Royal Pains: Can Concierge Medicine Coexist With Obama's Healthcare Plan?

BlogHer Original Post

Have you seen the new show Royal Pains? If so, you are probably now familiar with what a concierge doctor is. It's not a bad show, but is concierge (or boutique) healthcare bad for patients?

From Doc Gurley...

For those of us who don't live in the rarefied world of
"concierge" anything, here's how a concierge doc works: you, as a doc,
sign up people for a fixed monthly amount, then you offer them
hand-held service for that monthly payment. Also part of the
arrangement is a (sometimes explicit, sometimes assumed) limit on the
total number of patients the doc will see - say, 600 people total.

This is from an episode of The Doctors...

Have you ever wished you had your own personal doctor at your beck and call? Now you can. Concierge doctors are gaining popularity, but can the average person afford them? President of Elite Personal Physician Services, Dr. Cheryl BryantBruce, explains that her clients have 24/ 7 direct access to her.

“Whether you get the $100,000 package or the $10,000 package, you will get the same medical care,” Dr. BryantBruce assures. “We have a Hippocratic oath that tells us that is what we are supposed to do.”

It seems to me that if you can afford it, it's a great way to go. The trouble is, most people probably can't afford it.

Here is a video explaining the cost and benefits of concierge medicine...

From Womanist Musings - The Terrible Nightmare of Single Payer Healthcare...

The United States has some of the world’s best hospitals, yet millions of U.S. citizens are unable to access their services, making their existence meaningless to large sections of the population. Many die each year due to a lack of insurance and the greatest cause of bankruptcy is unpaid medical bills. Looking from the outside, it is clear that the American Health care system is about profit, whereas the value of a single human life is priceless.

But it's not just about more and more physicians turning to concierge medicine, it's about why?

From Chelsey Ledue at Healthcare Finance News...

To adapt to market pressures, some physicians are moving to full concierge practices. The model works well for physicians – and for patients who can afford it – but it often disenfranchises those patients who can’t afford or don’t want to move to such a model.

“The way the market is moving we may well create a system where millions of Americans no longer have access to primary care physicians,” said Lipton. “This creates a bit of a paradox as the administration and healthcare leaders are publicly highlighting what an important role PCPs play in providing and coordinating care for Americans.”

From Jennifer Erickson of The Laguna Beach Independent...

Some opponents of concierge medicine view the business model as an extra level of bureaucracy atop managed care medical insurance. Dr. Bill Anderson, who runs the Sleepy Hollow urgent care facility downtown, wrote recently in a weekly ad, "if you have a real doctor in a private practice and not a managed care medical plan, you get the same service, minus the frills. Your doctor or an associate is available by phone 24/7 and they coordinate emergency and hospital care when you need it. So what's the big deal?"

Will concierge medicine help or hurt the millions of uninsured and under-insured in our country?

From Josie Brown at Single Minded Woman - Support Single Payer Healthcare...

Last week I got a notice from our insurance carrier that our family policy rate was going up — almost 35% (!!!) — oh, and yeah, it’s time for my college age daughter to get a plan of her own: another $159 above and beyond the increase.

Few kids in college can afford to cover their own health insurance policy. Of course Martin and I will do so until she’s making an income that will do so (forget about a plan from an employer: those are becoming as rare as Ugg boots).

Adding to our cost concerns, our deductible is being raised again, and some benefits (I use that term lightly) are no longer included.

How will this new form of healthcare integrate itself into the Obama healthcare plan? Does it even want to?

From Mommy Life - Obama and ABC Merge...

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

Have you checked out the new show Royal Pains?

From Vicarella - Is There a Doctor in the Hamptons?

The show was, of course, entertaining, well-acted, well-written, clever, all anyone can ask of a new television show, in a time in which the pains of reality television seem to still be taking over. It did, however, raise the question for me, of "concierge doctors", and whether or not such a thing really does exist, and to what extent. Do the glitterati in places like the Hamptons, Manhattan, Aspen, Los Angeles, Telluride, Miami, et al., really have concierge doctors? Medical professionals who don't work for a hospital or medical practice, but rather work privately, for the world's elite, allowing them to avoid documented medical care (and, potential public embarrasment and/or police action) for plastic surgeries gone awry and drug overdoses? Doctors who pull up in a fancy SVU with a myriad of portable medical devices in the back? A black, leather Coach bag containing perscriptions? (And, how many medical thics are being violated by physicians randomly carrying a variety of perscriptions, and potentially carrying them over state lines.)

From Megan's Minute - The "Royal Pains" of the Hamptons...

Did you know there were such things as concierge doctors?

Medical professionals who hang out at ritzy resorts waiting for party-goers to overdose, or slip on the dance floor or crack-up their cars? That's when a discreet doctor is literally worth his weight in gold.

So...What do you think about concierge medicine? Will it help or hurt our chances of getting quality and affordable healthcare for everyone? If you had the money would you prefer to have a concierge doctor? Let me know your thoughts in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at and Women4Hope


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