Like most, I consider the healthcare system in this country to be broken and getting worse. It is not uncommon for a physician to see 30-40 patients per day and to have overall responsibility for a panel of 4000 or 5000 patients. Why? Because insurance companies reimburse based on volume, not efficiency or positive experiences. Doctors must also comply with arcane rules and standards that may not translate into what is best for your health. A large part of the problem is that the consumer of healthcare services has been separated from the payer of those services. We seem to have forgotten that the true purpose of insurance is to protect against the relatively uncommon, unforeseen, expensive or catastrophic events. That is how health insurance started out. But we have now become accustomed to our health insurance covering everything, including routine primary and preventive care. The solution is to reunite the payer and consumer of healthcare services. This concept, referred to as concierge, membership, retainer, direct-pay or boutique medicine has been around for a while, but has become increasingly popular in recent years.
What is concierge medicine? The concept is simple but fundamental. Your physician is retained in advance and limits the practice to a certain number of individuals or families allowing him to offer unprecedented levels of personalized care in a private setting. He serves as your trusted advisor. Your physician is paid for the relationship he has with you, and is incentivized to do things for you, rather than to you. Your physician is dedicated to optimizing your health and well-being and attends to your medical problems when they arise. Insurance coverage would remain an essential part of your care for prescriptions, labs, radiology, hospitalizations, surgery, or specialty consultations. A recent article in Forbes magazine suggested that “everyone should have a concierge doctor”.
I started Alternity Healthcare so I could practice medicine the way it should be practiced; engaging patients in their health and focusing on wellness, prevention and restoring vitality. In point of fact, our health is our most precious asset. And it is on matters of health that people are exposed and most deeply vulnerable. As a direct pay, concierge practice, I do not contract with insurance of any kind. Without being beholden to the whims of an insurer, I can spend as much time with each patient as they need, have the flexibility to see patients on short notice (often same day), and make decisions based on scientific merit. I could also remind you of our extensive evaluations and leading edge diagnostic equipment, the ability to have me involved in complex consultations, the wonderful atmosphere of our very private office and its staff, our implementation of telemedicine for your convenience, or your ability to reach me directly whenever you feel necessary. But in the final analysis Alternity Healthcare is much more than that; it is truly medicine as it should be.