Time for Concierge Medicine? The Mid-Size Practice May Be In Trouble.

360_retail_medicine_0828Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare market is responding by offering cheaper outpatient services in pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens. This recent Forbes article details the rise of walk-in clinics and urgent care centers popping up at pharmacies everywhere.

The way things are trending, the market share is going to be divvied up by the One Medicals and the Walgreens, with mid-size private practitioners struggling to hold onto a fraction of their patient base. CVS, the largest player in the new retail medicine space, is planning to open 1,500 urgent care centers across the country.

So in light of this new trend, we've come to two conclusions:

1. This is trouble for a lot of mid-size private practitioners. A lot of patients are going to shift from their primary care provider to their local CVS for the sheer convenience and low cost.

2. This gives concierge medicine an even more important role to play in the future.

Patients will either "go concierge or go Wal-Mart" for their most common outpatient needs. CVS and Walgreens are already playing the role of Wal-Mart, squeezing out private practices by offering more convenience and lower costs made possible by the ACA. So one alternative mid-size practitioners can take is adapting their practice into a concierge one.

There is still a sizable base of patients that are willing to pay a premium for more personalized care and more face time with their doctor. In this article from SFGate.com, concierge medicine is becoming a more accepted alternative by traditional practitioners getting hammered by the ACA-shifted healthcare market. By shifting to a concierge model, doctors are still bringing in much-needed reimbursements while catering to the patients requiring their care the most.

The best part? Concierge medicine gives doctors greater freedom to set their own rates, which allows many practitioners to charge less than most cable and Internet services while gaining healthy reimbursements.

It's unquestioned that the ACA has greatly changed how the country practices medicine, maybe it's time to consider ways to adapt to these seismic shifts.

About the Author

Dr. Molly is passionate about using technology to improve the lives of patients and healthcare providers. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of...

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