Considering changing to a Direct Pay/Concierge or Boutique Physician? Because there is a shortage of primary care physicians, and primary care has suffered declining reimbursement rates from insurers, Direct Pay Medicine is a growing trend. However, because it’s relatively new, there is a striking lack of standardization in pricing or types of services offered. Here are come suggested questions to ask when interviewing a concierge physician:
- Do you charge annually or monthly? (Are all office visits covered in that fee?)
- Will you help submit claims for all non-covered services to my insurance?
- Will you see me if I am in the hospital? (Is there an extra charge for that?)
- Do you participate in Medicare?
- Do you make house calls?
- Can I get a same-day appointment?
- Do you offer email communication?
- What is included in an Annual Visit (ie. what tests are performed and what counseling will I receive?)
- Do you have an area of specialization? Do you have a sub-specialty Board Certification?
- Do you have other physicians in your practice? Nurse Practitioners? Physicians Assistants? What role do they play in your practice?
- Are there specialists (Cardiologists, Endocrinologists, Othopedic Surgeons) that participate in your concierge practice? Will they give me preferred access?
- What is your attitude toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine, CAM (acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy eg)? Are there practitioners of CAM that your regularly refer to?
- What wellness or preventive services do you offer?
- Will you guarantee to continue to care for me even if I develop a serious illness? (corollary: are there any conditions under which you would dismiss me from your practice?)
- What is your philosophy about hospice? Will you care for me until the end of my life?
Can you think of any other important questions? If so, please feel free to share them in the Comment box below.