The Concierge Catch: Better Access for a Few Patients Disrupts Care for Many

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Health

“You had to pay the fee, or the doctor wasn’t going to see you anymore.”

That was the takeaway for Terri Marroquin of Midland, Texas, when her longtime physician began charging a membership fee in 2019. She found out about the change when someone at the physician’s front desk pointed to a posted notice.

At first, she stuck with the practice; in her area, she said, it is now tough to find a primary care doctor who doesn’t charge an annual membership fee from $350 to $500.

But last year, Marroquin finally left to join a practice with no membership fee where she sees a physician assistant rather than a doctor. “I had had enough. The concierge fee kept going up, and the doctor’s office kept getting nicer and nicer,” she said, referring to the décor.

With the national shortage of primary care physicians reaching 17,637 in 2023 and projected to worsen, more Americans are paying for the privilege of seeing a doctor — on top of insurance premiums that cover most services a doctor might provide or order. Many people seeking a new doctor are calling a long list of primary care practices only to be told they’re not taking new patients.

“Concierge medicine potentially leads to disproportionately richer people being abl …

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“You had to pay the fee, or the doctor wasn’t going to see you anymore.”

That was the takeaway for Terri Marroquin of Midland, Texas, when her longtime physician began charging a membership fee in 2019. She found out about the change when someone at the physician’s front desk pointed to a posted notice.

At first, she stuck with the practice; in her area, she said, it is now tough to find a primary care doctor who doesn’t charge an annual membership fee from $350 to $500.

But last year, Marroquin finally left to join a practice with no membership fee where she sees a physician assistant rather than a doctor. “I had had enough. The concierge fee kept going up, and the doctor’s office kept getting nicer and nicer,” she said, referring to the décor.

With the national shortage of primary care physicians reaching 17,637 in 2023 and projected to worsen, more Americans are paying for the privilege of seeing a doctor — on top of insurance premiums that cover most services a doctor might provide or order. Many people seeking a new doctor are calling a long list of primary care practices only to be told they’re not taking new patients.

“Concierge medicine potentially leads to disproportionately richer people being abl …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]

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