Friday, January 16, 2009

Knope On Forbes Article

Dr. Steve Knope sent me these additional comments on the recent Forbes article on concierge medicine, "Should You Dump Your Primary Care Physician?"

I am reproducing them here with his gracious permission:
First, the title Forbes selected carries a very interesting message: "Should You Dump Your Primary Care Doctor?" It would seem that Forbes is effectively calling concierge medicine the "gold standard" by which readers should judge their own primary care doctor. If your doctor doesn't measure up -- if you don't have adequate access to and time with your doctor -- perhaps you should consider "dumping" him and paying for better care. This is a far cry from the uniformed criticism that was levied against concierge doctors in the early stages of this movement. It would appear that people are beginning to get the idea that doctors cannot provide excellent medical care without the time to do so.

Second, the comments from Joseph Heyman of the AMA are revealing in their ignorance and represent nothing more than political rhetoric:
"...[H]e says, physicians 'should provide the same quality of care to all patients regardless of the model of care in which they are practicing.'"
Really? Let's examine this statement from the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the AMA. Doctors should somehow provide the same level of care in a traditional, third-party practice (in a 7 minute visit) that a concierge doctor provides to his patients in a 30 minute visit. And just how does a physician do this, Dr. Heyman? The corollary of this statement is already recorded in the AMA position statement on concierge medicine: There is nothing intrinsically unethical about concierge medicine, they say, provided that doctors do not advertise concierge medicine as somehow better than the standard, fast-food medical model.

When is the AMA going to stop spewing this political nonsense and start telling the truth? If I didn't think spending more time with a patient was better care, I wouldn't do it. Most concierge doctors take excellent care of about 600 patients. This is plenty. Suggesting that a doctor can do the same job while taking care of 3,000 patients is nonsense. It is clearly refuted by a large body of literature, which shows that primary care doctors do not have the time to adequately address the needs of their patients, much less address their preventative care, which is now being touted by the nationalized healthcare advocates as a part of our needed "reform."
Thank you, Dr. Knope, for standing up for your right to practice in a free market on your terms, for your patients' best interests, according to your medical conscience, free from government interference.