Health Care Reform – Opportunity or Detriment for Physicians?
Health Care Reform Opportunities
I came across an interesting article today regarding the business opportunities that health care reform is opening up for physicians, particularly in the field of concierge medicine. It all has to do with that individual mandate and what patients are willing to spend.
We start off with a comparison of how physicians today, especially pediatricians, are already similar to concierge physicians in so many ways. (In so many ways they’re not, as well, but for the purpose of this argument we are talking about how they are similar) It’s something that we don’t really think about, being that the kids are all grown and out of the house, but it is remarkable how similar their disciplines are.
For example, when the kids were little we would call our pediatrician at all hours of the day or night to ask questions about fevers, coughs and sniffles. Most of the time all our pediatrician had to do was calm us down. On the rare occasion he’d advise us to visit the emergency room, but in most cases we just needed a little assurance that everything was fine and he’d see us in the morning.
Now, of course, if our pediatrician was a true concierge physician he’d come over at midnight to make sure everything was ok, but answering his phone ‘after hours’ was pretty amazing for someone who wasn’t paid extra to work ‘after hours.’ Unless we actually made an appointment and visited him so that he could charge our insurance, our pediatrician wasn’t really making any money even though he worked ‘after hours.’
So, back to that individual mandate. Every American is required to have some form of health insurance by 2016. The rub is that they will want to put their money to the greatest use. According to business journalist Dana Blankenhorn from ZDNet.com, there is a pot of money sitting there, waiting for use. The insurer wants to spend as little of it as possible on routine costs.
Blankenhorn sees the shortage of physicians and growth of patients as an opportunity for your own personal business growth.
- Patients will want better care. If they have to pay for it, they might as well receive the best options for their money.
- Patients also want physicians who have the time to spend with them, if they’re going to see a physician for the first time in years, why not get to know the doctor.
- New patients (there will be over 30 million of them) will check out the competition. They’ll do their research, looking for the best way to spend their money. If you offer the best of the best services with the added bonus of no insurance red tape, you will be the better option.
- Maybe, just maybe, patients who see health care reform as a negative will do everything they can to avoid that individual mandate. They’ll see your option as outside of the health care reform box, and love the idea.
Health care reform can be an opportunity to give these patients the best of the best, and make it worth your while as well.
According to Blankenhor, however, many generalists see health care reform not as an opportunity, but a series of insurmountable problems that are incentives to retire. And reasons to complain that health reform is hard and nasty.
All of which means even more opportunity for those who do take the plunge.
The question becomes; which are you? A physician who is ready to adapt and see health care reform as an opportunity to create a better business for yourself? Or the physician who will sit back, go with the flow, see more patients, spend more time at the office, do more paperwork, and ultimately retire before your time because you’re fed up with the system?