An idea well-loved by patients.
From individuals to labor unions, businesses, state governments, Medicare, and even U.S. Senators themselves, everyone is starting to discover there is an amazing, simple way to get better health care.
The State of Washington has been able to produce an annual report detailing the number and type of [concierge practices] there. At last count, there were 24 practices serving 10,525 patients -- and zero complaints.
Concierge medicine is not only the fastest-growing trend in American health care, it is also loved by patients. Over 96% of patients who join a concierge practice renew from year to year, a sign of approval from the group that matters most!
Washington State's largest employee union, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 21, in 2012 offered a direct primary care [which is another name for concierge medicine] option from Qliance that lowered employee-only premiums for their members to $5 a week from $9 a week. Concierge medicine lowered their costs by 50%!
Qliance reports that emergency room visits are down 62%, specialist referrals are down 55%, advanced radiology is down by 48% and surgeries are down by 73% across its patient base, saving patients, unions, businesses, and insurers dramatic amounts of money.
Businesses are getting on-board the concierge medicine train. See my business-related section.
Almost all state governments have embraced concierge doctors for increasing quality of care, developing a simpler transaction model, and lowering overall health care system costs. For example, in the State of Washington (from the Council of State Governments):
Washington finds the public policy of the state is to promote access to medical care for all citizens and encourage innovative arrangements between patients and providers that will help provide all citizens with a medical home. It declares that the state needs a multipronged approach to provide adequate health care to many citizens who lack adequate access to it. It states that direct patient-provider practices, in which patients enter into a direct relationship with medical practitioners and pay a fixed amount directly to the health care provider for primary care services, represent an innovative, affordable option which could improve access to medical care, reduce the number of people who now lack such access, and cut down on emergency room use for primary care purposes, thereby freeing up emergency room facilities to treat true emergencies.
The actual bill is here.
Bi-partisan Congressional Support
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been strong supporters of concierge medicine, so much so that there are clauses in Obamacare that explicity protect it. It is one of only a few ideas in decades that is proving to lower overall health care costs, and Medicare is strongly in support of the idea.
United States Senators & Reps
United States Senators and Represenatatives, not wanting to spend time waiting in doctors' offices, have as part of their personal benefits package the right to see a concierge doctor. From Concierge Medicine News:
One of the most unusual perks may come from the Office of the Attending Physician of the United States Congress. For an annual fee of $503, House and Senate members can designate the official congressional physician to be their primary care doctor meaning they never have to leave Capitol Hill or deal with crowded doctors offices.
And yes, if you were wondering, the U.S. Taxpayers pay the bill for them.
President Obama's Physician
In 2013, President Obama's own physician left the White House to start a concierge medical practice in Scottsdale, Arizona.