Building a private practice specializing in internal or family medicine is not as easy as it once was. Today’s doctors have a lot more regulations to deal with as compared to their predecessors, and that says nothing of the complicated mess we now call health insurance. Thankfully there are doctors who have found a better way through the concierge medicine model. Some are building an entire concierge practice around another emerging medical field: regenerative medicine.
If it seems like concierge and regenerative medicine were made for each other, it’s no coincidence. There are a number of aspects that both types of medicine share. They work so well together that it appears as though they make for a perfect private practice marriage at a time when it seems like private practices are going the way of the dinosaurs.
According to the Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) in Salt Lake City, UT, an increasing number of concierge doctors are looking to be trained in regenerative medicine procedures in order to add them to their practices. Still others working in group or hospital practices are being trained in regenerative medicine with the goal of eventually opening their own concierge practices. It works that well.
The Concierge Model
Doctors are already familiar with the concierge model of family medicine. For the rest of us, this model is pretty straightforward. The concierge practice owner charges a monthly or annual fee in exchange for allowing patients unlimited access to primary care. Some concierge clinics also offer basic inpatient lab tests and minor surgical procedures.
The beauty of the concierge model is that it completely bypasses health insurance. This frees doctors to spend as much time with patients as they need to. More time generally means a greater emphasis on healing and wellness. In addition, concierge medicine eliminates unnecessary testing, insufficient insurance company reimbursements, and complicated billing.
Though the fees for concierge medicine may appear steep at first glance, uninsured users can actually pay less for their memberships than they would otherwise pay for health insurance. In the long run, concierge medicine sometimes ends up being less expensive for patients for whom primary care represents their primary access of healthcare services.
The Regenerative Medicine Concept
Regenerative medicine is a way of treating certain kinds of injuries and diseases by using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapies in place of prescription medications and invasive procedures. Like concierge medicine, regenerative medicine takes insurance companies out of the equation. Why? Because health insurance does not cover most regenerative medicine procedures.
The lack of insurance company involvement frees up patient and doctors to do what they agree is best in any given situation. Neither one is constrained by insurance company mandates. To the patient looking for alternative treatments, this can be a godsend. No insurance company is going to cover PRP injections for osteoarthritis when they can pay for knee replacement surgery instead.
It’s Cash on the Barrel Medicine
The most unique aspect to both kinds of medicine is that they represent cash on the barrel transactions. This is especially important to doctors who increasingly find themselves unable to sustain their practices due to health insurance problems. More and more doctors are back to enjoying the freedom of practicing medicine in the way they see fit by transitioning to a concierge model.
When regenerative medicine can be part of a concierge practice, both doctor and patient are better off still. Regenerative medicine is making it possible for doctors and their patients to take back control of medicine by putting the focus back on healing.