More on Private Medicine
Concierge Medicine: Your Questions Answered
In the October 2012 issue, we investigated whether it was worth spending $1,500 or more a year on a physician who truly pays attention to you. Here, everything you need to know about what it would cost, what’s included and how to find a concierge doctor that’s right for youby Cathryn Jakobson Ramin
What will it cost me?
· The retainers that concierge docs charge annually range from about $1100 to $2100, although some doctors in mega-bucks neighborhoods charge much more.
· Note that there are also direct-pay docs who accept fees on a month-to-month basis, but they do not provide all of the amenities described in the next column.
What is usually included?
· The annual comprehensive wellness physical, including a blood panel and in some practices, multiple screenings and tests.
· 24/7 access to physician by cell phone, email and text.
· Same-day office visits, with little or no waiting
· Care from your own physician if you get sick when you’re out of town.
· Plenty of time to talk over routine concerns during office visits
· Easily accessed and meticulously maintained electronic medical records, sometimes available to you on line, always ready to be sent to specialists or the ER.
· Facilitated referrals to specialists, meaning that your doctor will contact other doctors for you, arrange your appointments, discuss your case in detail with the specialist, and follow up with you about your visit to the specialist.
· Assistance you’re your physician in obtaining pre-authorization and pinpointing the best specialist in network with your health care provider.
· Focus on preventive medicine, rather than reactive medicine
· In some practices, but definitely not all, a concierge doc will also care for your post-pediatrician-age child, up to age 26, included in your retainer fee.
· Some docs offer online services such as medical information, prescription refills, secure online e-mail with one’s personal physician, online lab results and access to digital x-ray reports and images
What is not included in the concierge retainer?
· The co-payment for office visits, except for the annual comprehensive physical. (Usually, your co-payment is listed on the plastic insurance card you keep in your wallet. My co-payment, for instance, for my individual Anthem PPO Saver plan is $30 per office visit.)
· Lab tests, scans and screenings conducted in facilities outside the concierge practice.
· Appointments with specialists
· Procedures, surgery and hospitalization, including visits to the emergency room.
How can signing on with concierge doctor save me money?
· You may be able to switch to a high-deductible health insurance policy, thus reducing your monthly payments. (See: “What kind of health insurance plans work with concierge medicine?,” below, for more on this.)
One of our patients shared this nice write-up from More magazine covering the basics of private/concierge medicine. It’s a quick read in a Q & A format and covers many of the common questions about this practice model. Of course there’s no substitute for the real thing–set up a time to come in and meet us in person to see if we’re a good fit for your healthcare needs!
Primary Care Doctors Burning Out
Some very concerning findings in a new study by the Mayo clinic.
When looking at general internists and family physicians the study found “more than half of the doctors in each of those areas suffered some form of burnout.” Another specialty, ER medicine, was even worse.
In my opinion this is very concerning, especially in light of the ever greater responsibility being placed on our “front line” doctors.
As a Mayo clinic physician Tait Shanafelt put it, “Docs who are burned out are more likely to make mistakes.”
One bright spot, physicians who practice preventative medicine reported the lowest levels of burnout.
To read an article about this study click here.
In Your Corner: June 2012
Woo We! It took a bit to get here, but summer is finally here and in full swing! Don’t forget to check out this month’s edition of In Your Corner to help fight the heat, the sun, and get a sneak peak of our new column, the Cornerstone Difference! Happy Monday!
Understanding Healthcare Reform and the Supreme Court
As you probably know, the Supreme Court has taken up the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and this week will be hearing arguments about four specific aspects of the law. These can be complicated matters, but we found this infographic from the Center for Objective Health Policy to be a helpful and simple look at the issues. Hope it helps!
In Your Corner – March 2012 Newsletter
Happy March everyone! With March comes Saint Patrick’s Day, and with St. Patty’s comes Guinness and shamrocks and much more. Check out Cornerstone’s March 2012 newsletter for some ins-and-outs of alcohol, fun facts, a clover search, and even a recipe! Follow the link to read the newsletter…from our corner to yours!
Cornerstone – In the News Again! Featured in the Health Journal!
Did you see who was featured in February’s edition of the Health Journal? Our very own, Dr. Christopher Dowd, was interviewed in a discussion about some home remedies that can be effective versus those that are better left alone. Even if home remedies might do the trick, all of the doctors interviewed agreed that it was important to include your doctor in what’s going on and which home remedies you plan to use to treat a problem. To read the article online, click here.
Cornerstone In The News Again
Hurricane Irene: Resources to Prepare
It’s never a light matter when nature’s threats come our way. Be smart, be safe, and be prepared. Here are some helpful resources and lists to get your through Irene. Good luck, and have a safe weekend!
(photo by smiteme on flickr; Hurricane Katrinia 2005)
A Summertime Occurrence: Snake Bites
Good afternoon everyone! Someone had recently asked us to do a post about snakes and snake bites, and we obliged! We hope you find it interesting, helpful, and informative.
A new place to call home!
Well the past week has been busy, but we’re excited to now be in our new location in Harbour View! Cornerstone has been growing and we needed a little more space to make sure we can best serve our growing patient family. And we think you’ll like our new home too–come on by for a visit or to say hello! We’re at:
5849 Harbour View Blvd. Suite 250 in Suffolk. (Our phone number stays the same!)