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My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
As previously posted I'm dealing with a variety of sleep related issues with no resolution in sight.  Desperate for even just a couple hours sleep I called my primary care doc to see about a prescription sleep aid.  I got some sort of weird unfamiliar greeting, something about "wellness" blah, blah.  Long story short, my primary care is now one of the growing numbers that are joining concierge medical groups.  I was told that I would be a VIP member and would get various perks such as an annual physical and quicker appointments, all for $2000 a year.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't good doctors do routine physicals and give appointments as soon as possible?  In reality if there is a problem a patient usually ends up at a specialist anyway.  So, I pay for insurance, I have out of pocket expenses, I have prescription copays, etc. and now I'm to pay a "VIP" membership on top of all that?  I asked if I could just come in for a quick "cash" pay visit and was told no, I'd have to join.  So, in the midst of severe overactive bladder, apnea, and insomnia I'm set adrift to find another doctor in an area of limited medical resources.

To me this trend to VIP (i.e. elite) medicine is scary.  If the business model is lucrative why would any doctor want to deal with insurance and "commoners" of modest means?  I don't have an answer, but the pyramid of wealth and privilege is becoming ever steeper and those lacking wealth will be left to fend for themselves.

Forgive me if this is too far off topic.  If so I will move it to another forum.
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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
I can sympathize with your concerns.  The love of money causes these businesses to always seek new ways and better methods for lining their pockets.  It is a business, after all.  They're within their rights to ask you anything they wish, such as joining an "elite" group of patients that have better and faster health care options, for a price (of course).  But you have the right to go elsewhere as well.

The truth is that (contrary to some people's opinions), we have no inherent "right" to free health care (which is never free, but rather someone else is paying the bill and it's free to us).  Likewise, we have no inherent right to subsidized health care either (reduced cost, where someone else [taxpayers] pay a portion of our bill.

Now, there are some government programs that fly in the face of that last paragraph, and heck, when you're lacking in funds, by all means, take advantage of any program you can, including free or subsidized heath care.  After all, that benefit may not be there for you in the future, and we all know that less-than-scrupulous people take advantage of certain "social programs" when they really don't "qualify" for them (ie- the proverbial food stamp recipient who drives a Lexus and is decked out with $3000 of gold jewelry).  So when a truly needy person applies for those social programs, I say go for it, since I'd rather those funds go to helping someone who's truly in need, rather than a scammer.

I don't think the system is sustainable over the long-term, and it will crash and burn eventually, although it's lasted a whole lot more than I thought it would.

To come back to reality, we must realize that those doctors and health care specialists are under no obligation to "give away" services for free, or even offer a reduced cost program for those who can't afford "premium" services.  That's just a fact.  If I'm a professional, I should be able to charge what I want for my services, and if I charge too much, my clients will go elsewhere.  If I, as a professional, wish to have a "special club" where my clients who pay more will receive "special handling", well, isn't that my right to offer such a program?  I think it is.  But likewise, it's also the patients right to make a stink about it, bring attention to that professional's secret special club and complain (after all we do have free speech).

But ultimately, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Someone pays for that lunch, in other words.

We live in the real world, not the make-believe world where "we all have a right to free food, free housing, free clothing, free health care", etc.  Someone has to pay the bills, in other words.

All that to say, complain to the doc, by all means.  But ultimately, it's YOU the patient that must take control of your own health care, and that includes doing your "due diligence" and finding the best possible health care for the least cost to you-- whether that's through a free marketplace or through a government-subsidized system.  The system is built upon the concept that people will do what's best for themselves.  So, just like the doctors and health care professionals that want to line their own pockets with cash, you also must come to the realization that this is the system we have, and you also need to watch out for your own interests.

That's life.  Not a perfect system at all, but being educated and informed can help, which is why Apnea Board exists - to help people take control of their own health care.

As for your situation, take whatever action you can to minimize costs for yourself and get the best possible care, no matter who pays for it.  That's the best advice I could give to anyone.  In the world of finance, everyone's out for #1, so in such a system, you also must (unfortunately) act the same way and leverage whatever you can to optimize your benefits.
As always, just my opinion, take it or leave it.   Eat-popcorn

I'll let others express their thoughts after this post, as I'm sure others will have differing opinions.

I'll move this thread to the Off-Topic Forum, since it's not really about Sleep Apnea or CPAP specifically.

Thanks.  Coffee
Apnea Board Administrator


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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
WTF? Seriously, find a new Dr. I may be spoiled (two different hospilal/Dr networks, both affiliated with different medical schools).
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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
Time to break out the torches and pitchforks [Image: zjOgFOF.jpg]
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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
IMO the doctor is in business by offering a service. He or she can handle that business however they want. You, as a patient (and customer if you will), can buy his service or shop elsewhere.


I'm not a doctor in real or fictional life. My posts include opinions based upon user experience regarding CPAP therapy and should not be considered medically professional direction or advice. Even a 1,000 mile trip requires a good first step. My recommended first steps include getting good walking shoes, 1 great cup of coffee, and a good GPS.

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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
ronlecroy, you have my sincere sympathy for the cold bath you experienced.  I share your pain as someone with several serious health issues and fixed income.   SuperSleeper and mdhampton provide wise counsel: get another doctor who will allow you to select and pay for the care you wish.

And by the way, I think Robert Heinlein, in his classic SF novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, best summarized SuperSleeper's comments best: "TANSTAAFL".  jus' sayin'
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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
(06-30-2018, 10:46 AM)ronlecroy Wrote: Desperate for even just a couple hours sleep I called my primary care doc to see about a prescription sleep aid.

Not sure if this is off-topic enough... ask for Temazepam.  I have found this to give a more natural sleep and less hangover than the more common alternatives. I only take it when I need it, but every once in a while my sleep gets screwed up and I really, really need a night of restful sleep.
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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
I am so lucky to have a service called Best Doctors included in my healthcare plan (employer sponsored). I used it and it was amazing. Check it out if you want to.

If you happen to live in the Raleigh/Durham NC area I can recommend a very good sleep doctor. Send me a PM about it, if that's the case.
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
Dentists and doctors are smart people who are trained to work with the numbers.  They are business people in their adult lives who offer complicated services.  Many of them work so hard, and that's AFTER getting their training and internships with all those horrendous hours, that they'd appreciate having an hour, finally, to attend their son's/daughter's graduation at the late age of about 42.  They want to retire soon after that, ideally, maybe with most of their health intact.  So, they continually look for 'efficiencies'.  Many of these professionals use management services and consultants for that purpose, and most of those entities propose methods of 'marketing' and other ways to maximize revenue and profits.

This gimmick of 'service packages' or 'club memberships', or whatever, is a way to make their clients feel special, to have elevated status, make them think it's worth getting the pass to 'first class lounges' as they do in airports.  It's largely the same appeal to vanity, if not outright convenience, that one is offered via vanity plates. And, for some customers, it's like honey.  For every 20 clients, three or four will justify the expense to get that elevated status, even if it's only when booking appointments.  It nets the physician another $20-40K each year, maybe quite a bit more than that.  Do that for a decade and he has a nice 401K if he doesn't touch it.
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RE: My Doc Converted to "Concierge" Medicine (slightly off topic)
My doctor just did the same thing. Got the letter last week. I'd never heard of this before, but my wife is a nurse and she said this is becoming more of a thing. It was bad timing though because I just switched to this primary care doctor a few months ago. Now I have to go find a new PC all over again.
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