in bed with them. If you are a DPC doctor in this area then please get in touch with the network for a rebuttal.

14610cookie-checkA membership to see your doctor: Is concierge medicine the wave of the future? No!

By Doug Farrago

Douglas Farrago MD is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Douglas Farrago, MD received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia in 1987, his Masters of Education degree in the area of Exercise Science from the University of Houston in 1990, and his Medical Degree from the University of Texas at Houston in 1994. His residency training occurred way up north at the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine. In his final year, he was elected Chief Resident by his peers. Dr. Farrago has practiced family medicine for twenty-three years, first in Auburn, Maine and now in Forest, Virginia. He founded Forest Direct Primary Care in 2014, which quickly filled in 18 months. Dr. Farrago still blogs every day on his website and lectures worldwide about the present crisis in our healthcare system and the effect it has on the doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Farrago’s has written three books on direct primary care: The Official Guide to Starting Your Own Direct Primary Care Practice, The Direct Primary Care Doctor’s Daily Motivational Journal and Slowing the Churn in Direct Primary Care (While Also Keeping Your Sanity) are all best sellers in this genre. He is a leading expert in direct primary care model and lectures medical students, residents, and doctors on how to start their own DPC practice. He retired from clinical medicine in October, 2020.

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