Concierge medicine, also known as retainer medicine, is a relationship between a physician and patient in which the patient pays an annual or monthly fee in exchange for certain services or access to their physician. Many healthcare practices are adopting concierge medicine services to increase patient communication and accessibility to a personal physician, allow for longer appointments, and provide access to a healthcare team to coordinate care. While some critics argue that such services create a tiered system of care, others argue that it allows healthcare practices to take in more revenue and offer more options for their patients.
According to a July 2021 article from PartnerMD, “Concierge Medicine: Costs, Factors, and Considerations,” concierge membership rates can range from $1,200 per year to as high as $10,000 per year, with some healthcare practices allowing patients to pay monthly or quarterly. In an earlier DocWire News feature, “The Growth and Future of Concierge Medicine,” concierge membership rates were said to range from $600 per year to as high as $25,000 per year.
The same DocWire News feature stated that depending upon the number of patients signed up, concierge medicine can guarantee a physician a minimum income and predictable revenue. This translates to an average salary for a concierge physician of $300,000, versus an average salary for a primary care physician of $294,000, but without the overhead of a brick-and-mortar office. When Cleveland Clinic Florida rolled out a concierge medicine program in 2018, their first year goal was to attract 300 patients into the program at a cost of $4,000 per year, according to a South Florida Sun Sentinel article. With such relatively modest startup goals, it’s no surprise that more healthcare professionals are implementing such programs.
In a recent article from Medical Economics, it’s stated that 24% of practices that instituted concierge medicine programs reported higher revenues in 2020 than any prior year. This finding was based on a recent survey of 3,500 independent medical practices in the Castle Connolly Private Health Partners (CCPHP) network, which indicated that the concierge programs were instrumental in keeping their doors open during the pandemic, with the surveys showing a 0% closure rate. In fact, 40% of those surveyed reported that their revenue had not been impacted by the pandemic at all.
Thanks to concierge medicine’s ability to provide patients with personalized, accessible care—even with the extra costs involved—such programs have considerable appeal. Similarly, for healthcare professionals, being able to see fewer patients, provide a higher level of individualized service, and gain more consistent revenue makes implementing a concierge medicine program a wise investment.