Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NYT on Doctors Who Take Only Cash

The 11/23/2012 New York Times had a surprisingly positive article on "Dealing With Doctors Who Take Only Cash".

The writer looked at a range of so-called "concierge practices".  One such primary care practice charged $38 per month, and does not accept insurance. Another charged $1800 per year, but offered a wider range of services.

The article notes:
All the doctors I spoke with said that they had switched to a fee-for-service model for three reasons: to preserve their incomes, to avoid the administrative hassles of insurance and to provide better care.
However, another doctor opposed to such a system stated that:
[F]rustrated primary care physicians have other options, like becoming a doctor in a hospital or selling their practice to a larger group that will handle the administrative issues. 
That may be true.  But doctor who sell their practices to larger entities (such as hospitals or Accountable Car Organizations) lose significant autonomy in how they can practice.  Instead, they often must follow the practice guidelines specified by the larger entity -- which may or may not be appropriate for the individual needs of specific patients.

I don't know how many doctors will eventually opt out of the current system and "go concierge".  Nor do I know how long this option will remain legal.  But for now, I'm glad that more doctors and more patients are considering this option and asking if it's right for them.

(Read the full text of "Dealing With Doctors Who Take Only Cash".)