Concierge practices vary enormously in what they do, how they do it, who they are, and what they charge. We receive many calls from people seeking concierge care and below are some of the things we advise.
After considering the specifics below, though, we suggest you trust your gut. Many doctors with unimpressive credentials are wonderful. Many doctors with world class credentials and testimonials are better at marketing than doctoring. Moreover, the doctor-patient relationship, like marriage, is all about fit. No doctor or practice is best or worst, right or wrong for every patient. You need to find the right match for you.
- Cast a wide net, consider several physicians.
- You are hiring a practice, not only a doctor. Office staff, hospital affiliations and so on are very important.
- Seek trusted friends and colleagues with first-hand knowledge about each practice you are considering.
- Visit the two or three practices which seem best.
- Interview the doctor.
- Meet the staff and get a feel for them.
- Is this practice a good fit for you?
- Physician questions
- Training and board certifications?
- Years in practice, years in concierge practice?
- How often and for how long is the physician generally away from the office?
- What happens if you have a medical problem while the physician is out of town?
- What happens if you have a medical problem while you are out of town?
- Which hospital does the physician use for inpatient care?
- Does the physician make hospital rounds?
- Does the physician provide hospital care directly or admit you to the care of a hospital physician (hospitalist)?
- Expectations for scheduling non-urgent office appointments?
- Expectations for urgent or emergency care?
- Other amenities offered such as house calls, late or weekend hours, among others?
- Who are typical patients for this practice?
- For what reasons have patients left this practice?
- Expectations for communication via telephone, email, text messaging, or Skype?
- Contract questions
- Is there a contract controlling membership in this practice?
- Can you separate from the practice if it is a poor fit? How? How much notice?
- If you leave the practice do you get a prorated refund of your annual fee?
- Payment questions
- What is the annual concierge membership fee?
- Will your insurance pay the membership fee?
- Are there other fees beyond the membership fee?
- Is your insurance company billed for office visits and other medical care?
- How about copays for office visits?
Concierge Medicine in general