Converting To Concierge Medicine: A Patient’s Point Of View
As a physician considering a concierge medicine conversion, it is likely you are not only wondering how this process will affect you, but also what the experience will be like for your patients. In many cases, this will be a new concept to them, so it is important to communicate clearly to ensure the smoothest transition as you explain concierge medicine to patients.
We spoke to SignatureMD affiliated physician Dr. Joel Meshulam about what the conversion process entailed for his patients:
As Joel explained, communication is key:
In terms of what my patients were going through in this process and what it entailed, I can sort of answer that question. I think I know the answer, but I wasn’t a patient. I may be a little off on this, but for my patients, I think they had the information given to them, they reach out to my staff, to me, and to Maureen, who was our liaison with Signature MD, to have their questions answered.
They were able to come to an event that I hosted where I gave a talk about the care of patients in a concierge setting, and they were able to either opt in or opt out.
They had a variety of plans that they could follow to pay for their concierge fees: annual, semi-annual, quarterly. For some of my patients who are a little bit less well-to-do, it provided them an entry point to be able to transition and matriculate into the concierge practice.
If I had to go back and do something differently, it would be how I communicated with my patients.
I think the message that I was giving my patients was potentially confusing. At no point did I say to a patient, you have to join or you have to leave. I was trying to make it clear that if they didn’t want to join that they didn’t have to, and that I was going to staff my practice with a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant, that I would be very much still connected with their care, but they would be also seeing this extender. I think some of them just didn’t get the message correctly or felt like I was not offering them an option. Some of them did not want to see a nurse practitioner. That’s the way it goes. I think for the most part they understood and didn’t find it to be a difficult process to either opt in or choose not to opt in.
With offices in Los Angeles, California and Richmond, Virginia, SignatureMD (signaturemd.com) is one of the nation’s largest firms providing initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians. SignatureMD currently partners with more than 160 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 31 states, and its network is rapidly expanding.