Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is anyone here a Toyota doctor?

If government regulation worked, health care would be the smoothest running industry in the country. However, regulations make healthcare burdensome for patients and doctors.

Some doctors in the area have embraced a new business model of care known as “boutique” medicine, in which patients pay an upfront fee of several thousand dollars a year in exchange for 24-hour access to physicians, unhurried appointments, home visits and other benefits. This concept has sprung from the feeling that many doctors have of being overworked.

Dr. Peter L. Beilenson, Howard County's health officer and former Baltimore health commissioner, said he understands the frustrations of primary-care doctors. "But I have serious qualms about this trend toward concierge medicine," he said. "It's absolutely critical that we have enough primary-care doctors, and this just compounds the problem."

By licensing doctors, the government and medical labor unions have created barriers to entry that are very high and that result in a low supply of high quality doctors. You would think that patients are better off, but in fact this makes patients pay more in terms of higher fees for medical services and longer waiting times to see their physician.

If you want to purchase a new car, you have the option of spending a bundle on a fully loaded BMW M3 convertible, or you buy something as modest and low cost as a Kia. You also have hundreds of options in between these two types of cars. By regulating the supply of doctors, we end up with a bunch of BMW doctors when in fact, a few-low end Kia doctors or mid-range Honda Accord doctors would serve the needs of many patients.

I have no doubt that the government, in a flagrant display of foolishness, will begin to regulate boutique medicine in order to ensure that no one can get good health care, be they rich or poor.


Anonymous said...

The best doctor I ever had was not a doctor but a physician's assistant. I lost her when forced to change insurance companies.

SIMPD said...

As president of SIMPD, the Society for Innovative Medical Practice Design, the professional society open to all concierge and other direct practice doctors, I am a huge proponent of "medical homes". In fact I run one.

The concept of "medical home" is a critical one. Every American needs one, a place they can access top notch primary care immediately and fully like one can access a concerned family member. And they need to buy that home directly, not with other people's money.

The only payer willing and able to pay what a medical home will cost is the patient. Interest in concierge medicine is therefore rapidly growing. Starting with the first such practice about twelve years ago in Seattle and growing exponentially, there are now thousands of such practices in the USA, some are associated with franchises though most are independent. No mater what the government does, that is where the action will be in the future.

Direct practice doctors and those who wish to adopt the direct practice model can join the society and get many benefits including up to 55% discounts on malpractice insurance, practice marketing help, national care networks and many other services. Our society is rapidly growing its membership. Direct practice doctors have much more time with their patients, make a better living, and virtually never get sued. That is why we get huge malpractice insurance discounts.

Patients can go to SIMPD's web site at for information and to find such a doctor in their own community at the "find a physician" link. This is the ideal way for patients to get personalized, prompt, excellent primary medical care in a unhurried, pleasant setting. Money is actually saved on patient care in such practices because emergency room visits and hospitalizations are drastically reduced due to of the personalized, immediate, detailed care we deliver. The cost of concierge care, which averages about $150 per month, can be as low as $40 per month. This is affordable for most Americans, while the fragmented primary care most are now getting through employers or government third party interference in the doctor patient relationship is penny wise and pound foolish.

SIMPD believes most Americans can eventually be cared for in such direct "medical home" practices resulting in far better care. This will result in lower overall cost and a return of interest in primary care by students who now shun the field as undervalued, underpaid and undesirable compared with other medical specialties.

If any of you have further interest please contact me through the SIMPD web site. I answer all emails through that site personally.

Thomas W. LaGrelius, MD, FAAFP President, SIMPD
Owner, SPFC Torrance, CA

p.s. One of our SIMPD Board members Steven Knope, MD, operates a direct practice in Tuscon. He has published an excellent book called "Concierge Medicine" available at any book store or on Amazon. You might want to read his book

Eludius said...

I like the advertisement that simpd left you.

The government is so conflicted that it is unable to do anything properly. By regulating anything they automatically make it worse.