by Wayne Lipton, Managing Partner, Concierge Choice Physicians
Unless a physician does not participate in third party payments at all, they are not in direct control of their compensation for services, and neither are their employers. Salaries are generally tied in some way to productivity, whether in real dollars or RVUs (Relative Value Units), or with a base salary and bonuses. The rates paid are decided by a third party, like Medicare or insurance plans. On the other hand, concierge programs are funded privately, directly by patients. But how can this work when not all patients in a practice need or can afford the enhanced practice experience created by this recurring revenue model that exists outside of fee for services?
When first reviewed by government sponsored studies, there were only a small number of physicians offering concierge care. Almost all of the membership models were full-model programs, where an existing practice began offering patients membership that included non-covered benefits. Only a few physicians offered this in part, but it intrigued me. Could physicians practice both traditional and membership medicine?
When I began exploring the partial approach, I called it the “Hybrid Model” of concierge care. I learned that it was much more appealing to physicians who were reluctant to go for the “gun to the head” approach that the more conventional full model concierge approach used. “Pay, join or leave the practice” felt risky, and was certainly not appealing to the vast majority of patients who would have to leave the practice for the benefit of the few that wanted membership and could afford it.
That’s why it is the Hybrid Model of concierge medicine that, over the last 20 years, has proven to be the model that best serves the needs of all patients—traditional and concierge, physicians, and even healthcare organizations. It’s an effective way to control a portion of a medical practice’s revenue stream without incurring risk, dismissing patients, or damaging the mission to care for all.
In my next post, I will talk about how the Hybrid Model has spread well beyond primary care and has solved many of the economic and professional issues many practices are grappling with, and how they can be crafted to solve different issues without displacing patients or requiring the exit from insurance plans that help patients afford care.
CCP is a privately held company based in Rockville Centre, New York. We have consulted with and supported hundreds of practices nationally since 2005. For our current list of locations and physicians, please select “Find a Doctor” at the top of the page.