We sometimes hear from people considering concierge medicine that they aren’t sure they can afford membership. It’s true that, in order to maintain lower patient enrollment, concierge medical practices charge membership fees. But with lower patient enrollment comes a stronger physician-patient relationship, which in some cases can result in health care cost savings that offset or could even pay for membership fees.
Concierge physicians are able to spend more time with each patient, helping patients avoid or manage illnesses. And under the traditional care model, services are often fragmented and patients may not have a health care advocate who can look at their treatment as a whole.
Two concrete examples can better demonstrate the ways concierge physicians can sometimes translate more time with their patients into cost savings.
The Heart of the Matter
Prior to becoming a PartnerMD member, a patient walked out of a visit with his pulmonary specialist with more than $600 in allergy and pulmonary medication prescriptions.
After becoming a PartnerMD member, that patient met with a physician who took the time to learn about all his concerns, including how much money he was spending on prescriptions. His PartnerMD physician reviewed his medications and found alternatives for three of his four prescriptions, saving him $400 a month in medication costs. In a traditional practice, where physicians can see 30 or more patients a day, many physicians simply don’t have the time to do this digging.
Many people take supplements and there is no harm in taking initiative in safeguarding your health. But it does make sense to see if there’s any medical or other valid basis for taking supplements. Too many vendors advertise unsubstantiated claims about the uses and purposes of their products.
In one instance, a PartnerMD member asked his physician about the large number of non-prescription supplements he was taking. These supplements cost the patient between $150 and $200 per month. It turned out that he was taking some supplements that had identical effects and others that were duplicating the effects of his prescription medications. By evaluating which supplements were truly beneficial with his physician, he was able to reduce his total number of supplements from more than 10 to just four. Naturally, that meant a reduction in expenses as well.
The Whole Picture
Sometimes the key to saving money is getting the big picture first, then adjusting your spending habits accordingly. When it comes to your health, however, getting the full perspective isn’t always so easily accomplished.
At PartnerMD, we start by getting to know the patient, not just their symptoms. Because our physicians have more time to spend with patients, they’re able to deliver the kind of information that positively impacts their health and can sometimes relieve financial pains.