My GP doctor of 18 years and his practice, Chapel Hill Family Medicine, are converting to "concierge medicine", sometimes known as boutique medicine. What this means is that to stay with my doctor, whom I like, it will cost me $1500 per year, $1000 which goes to him and $500 which goes to MDVIP, the company which franchises this service. My doctor will reduce his patient load to a maximum of 600 patients. MDVIP limits its franchises to experienced established practices in high income areas.
What this buys is 24 hour access to your doctor, extended preventative medicine including expanded physical, all you records on a cd.. etc.. or to put it another way, high quality individual attention that should be available anyway.
This really poses an ethical dilemma both for the physician and the patient. What is driving this practice is the increasingly low reimbursements by insurance companies which require increasing work loads which gives less and less time per patient. Primary Care Physicians, PCP, are increasingly stressed and dissatisfied with the current system. In other words this is a prescription that is symptomatic treatment for PCP's and the economically advantage patients at the expense of the rest of the population due to a broken health care system. It furthers the class divide of accessibility to quality medical care.
While as I said I like my doctor and understand this siren song for him as sung by MDVIP, this move disturbs me and it looks like I will be searching for an new physician.