Mayo Clinic Joins Concierge Medicine

Mayo Clinic Targets Ultra-Wealthy with Concierge Medicine
The Mayo Clinic, one of the nation’s most prominent hospitals, is starting to flex its muscle in the field of medical concierge medicine services for the wealthy.

MAY 3, 2013 • RAYMOND FAZZI on Private Wealth
The Rochester, Minn.-based hospital this year started to ramp up efforts to market its Preferred Response service—a membership program that provides medical transportation and emergency services all over the world—to business travelers, travel clubs for the wealthy and other segments of the ultra-affluent market. The expansion of Preferred Response comes three years after the hospital launched its Medallion program, a concierge medical service that devotes a team of doctors to its subscribers’ primary medical care needs.

The push comes at a time when some of the nation’s top hospitals are looking to the well-heeled to increase revenues and make greater use of their more expensive, high-tech medical capabilities. Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, for example, has offered a similar concierge transportation service for years.

“Prominent hospitals are looking at any ways they can to leverage expertise to generate revenue streams,” said Dr. Clayton T. Cowl, Preferred Response medical director. “Access [to medical care] is going to be the key.”

Paying For Access
The drive to market Mayo Clinic Preferred Response to the wealthy is based heavily on the public’s desire for medical access. The program has been part of the Mayo Clinic for more than a decade, originally as a service for dealing with in-flight medical emergencies. The program has since grown more expansive, with the ability to coordinate care and transportation when members are facing a medical emergency far from home.

The Mayo Clinic’s standing as one of the oldest and largest U.S. hospitals gives it an advantage in selling this type of service. The hospital has a network of 3,700 practicing physicians and 18,000 alumni practicing medicine globally—a useful resource, the hospital notes, when trying to line up emergency treatment for members who are halfway around the world.

In addition to the transportation, Preferred Response provides its members with around-the-clock medical support via a toll-free number; medical travel planning, including the preparation of custom medical kits; and coordination of medical care.

“The idea is, we want to create a relationship—not just a doctor visit or two a year—no matter where you are in the world,” Cowl said.

Cutting The Line
As President Barack Obama’s health reforms start to kick in, bringing millions more people into the health system, increased waiting times for appointments and treatments are expected to become larger issues with patients.

The selling point for Preferred Response and other medical concierge medicine services is that they allow those who can pay a premium to basically cut in line, according to industry experts.

“Ultimately, we’re in an era right now where lots more people are going to have insurance and the key I think is going to be access and connectivity,” Cowl said. “In a time of need, you don’t want to be fumbling around asking which of these 14 numbers I need to dial.”

The base concierge medicine membership fee for Preferred Response is $650 per year for individuals and $800 for families. The fee does not include hospital and doctors’ fees, according to a hospital spokesman.

With two around-the-clock medical teams, Preferred Response deals with emergencies throughout the world, ranging from instances where a subscriber fell down a flight of stairs in Turkey to another where a member suffered from a heart attack while vacationing in Cancun, Mexico. In one recent episode, a member suffered a punctured lung while on a bicycle tour in China. Preferred Response arranged for his treatment and transportation a few days later to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Cowl said. 
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CMJ- In some ways this can be seen a validating claims that patients are willing to pay for the care they deserve, and that there is a optimal level of care that is not being adequately  addressed by the traditional system. What do you think the Mayo move means for concierge medicine?

About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

2 Responses to “Mayo Clinic Joins Concierge Medicine”

  1. The Mayo Clinic’s move to promote it’s already existent concierge medical offering shows that the world of healthcare in America is certainly changing. While this seems to be a result of Obamacare, I can’t help but wonder if concierge medicine would have grown to popularity without the nudge. Although it does seem to have caused a move by the upper middle class to concierge medicine in general, afraid of the impending inaccessibility that may come with so much more of the population given access to the same physicians. What I find particularly interesting is the fact that this service has existed for around 10 years at the Mayo Clinic. When compared to concierge medicine, however, their program seems to be more about away-from-home health services rather than the day-to-day care that the practice of concierge medicine tends to imply.


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