A person’s health is of vital importance. This is a simple fact. To keep the body healthy, there are certain things that need to be done regularly. One of these things is regular visits to the doctor. Also, any time illness occurs or an injury takes place, it is important to get medical attention as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to get in to see a doctor quickly, even in an emergency room. This is why concierge medicine is becoming so popular. Although, the term “concierge medicine” is still entirely unfamiliar to many people. One reason for this is that it is a fairly exclusive service. However, if you have heard of it and want to know more, or if the name intrigues you and you want to find out what it is, look no further. Here you will find information to help you understand exactly what concierge medicine is, how it works, and how to get started. There will also be some other helpful information and tips to get you started learning about this fairly new practice.
The first thing to be addressed is the question of what exactly concierge medicine is and how is it different from the average general practitioner. The term “concierge medicine” is used to refer to a system of doctors that charge a retainer fee. Unlike the average general practitioner, doctors within the concierge medicine system only take a handful of patients at any given time. One reason for this is that they can eliminate much of the waiting that is often associated with visits to the doctor’s office. Also, it allows the doctor to be more selective with their patient list. Not to mention that having a smaller patient list presents an opportunity for a more in-depth doctor/patient relationship. There are, actually, quite a few benefits to a doctor having a small patient list. Of course, this is not the only difference between a concierge doctor and an average doctor's office. Fewer patients mean that you will not have to deal with crowded waiting rooms. Also, you will be able to get test results quicker. This is often a big deciding factor for people. If you have ever had to have a medical test, you know it can take days, sometimes weeks, to get your results back. With concierge medicine, you will be able to cut most of that waiting out of the equation. This is partly because they are not using and overcrowded, overworked lab. It is also partly because you will not have to wait once the doctor has the results. Any time you have a medical test that is not part of a regular check-up, the waiting is incredibly stressful. Waiting and wondering what the results are going to be.
The primary difference is that doctors with a concierge medicine system charge a retainer fee. If you go to your regular general practitioner, most costs will be covered by your medical insurance. Except, perhaps for co-pay fees. Concierge doctors are a bit different. The retainer fee that you pay will cover many basic things such as check-ups, visits when you are sick, and some tests. However, there are some medical tests and other services that will not be covered by the retainer fee. For those, you will still have to see if they are covered by your insurance policy or if you will have to pay for them out of pocket. Basically, do not consider concierge medicine if you are not well off financially. It is quite pricey to choose this option. Of course, the fee that you are paying often covers an unlimited number of visits and some screenings that are not generally covered by medical insurance. Some groups are a bit different than others, but generally speaking, there are two options. Groups either offer a monthly fee. The other option is a payment that covers an entire year. Keep in mind that signing up for this service is a contract. Of course, when a monthly payment is the option of choice, the patient generally has the option of dropping out of the program at any time. A yearly contract is generally just that, you are signed into the program for one year.
If you have decided that you want to look into finding a doctor in concierge medicine, the process is fairly simple. A quick internet search is the best place to start. Simply use the phrase “concierge medicine” along with a location descriptor in your favorite browser. This will show you results that reflect what is available in your city. Keep in mind that one of the benefits of choosing concierge medicine is that, in the case of many groups, if you are traveling out of town and fall ill, you can inquire about a doctor in that area that is part of the same group. This allows you to see that doctor at no additional cost and all of your information will be readily available to your regular doctor. This is often a selling point.
Once you have the results that you need, there are a few things to look at straight away. First, make a list of groups that offer services in your area. If there are none directly in your city or you are willing to travel a bit, you can include results from surrounding areas. Keep in mind that every area does not have concierge medicine groups that extend their services there. If your area does not, you can look into how far away the services are offered and come to a decision about how far you are willing to go to utilize this practice. Next, you must gather information about the available options. This includes the number of there fees, the length of their contracts, whether you pay monthly or yearly, and whether or not they are accepting new patients. Since doctors within these groups only accept a certain number of patients (each doctor often sets his or her own patient limit), you may not be able to get in with the doctor of your choice right away. From here, all you have to do is choose the service and the doctor you prefer and ask about openings.