The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that there will be a shortage of 91,500 doctors by 2020 as the Obamacare insurance coverage provisions are implemented and 30 million Americans become eligible for health insurance coverage. Expect waiting rooms to fill up. Concierge medicine may be just what the doctor ordered!
Concierge medicine is a relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer. This may or may not be in addition to other charges. There are many advantages to you and in the long run, it could even be less expensive!
The shortage of physicians caused by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the next five years will drive a massive increase in the popularity of Concierge Medicine in the US. How will healthcare markets respond – especially with regards to primary care? As the shortage of primary care providers worsens it will literally create a fork in the road for patients and doctors, driving the structure of their practices into two completely different tracks. - Each is a distinct and logical response to the massive patient overload - The two models produce dramatically different experiences for both the patients and doctors.
In the more traditional practice structure, the physician will be come the leader of a care team supervising a number of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants who provide the majority of the hands-on care. The skill and experience of the physician will be saved for the more complicated and severe cases seen that day. The majority of the doctor’s activity will be devoted to leading and coordinating the care provided by the pyramid of N.P’s and P.A.’s who are their direct reports.
As a patient in this model you will only see your doctor on rare occasion and only when you are very ill. Your primary relationship with be with a P.A. or N.P. This may come as a bit of a shock if you are used to seeing “my doctor” whenever you are sick or need a routine checkup.
As the typical patient begins to notice they are only seen by a physician on rare occasion, a certain percentage will become willing to pay for that privilege. I suspect this will quickly grow to a substantial wave of new demand for concierge medicine services especially as premiums continue to fall and more concierge medicine practices are available.
See the Pros and Cons of Concierge Medicine HERE