Debate highlights vital role of PCPs; believes hybrid concierge can play key role in ensuring future
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- While the Supreme Court justices consider the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Americans are wondering what effect, if any, the decision could have on the nation’s current and future healthcare delivery system. One concern heard often from physicians, patients, and healthcare industry executives is the potential impact the ruling could have on primary care medicine.
Wayne Lipton, founder of Concierge Choice Physicians (CCP), a pioneer of hybrid concierge medicine, believes that without a mechanism to ensure a strong role for primary care physicians, the quality of care for U.S. patients could be negatively affected regardless of how the Supreme Court rules. CCP offers an innovative approach to bolster primary care that encourages physicians to continue in all kinds of insurance programs, including Medicare.
“The ACA neither caused, nor will it be able to completely solve the critical challenges facing the practice of medicine today, including current and future shortages and an emerging system that is perhaps unintentionally diminishing the role of primary care physicians,” notes Lipton. “The good news is that in addition to expanding coverage to millions who need it, the ACA does recognize the importance of primary care.”
The challenge, he cautions, is that if the current economic and societal realities of healthcare aren’t also addressed, and if strategies aren’t put in place to encourage good physicians to remain in primary care, the effect may be a watering down of care and quality.
“We may end up with a ‘big box’ and ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to healthcare delivery,” says Lipton. “Hybrid concierge programs can play a role in safeguarding traditional primary care and in expanding options for emerging practice models without adding extra financial burdens to taxpayers.”
Under the hybrid model, physicians continue to see all of their patients. Only a small percentage of patients – typically about 5 to 10 percent – opt to take advantage of the concierge program, which provides an array of attractive health services and benefits not covered under traditional health insurance policies. The remaining patients experience no changes in care or service, while also maintaining their relationships with their physician practices.
Lipton and other industry leaders believe the hybrid model offers an important addition to today’s healthcare marketplace because it supports and sustains primary care in significant ways. Among the most pressing reasons for a system that encourages and supports primary care are these:
- Investing in primary care can help to reduce overall healthcare costs. Numerous studies highlight the important role of adequate funding for primary care. The challenge is the limited ability of the government to fund such care. Hybrid concierge, which provides a private source of funding, could help to defray expenses by augmenting payments to physicians.
- Studies show the U.S. needs to devote more resources to improve primary care. Programs to recruit and retain physicians need to be expanded, and the U.S. healthcare system is exploring many options. Adding hybrid concierge to the mix of strategies to expand and recruit family physicians can help to build a strong primary care workforce.
- Many doctors want more part-time and flexible options. A recent survey by the American Medical Group Association showed that older physicians and females now make up the fastest growing segment of primary care physicians. These two groups are looking for more flexible options, the survey showed. Concierge and hybrid concierge programs can provide a level of flexibility that would be attractive to these physicians who might otherwise leave medicine or migrate to other specialties.
“No matter what the Supreme Court decides about the Affordable Care Act, the economic challenge of rising healthcare costs and narrowing choices will continue; but if the Act is entirely negated, it could put us back at square one regarding Primary Care Services,” says Lipton. “As it becomes more prevalent, however, hybrid concierge care can help to ease the economic burden and solve many of the concerns that are already a part of our healthcare system today while ensuring that Americans have a full range of quality healthcare choices.”
About Concierge Choice Physicians
Concierge Choice Physicians™ is a private company headquartered in Rockville Centre, N.Y. Concierge Choice Physicians offers a hybrid medical practice option so that doctors can offer both traditional and concierge-style medicine within a single practice. The company works with medical practices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington DC. For more information, visit www.choice.md or call 877-888-5590.
Scott Public Relations
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INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Practice Management Health Public Policy/Government Healthcare Reform Managed Care