Today I went to an appointment with a physician for the first time in a long time. I waited seven weeks for the appointment and was excited to get some answers.
I paid my $30 copay and waited in the lobby.
I got called back into the office.
Met the physician- who was very nice and knowledgeable.
Then spent 6 minutes with her before she said to call her if anything changes.
Then she walked out and her assistant told me where the exit was.
As I was walking out, I saw her going into her next appointment.
Seven weeks and $30 copay for six minutes.
It was a great reminder of the reasons why we chose to leave the traditional style of health care and do concierge care.
- Individualized care. You are a person, not a patient in a patient mill.
I remember the amount of burn-out and guilt I had when I knew a patient needed more from me, but I had to either get my next patient or I was bouncing between multiple. We are told to either limit these patients with a pre-designed program to save time, cut our discussions short, or just stick them on the bike to “warm up”. The physician today most likely is a great practitioner and wants to help, but was confined to short appointment times to get in everyone she needed to see. The cause is not in the practitioner’s themselves most of the time, but the unrealistic productivity standards that (most) insurance based systems require of their practitioners. You shouldn’t only receive good care when your therapist’s other patient cancels. It should be ALL the time. Also, if a program is what is best for you, there should be clear tailoring for you to make sure it brings you to your specific goals.
- The money spent on appointments that are not effective and how they add up.
Today I spent $30 for a non-productive appointment. It may take me multiple of these $30 appointments to get the answers I need. I have also seen patients where they may be responsible for a percentage of cost instead of a copay (or copay+ percentage). In hospital systems, that percentage may sound low, like 10%, but hospitals have to over-charge in order to get good reimbursement back. This could mean that that 10% can be more expensive than you anticipate. My sister had 8 visits of physical therapy and was responsible for 10%. She was charged a little over $1,000 six months later.
- No surprises. Real informed consent.
A $1,000 bill is difficult to stomach at any time, but especially when you don’t expect it. You don’t expect what time it is going to come nor do you know how much it might be. There is no way to budget for it. Insurance is notorious for long wait times when it comes to finalizing bills. With a concierge system, you have an upfront cost with no chance of being charged without consent before treatment. You may even get money back from this upfront cost! At the end of your treatments, you can ask a concierge practice for a superbill to give to your insurance. Your insurance can then reimburse for out-of-network benefits. I would much rather pay for an upfront cost and wait for money back vs. wait to find out what your surprise cost is. We often see that the amount that is reimbursed back for out-of-network drops the cost of the concierge appointment down to the cost of a usual copay!
- The time spent at appointments. Better results in less time.
This goes back to the effectiveness of each appointment. With a traditional model, it is common to be seen 10-15 appointments with only 15-20 minutes of one on one time with your therapist and 30 minutes of non-supervised exercises you could do at home. For that same issue, I could see someone concierge 4-6 times with an hour of one on one care with the better results. We tend to see better long term results with hour long one on one care because we can spend more time on education and advancing current exercises. You don’t have to drive to 10-15 appointments, you get a deeper understanding of what is going on, and you don’t feel like your appointment was something you could have done on your own.
- Consistency and continuity.
We are a two-woman ran business. Depending on what you need care for, you will either see Sam or Bri. You are not going to be bounced around different therapists just to fill up schedules. We spend time getting to know you and your specific goals and needs. You shouldn’t have to explain what you need to different people each visit, which you may see in larger traditional clinics. This helps us be more effective with each visit. Once you reach your goals, you then have the option to continue to wellness services with that person to make sure you continue your progress. Even if it is a year since we last saw you, we will still have your file and be able to jump right back in to what you need. This is especially important with those chronic conditions, like lymphedema, where you may just need to be re-measured for compression.
Overall, the care that everyone needs is different. Our hospitals are great for trauma, those that have met their out of pocket maxes, and those who have great therapy coverage. But, for many people, it may not be the best answer. You have options outside of the traditional model and should be informed about them. Our goal is to provide the care we know you deserve and act as a resource hub to help everyone get the care they need. If you don’t feel like you are getting that care, speak up! Reach out to us, tell your trusted health care provider, and advocate for your health.