Concierge Medicine: Is an Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure?

Concierge Medicine: Is an Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure?

Over the past five years or so, there has been a trend in the medical profession that is gaining even more recent momentum and appeal. This trend – the growth in concierge medicine – may be directly linked to the innovation around DNA testing and specifically how to make better lifestyle choices given a discovery of a predisposition for certain illnesses. Through education and coaching from a licensed doctor and living a healthier lifestyle, perhaps you can alter or delay a diagnosis and health outcome.

Concierge medicine is similar to typical concierge services elsewhere, where the customer (that is, patient) pays a higher, fixed annual fee in exchange for more personalized and “high touch” or, in this case, more attentive medical care, plus better and easier access to their doctors. In return for the boutique approach and higher fees, doctors can carry reduced patient loads and thereby be more available to those they serve.

Concierge practices rely on a simple equation: more money for the doctor and smaller patient loads equals more time for each patient and potentially better outcomes. In the typical concierge experience for medicine, a primary-care doctor accepts insurance for routine services but also charges a non-reimbursable fee that pays for such things as 24/7 access to the doctor, same-day appointments, longer appointment times, and enhanced personalized attention. A recent study from the Journal of American Family Medicine indicates that common medical practices in both the United States and abroad often range in size from 1200 to 1900 patients per physician. In contrast, many private, or concierge-type, doctors have rosters of as few as 300 patients. Instead of rushing through 10-minute visits, private doctors can spend up to a half-hour or more with their patients. In fact, many private doctors offer extensive annual physicals that can last a few hours. Additional time means concierge doctors can focus more on education and prevention.

The essence of the approach in concierge medicine is to enable the physician to focus primary concern and attention on disease prevention, and to better manage health and wellness to optimal levels – and in cases of chronic diseases, be in a position to provide patients with greater therapy and more engaged strategies to help them live life to the fullest. What’s more, a recent study measuring the health impact of the concierge model found that patients had lower hospitalization rates and were better able to manage their conditions.

According to a recent study found in the American Journal of Managed Care, patients who embraced the concierge system had better overall health outcomes. The study showed 70% fewer hospital admissions when compared to patients in traditional primary care practices. Another study, published recently in the International Journal of Person Centered Medicine, found that the patients of the industry’s largest concierge network system, MDVIP, better managed their chronic conditions.

Of course, getting this type of improved direct care comes with a cost. Retainer fees, which are charged over and above what’s covered by health insurance, can run from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per year. According to an article in Modern Healthcare, the leading healthcare business news and data service, fees for retainer-based care can run from $80 a month to as much as $25,000 a year, with most doctors, on average, charging around $100 a month. Insurance companies don’t currently pay for concierge services — the retainer fee is fully paid out-of-pocket.

In a world where people have to increasingly be their own health care advocates, it might be a welcome — and worthwhile — relief to have a concierge doctor who will take the time to explore every avenue of your health. The world continues to advance to greater health awareness and capabilities, and the concierge doctor may be a very valuable addition to your overall “life” improvement team.

Articles and Commentary Information provided in written articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. There is a risk of loss from investments in securities, including the risk of loss of principal. The information contained herein reflects Sand Hill Global Advisors' (“SHGA”) views as of the date of publication. Such views are subject to change at any time without notice due to changes in market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. SHGA does not provide tax or legal advice. To the extent that any material herein concerns tax or legal matters, such information is not intended to be solely relied upon nor used for the purpose of making tax and/or legal decisions without first seeking independent advice from a tax and/or legal professional. SHGA has obtained the information provided herein from various third party sources believed to be reliable but such information is not guaranteed. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom SHGA has no control. SHGA makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other Web Sites. Any forward looking statements or forecasts are based on assumptions and actual results are expected to vary from any such statements or forecasts. No reliance should be placed on any such statements or forecasts when making any investment decision. SHGA is not responsible for the consequences of any decisions or actions taken as a result of information provided in this presentation and does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information. No part of this material may be (i) copied, photocopied, or duplicated in any form, by any means, or (ii) redistributed without the prior written consent of SHGA.  
Video Presentations All video presentations discuss certain investment products and/or securities and is being provided for informational purposes only, and should not be considered, and is not, investment, financial planning, tax or legal advice; nor is it a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. Investing in securities involves varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be profitable or suitable for a particular client’s financial situation or risk tolerance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Individual performance results will vary. The opinions expressed in the video reflect SHGA's or Brenda Vingiello’s (as applicable) views as of the date of the video. Such views are subject to change at any point without notice. You should not treat any opinion expressed by SHGA or Ms. Vingiello as a specific inducement to make a particular investment or follow a particular strategy, but only as an expression of general opinion. Nothing presented herein is or is intended to constitute investment advice, and no investment decision should be made based solely on any information provided on this video. There is a risk of loss from an investment in securities, including the risk of loss of principal. Neither SHGA nor Ms. Vingiello guarantees any specific outcome or profit. Any forward-looking statements or forecasts contained in the video are based on assumptions and actual results may vary from any such statements or forecasts. SHGA or one of its employees may have a position in the securities discussed and may purchase or sell such securities from time to time. Some of the information in this video has been obtained from third party sources. While SHGA believes such third-party information is reliable, SHGA does not guarantee its accuracy, timeliness or completeness. SHGA encourages you to consult with a professional financial advisor prior to making any investment decision.

Recent Posts

Aug 28, 2019
CNBC's Halftime Report Discussion on the Current Interest Rate Environment | August 28, 2019
Sand Hill News
Sand Hill News
CNBC’s Halftime Report Discussion on the Current Interest Rate Environment | August 28, 2019

Sand Hill’s Chief Investment Officer, Brenda Vingiello, CFA, returned to CNBC’s Halftime Report on August 28, 2019 to discuss interest rates and the current state

read more
Jul 31, 2019
Sand Hill Launches Its New Digital Client Center
Anthony Craun
Anthony Craun,  CFA
Sand Hill Launches Its New Digital Client Center

Since our founding in 1982, Sand Hill has persistently sought to provide our clients and their families with the best practices, tools and technology offered

read more
Jul 30, 2019
Diversifying Concentrated Holdings
Elizabeth Cody
Elizabeth Cody,  CFP®
Diversifying Concentrated Holdings

Many dedicated employees, especially in Silicon Valley, eventually gain significant exposure to their own company’s stock by regularly participating in employee stock purchase plans (ESPP)

read more

Stay up to date, receive email updates from Sand Hill directly to your inbox!