Concierge doctors a growing practice in California

Concierge doctors a growing practice

By Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star

Dr. Jack Padour was burning out.

The Ventura internal medicine doctor faced falling reimbursement rates and rising overhead. The only way to maintain his earnings was to see more patients.

“I knew I was being compromised by seeing patients every eight to 10 minutes just to keep the doors open,” he said.

Two years ago, Padour changed his practice to a model attracting doctors and debate across the nation.

Patients now pay him an $1,800 membership fee that allows him to see fewer people and spend more time with each of them. A roster that once hovered at 2,000 patients is now at 300.

The annual fee guarantees an extensive physical, including tests on lung function, vision, heart, anxiety, diet and other aspects of wellness. Patients get Padour’s cell phone number. They are guaranteed immediate access and, perhaps most important, more time with the doctor.

If they end up in the hospital or a nursing home, he follows them there for treatment.

Growing practice
Some doctors call it a concierge practice. Others, frustrated over what they say is a misperception that the service attracts only wealthy patients, prefer direct primary care or personalized care.

The forms vary. But in most cases, doctors charge membership fees to provide certain services and specialized care. Many of the doctors, including Padour, continue to accept insurance payment for care not covered by the membership, although some doctors accept only direct payment.

A leader of the American Academy of Private Physicians estimates as many as 5,000 doctors nationwide have direct primary care practices, charging fees of $600 to several thousand dollars. A leader of MDVIP, a Florida company that runs a national network of membership fee practices, suggested the national number is closer to 2,500 doctors but increasing.

Read Full Story for more on California Concierge Doctors, MDVIP and concierge medicine program price structures.

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.

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