VIP DOC Franchise. What is this crap?

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My longtime GP doc joined up with some corporate gang where any of his patients who don't join the vip club for $1650 get dumped. Had my last physical today, was a little tense, I let him know I was staying in coach class.

Anyone going through this? Seems like there're just dumping the riff raff and catering to wealthier people. Must be a lot more money in it for the docs is all I can figure, but the deluge of promotional email, phone calls etc is all about SERVING YOU BETTER. Right...? For your $1650 you may even be treated the same day you call. Imagine that.......


Concierge medical services are just beginning to show up in the marketplace. They have a great deal to prove. It may be your doc's way of making up for low insurance reimbursements. If we aren't careful, we're going to have a two-tier system for the haves and the have-nots.
Windy, this is called concierge medicine, boutique medicine...there are probably other names as well. I think it could also be known as upscale medicine and leaving the middle class behind.

My understanding is that doctors are tired of being penny pinched by Medicare, of having to rush through dozens of patients in order to get a decent level of reimbursement, and similar issues.

Under these new boutique arrangements, patients pay a retainer fee, entry fee, whatever you want to call it. It can be astronomical. But for that you get a lot of service.

AARP had some articles on this. If the following links are deleted, Google "AARP, concierge medicine".



There's also Direct Primary Care:
aarp/health/health-insurance/info-08-2013/direct-primary-care.html which is based on a monthly "retainer".

(I don't if there's a doorman to take off his hat and greet you on the way in though or if the doorman will walk your dog for you though.)
I agree this is crap.. BUT... have you ever looked at your statements from your insurance that show what was billed... and then what was PAID?? Some of my bills show (just for example) 200 billed and 8 paid. How can anyone stay in business like that? But I agree I will stay with "coach"! I do not think I'd get better care if I paid a member fee..LOL And I am in healthcare...
There's an old joke amoung the rich folks sitting on their yacht , "wonder what the poor people are doing?" Well they ain't gettin vip medical treatment, that's for d*mn sure.

Maybe I'm being to hard on my doc but all the promotional stuff was just laughable. The money was not the issue with me it was just a matter of principle. I can't help but think about all the elderly, working class and poor patients these guys are dumping. The doc will do quite well I'm sure.
I can still visualize Richard Burton in Camelot singing "I wonder what the King is doing tonight."

One way you can zap the doctor who's calling is to report him and his promotional calls on the Do Not Call list.

Interesting comment about those of us who can't afford platinum service. I frequently read comments here and elsewhere about the so-called high cost of attorney fees. What isn't known is that some firms have pro bono commitments for their attorneys.

I wonder if doctors will develop pro bono practices. I doubt if the concierge doctor will volunteer for Doctors w/o Borders though.

However, I do understand the desire to out from under the scrutinizing thumbs of Medicare panels, especially the appeal panels.
Pam, although I've never worked in medical billing, I've often wondered how much some of the charges are actually calculated and if there's a built-in write-off factor automatically.

We've been fortunate in that we've found a great team of doctors who provide more than the typical short visit. When Dad had his last pacemaker replacement, the cardiologist and electrophysiologist spent probably close to 1/2 hour with us, going over the issues.

Let's not forget that "sequestration" (read filibustering) has been responsible for what I consider severe cutbacks in Medicare reimbursement level. I doubt that the idiot perpetuating the filibuster worries about his care though.
I can fully understand Windy why you are upset... I was that way when my previous doctor years ago went under the VIP umbrella, who swore he would never go that route, but eventually he did....

My previous doctor recommended this new doctor in his office who wasn't under the program and I went with her for a number of years. She was the one who was attentive and found my breast cancer at stage one, where the mammograms saw nothing, she insisted something was there. She found an outstanding surgeon and Oncologist for me. So when she went into the VIP program I followed her into the program.

Yes, there is a yearly fee.... and there are benefits like same day appointments where before it was a week to get in.... none of the 10-15 minutes with the doctor, now it is an hour if you want. Last week's appointment was an hour, checked my broken shoulder, and we talked and talked about aging, my parents who are stressing me out, and if I might be having the start of dementia [she thinks it is stress related].

Will my sig other and I stay with the VIP program? We will see. I do like the yearly intense wellness physical, they cover just about everything.

There's a corollary to this as well. I visited a new internist a few months ago and was surprised when I received the Medicare and BCBSM EOBs. There was a reimbursement for something I could barely recall. It had something to do with depression, then I remembered.

Q: Are you depressed?
A. No.

Billed $20.00; paid: $17.65. That was a pretty expensive question for probably less than a minute of time.
Points are well taken FF. But, much to everyone's amazement, Im healthy as a horse, on no meds just a few aches and pains from football 100 years ago. I would probably upgrade to first class if I thought I needed that kind of attention. Now that I've bailed I'll probably develop 3 or 4 chronic illnesses tomorrow.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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