Doctors Struggling to Stay Profitable: Concierge Care a Solution
In today’s medical landscape, a doctor’s shrinking insurance reimbursements, declining income from Medicare, regulations, rising business and drug costs factor a perfect storm of preventing practices from staying profitable. Many physicians’ lack of business organization skills also leads to financial ruin.
Many doctors are going bankrupt, with this also a completely avoidable scenario. Doctors do not need to go broke, and patients do not need to give up on the idea of quality medical care.
There are solutions, and SignatureMD is at the forefront of the new wave of concierge care medicine.
The emphasis now is on wellness and prevention, as affordable SignatureMD plans are available to average consumers who might not imagine that high quality physician care is within their means.
How so? By electing to have SignatureMD tailor their practice and streamline patients, the office becomes profitable, waste is routed out and patients who invest in their doctor’s practice are able to finally receive the kind of care everyone wants.
The days of the five minute office visit after waiting for hours to see a doctor, that took perhaps weeks or even a month or more to arrange can be eliminated. Unfettered 24/7 round-the-clock access, executive wellness exams and a doctor who has the time to really listen is what patients are seeking today.
Physicians can save their practices by adopting a tiered SignatureMD concierge medicine plan. These new model boutique practices – though still a small segment – are the fastest growing trend in medicine, especially with the Medicare crisis, doctor shortages and aging population.
A survey of 501 doctors released Dec. 13, 2011, by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that 64% believe the concierge medicine practice, also called a retainer or boutique practice, that does not take insurance had the greatest chance of financial success in the age of health system reform.
That ranked second behind having an administrative role in a large health care delivery system, which 70% said would lead to physicians doing well economically. Only 39% said this of a small single specialty group that contracts with multiple plans and hospitals.
However, various estimates show that fewer than 1,000 physicians have a full concierge practice, meaning they take annual fees from patients for care and do not accept insurance.
SignatureMD can set up a unique model to allow a patient to retain their insurance, and also receive preferred care.
Half of all U.S. doctors operate a private practice. So if a cash crunch forces the death of an independent practice, a community suffers too.
CNNMoney interviewed Dr. William Pentz, 47, a cardiologist with a Philadelphia private practice, and his partners had to tap into their personal assets to make payroll for employees last year. “And we still barely made payroll last paycheck,” he said. “Many of us are also skimping on our own pay.”
Pentz said recent steep 35% to 40% cuts in Medicare reimbursements for key cardiovascular services, such as stress tests and echocardiograms, have taken a substantial toll on revenue. “Our total revenue was down about 9% last year compared to 2010,” he said.
“These cuts have destabilized private cardiology practices,” he said. “A third of our patients are on Medicare. So these Medicare cuts are by far the biggest factor. Private insurers follow Medicare rates. So those reimbursements are going down as well.”
SignatureMD patients who invest in their doctor’s practice to receive quality care get 24-hour direct phone and email access to their physician, who can continue taking insurance and caring for most patients in the usual way.
II. Physician Perspectives About Health Care Reform and the Future of Medicine
SignatureMD (signaturemd.com), with offices in Los Angeles, California and Richmond, Virginia, is one of the nation’s largest providers of initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians, with an expanding network of over 160 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 31 states.