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Can Concierge Medicine For The Few Benefit The Many?

Tue, 08/31/2010 - 6:42am
Pauline W. Chen, M.D.

Earlier this summer a friend revealed that for the last nine years she has been a patient in a concierge, or boutique, primary care practice. For $350 each month, she is guaranteed around-the-clock access to her doctor, appointments within 24 hours of calling, longer office visits and the kind of personalized attention and care coordination she felt was missing with all her previous doctors.

“I love this doctor,” she said. “He really knows me.”

She recounted the details of a recent emergency room visit when a call from the doctor saved her from an unnecessary CT scan and admission to the hospital. “I feel like I have a doctor who’s actually thinking about me and talking to other doctors on my behalf,” she added.

But over the course of our conversation, I also discovered that her husband does not share her enthusiasm. He goes to a doctor in a more traditional primary care practice because he’s uncomfortable with the idea that those who can afford it get better care, while those who cannot pay do not. “I just don’t think it’s right,” he told me.

The two of them had agreed to disagree. To read more, click here.

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