Is superior healthcare service really worth an extra $1,500 per year? Consumer-goods company Procter & Gamble is um, gambling on it. It plans to charge customers of its recently acquired "MDVIP" health concierge service as much annually in exchange for more personal, round-the-clock care, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Beginning this month, the company now has full ownership of MDVIP. (It previously have a 48 percent stake.) With 350 doctors in 28 states, it's the largest concierge health practice in the U.S. Each doctor within the MDVIP network is limited to only 600 patients, allowing for more time to be dedicated to each patient. On top of a $1,500 annual fee that covers the cost of an "in-depth physical," an assessment of family and social history and help constructing a health improvement plan, doctors also bill health insurance companies and collect regular co-pays.
While some, like customer Bob Wildermuth of Ohio, think that the service is "probably worth the fifteen hundred bucks," others, like Dr. Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, believe that such clinics tend to "skim" healthier and wealthier patients, leaving the rest for regular doctors.
"This may add to the growing disparity of healthcare in this country," Heim said. "It reflects the frustration we have with a dysfunctional healthcare system."
Another concern critics could take issue with is the possibility of Procter & Gamble hawking its products--like Prilosec and Pepto-Bismol--to patients of the clinics, although the company says it has no plans to do so. P&G does plan grow its business though, considering that in the four years since it initially became a minority investor in MDVIP, its customer base grew by 70,000 patients.
To learn more:
- read this Cincinnati Enquirer article