This past Monday, I was drawn to an article in the Wall Street Journal: “Medical Schools Can’t Keep Up.” The article detailed the growing shortage of primary care doctors in our country and reminded me that we in the U.S. may have something called “insurance reform” now, but without physicians to translate insurance access into healthcare, the state of our healthcare system will continue to beg additional attention and reform.
Although new medical schools are opening and some schools have increased enrollment numbers, there are a limited number of residency positions in this country. The government has always funded these residency positions and our new reform law tries to address the primary care shortage with “slot redistribution,” whereby money from unused residency positions will be deferred to primary care or general surgery residency programs. Read more »
I bristle when my patient-driven, fee-for-service primary practice, DocTalker Family Medicine, gets lumped into the “concierge” movement, as it frequently does. First, veterinarians, accountants, mechanics lawyers and all other service providers in everyday life who work directly for their clients and not as “preferred providers” for the insurance companies are not labeled “concierge.” Secondly, the label “concierge” implies exclusivity, membership, high yearly retainers, and capped patient enrollment. Each of these labels we too reject.
A practice like ours out-competes the traditional model and the “concierge idea” in almost every measurable way: access, convenience, patient control, speed to treatment, quality and finally and maybe most importantly for the sake of the health care debate, price. Our boss is each patient one at a time, and our goal is to provide the most cost effective delivery model achievable. We strive for nothing less than making primary care immediate, high quality, patient controlled and affordable to every American. We deliver a concierge-level service at a price that is much less than even the price-fixing controlled by the insurance-driven model to date. Read more »