ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The potential demise of independent primary care physicians, the growth of “big box” medicine, and longer waits for routine physician-based care are just some of the trends in medical practice for 2011 notes Wayne Lipton, founder of Concierge Choice Physicians (CCP). CCP is the largest provider of hybrid concierge programs and the second largest company providing concierge practice management services in the nation.
CCP’s unique hybrid concierge model offers an alternative which allows primary physicians to continue to see all their patients, while offering those few that want a concierge option that choice. Physicians offering CCP’s hybrid model now care for more than 300,000 traditional and concierge patients – more than any other full concierge model company in the nation, in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Concierge Choice is currently the only major network model to offer a hybrid option.
Lipton, a veteran of the healthcare industry who left a full-model concierge company in 2005 to pioneer the hybrid practice model that would ensure all patients could continue to see their chosen physician, notes that the following trends will impact primary care practice in 2011.
- The shortage of primary care physicians will continue. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, America faces a potential shortage of 130,000 physicians within the next 15 years. While new government funding and medical college outreach seek to increase the number of applicants, many medical school residents are choosing to practice in a medical specialty, not primary care practice, further depleting the number of PCPs.
- The traditional model of independent primary care physicians (PCP) will decline. More physicians will become employees of corporate hospital systems or other organizations, creating a “big box” culture for medicine. According to a study by the Physicians’ Foundation1, only 26 percent of physicians surveyed plan to continue practicing medicine in their current setting. More than 10 percent plan to start working for hospitals within the next three years. Another 14 percent will join companies providing locum tenens or that place physicians in “temporary” positions.
- It will become more difficult for PCPs to maintain a viable independent practice. One reason for the reduction in primary care physicians is the expense of maintaining a private practice today. There remains considerable uncertainty about reductions in reimbursement from Medicare. Private insurers traditionally target independent physicians when cutting their own costs. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the average PCP to run a profitable practice, forcing many of them to consider alternative employment.
- More patients will be seen by physician extenders such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Under the Accountable Care Act (ACA), an annual wellness visit is available to all patients with no copay. However, the ACA does not mandate that a physician provide that care. Many medical practices will use physician extenders and health educators to provide the visit. Physician extenders are well trained and caring professionals playing a vital role in healthcare today. However, we need to maintain a system that also enables primary physicians to be the drivers of wellness and preventive medicine.
- Physicians will look to cash-based models to help ensure viable practices. The Physicians’ Foundation survey also found that 16% of current physicians planned to convert to concierge or cash-only practices. Such models could disenfranchise patients who do not want or who cannot afford such models. While the majority of physicians will continue to offer care through traditional insurance, even a slight reduction in PCPs will impact the ability of patients to access their chosen physicians.
While Lipton acknowledges the challenges, he also stresses the opportunities that today’s healthcare environment offers to physicians. “We believe the hybrid model is the solution for primary physicians today,” says Lipton. “It provides a private source of income to maintain a viable practice and it can even give physicians considering retirement an option. Plus, unlike full-model concierge programs, it enables physicians to see all their patients – not just those wanting a concierge option.”
Under the CCP program, patients can obtain same-day appointments, convenient scheduling and often 24-hour direct phone and email access to their physician. The hybrid model offers medical and personal services that are generally not covered by traditional insurance plans or Medicare. The fee averages about $150/month, annually less than the cost of a standard “executive” physical. Children up to age 25 may participate under their parents’ program at no additional charge.
About Concierge Choice Physicians
Concierge Choice Physicians™ (CCP) is a private company headquartered in Rockville Centre, New York. CCP pioneered the hybrid model of concierge medicine, which enables doctors to practice both traditional and concierge-style medicine within a single practice. Under a hybrid model, typically about 50 to 150 patients choose to join the concierge model. CCP also offers limited full-model concierge programs. The company works with more than 180 medical practices in 18 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.choice.md or call 877-888-5590.
1 Health Reform and the Decline of Physician Private Practice. Retrieved from http://www.physiciansfoundation.org/uploadedFiles/Health%20Reform%20and%20the%20Decline%20of%20Physician%20Private%20Practice.pdf.
Scott Public Relations
Brenna Harrington, 770-338-0357
KEYWORDS: United States North America New York
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Practice Management Health Hospitals General Health Managed Care