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Beware these pitfalls before leaping into concierge medicine.
A new year brings new ideas and while some practices will remain the same this year, some may consider transitioning their practices to a “concierge” model, sometimes called a “subscription” or “retainer” practice. A concierge practice is a direct contract between a doctor and patient where the patient pays for an agreed menu of healthcare services; patients pay a fixed fee, whether the fee is monthly or annually, to receive medical services administered by a provider. The concierge medicine business model is expected to reach $10 billion by 2028 and is expected to continue to expand.
Some providers find concierge medicine appealing because they can spend more time with their patients listening and understanding their needs, offering better care to them. Additionally, in a concierge model, providers manage to earn more despite a smaller number of patients and establish a work-life balance. The idea of controlling work, avoiding provider burn-out, allocating more family time, pursuing personal & professional interests, offers an attractive choice for all providers. But despite this, there are still several legal and compliance hurdles associated with this practice model.
PITFALL (1) Patient Agreements
The provider will create and enter a patient agreement where the patient agrees to pay some fee and all fee schedule charges at the time of service for access to a specific menu of enhanced services.
PITFALL (2) Insurance Licensure
Spend time with your attorney reviewing your patient agreement to ensure it does not violate state law.
PITFALL (3) kickbacks
Review the ways you are marketing and convincing patients to use your concierge services.
PITFALL (4) Medicare
Understand how Medicare addresses concierge medicine.
PITFALL (5) Patient ABANDONMENT
Review the way in which you are separating from patients who do not join your concierge services.
In conclusion, a concierge practice can be a very lucrative way for a provider to achieve work-life balance by reducing the number of patients, increasing time with patients, and making great profits. But before you transition, speak with an attorney experienced in healthcare business law who can help you through the transition.
Doris Dike is the managing partner of Dike Law Group, a business lawyer for healthcare clients, she works with doctors, podiatrists, nurses, ERs, urgent cares, med spas, hospitals, small independent clinics, rural hospitals, and surgery centers. She can be reached at dklawg.com