Read High-end Medical Option Prompts Medicare Worries, an article posted by the Associated Press today (April 2, 2011). The article, by health reporter Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar, examines the increasing number of practices that are moving toward concierge medicine (also called retainer-based physician practices).
Concerns abound about how this might affect the access to care by Medicare beneficiaries. Although some higher income Medicare participants can afford to stay in concierge practices, many more seniors need to leave and try to find another doctor who delivers healthcare in a traditional setting. If the trend accelerates and a significant number of physicians take on the concierge model of practice, access to care could become increasingly restricted for seniors of average and lesser means.
The transcript of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC) meeting (mentioned in the article) includes the discussion about concierge practices, beginning on page 167.
The Boston Globe published an article on April 17, 2011, More Doctors Gravitate Toward Boutique Practice.
N.B. Each of the concierge links in the above post is connected to a different web location to provide varied background and information about this health care delivery trend.
Graphic generated at http://www.warningsigngenerator.com.