Primary care MDs ask patients for extra dollars

Struggling to pay even their basic expenses, primary care doctors are increasingly asking patients for an annual fee in addition to co-payments on insured services. This isn't a high-touch concierge medicine model--patients are getting traditional primary care--but rather, a method for desperate physicians to keep afloat financially, they say. 

For example, geriatrics specialist Dr. Mary Colburn of West Palm Beach, Fla. began asking all of her 400 patients to pay an administrative fee of $250 per year last month. "I wish it were not so that we were in this position. But we are," she said. And she's not unusual. According to the Society for Innovative Medical Practice Design, which promotes the fees, hundreds and hundreds of doctors are taking this tack. "It's not going away," says president Chris Ewin.

To find out more about this trend:
- read this South Florida Sun-Sentinel piece

Related Articles:
Study: Primary care costs, reimbursement low. Report
White paper: Building Teams in Primary Care: Lessons from 15 Case Studies. Report
SPOTLIGHT: Upping pay for primary care. Report

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