An increasing number of physicians are forming concierge practices, in which they collect monthly cash fees from patients instead of insurance reimbursements, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Noting that an increasing number of physicians are fed up with traditional medical practices which are complicated and impersonal, and that patients are tired of long waits and rushed appointments, Alex Nixon, a staff writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, describes the growing trend of concierge practices.
According to Nixon, there were about 5,500 concierge physicians in the United States in the fall, up from about 4,400 a year earlier. Most concierge doctors charge about $100 per month and practices generally have 300 to 600 patients, compared with 1,000 to 2,000 patients in a regular practice.
Concierge physicians can give more time to their patients and provide personalized services such as home visits and taking calls 24 hours a day. As more doctors become dissatisfied with pressure from the government and insurance companies to cut costs, the American Academy of Private Physicians expects the number of concierge doctors to continue to increase.
“The trend has been going on for quite some time,” said Tom Blue, chief strategy officer of the American Academy of Private Physicians, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article. “But the Affordable Care Act fanned the flame.”