What Is Concierge Medicine and How Is MDVIP an Alternative?
What is concierge medicine?
Concierge medicine is an umbrella term used to describe a relationship between a patient and physician in which the patient pays an annual or monthly fixed fee. Patients pay the fee for conveniences like same-day appointments and 24/7 physician availability.
To provide those conveniences, most concierge medicine physicians – whether primary care physicians or medical specialists – see fewer patients or set aside days of the week when they see only their concierge service patients. Their practices are subsidized by patient fees, which vary widely.
Concierge Medicine Cost
At the high end, some patients pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to see a physician. All primary care services are covered, and visits are unlimited. Some physicians who practice in these models may have a small number of very wealthy clients.
On the low end, some concierge medical services charge a smaller annual fee — $200 for example — so they can offer same- and next-day appointments. But patients may not see the same primary care provider. Instead, they may see a medical extender like a nurse practitioner or a different physician. Preventive services are not typically included in the fee. The services offered are similar to urgent care.
MDVIP vs. Concierge Medicine
MDVIP-affiliated primary care practices are sometimes compared to concierge primary care, but MDVIP goes beyond, by focusing more on prevention and wellness. Patients continue to receive basic covered preventive physicals and screenings offered in traditional primary care practices. But they also receive an array of preventive services not typically covered by commercial insurance or Medicare, nor offered by most concierge physicians. The fee for MDVIP — typically between $1,800 and $2,200 a year — pays for those additional defined preventive services. This is the MDVIP Wellness Program, which patients receive annually.
In addition to the comprehensive health screenings and tests, which have been shown to give patients a clearer view of their health, MDVIP-affiliated physicians go through the results and work with their patients to develop a personal wellness plan designed to maintain or improve their test numbers and reduce their risks of common health conditions like heart disease.
Another difference between MDVIP and most concierge medicine practices: The MDVIP program is backed by published studies. Researchers have looked at the MDVIP primary care model and produced nine different studies that have shown patients in MDVIP-affiliated practices:
- Experience fewer hospitalizations
- Utilize urgent care and emergency departments less often
- Receive more preventive services
- Better manage certain chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and
- Are more satisfied with their doctor-patient relationship than patients in traditional primary care practices.
A National Network
MDVIP has a national network of more than 1,000 physicians; when members are traveling and sick, their MDVIP-affiliated physician may arrange care with another physician in the network. Most other concierge medicine practices are solo operations. Even concierge medicine companies with multiple physicians typically only have primary care providers in a few cities – not across the country.
Same Day Care
Patients in MDVIP-affiliated practices enjoy the same conveniences offered by many concierge programs because their doctors see fewer patients. For example, MDVIP-affiliated physicians offer same- and next-day appointments that last as long as needed. And they’re available by phone after hours.
Improved Patient-Physician Relationship
Plus, MDVIP-affiliated physicians have time to get to know you, which studies show improve both the doctor-patient relationship and health outcomes. And since you'll see your physician — not a physician extender or one of many doctors — you'll have continuity of care, which studies have also shown lead to better outcomes.
MDVIP goes beyond concierge medicine — it is affordable, personalized medicine with a doctor who knows you and has both advanced preventive care services and conveniences available, which are rare in today’s primary care environment.