Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Price Above Rubies

He spent a few hundred dollars on pizza and soft drinks.  The setting was a little more lavish than usual, the servings more heaping.  As I settled down with a piece of deep dish, he started his pitch.

Healthcare is changing.  The little guys are joining hospital systems right and left.  Regulation is getting out of hand.  Why keep playing the same unsuccessful game?  He offered a few hundred thousand to renovate the office, he would handle all the billing and staff, my only job would be caring for the patient.  The perfect concierge practice. 

His goal was to focus on the healthy and wealthy.  No hospital work, no elderly or complicated.  I would work less and make more.  Of course, constant phone coverage would be necessary, and patients would have to be seen within twenty four hours.  But the pay would be better, and the hassles would be minimal.  Patients would be offered a cadre of services including full body CT scans and stress testing, but physician time would be mostly restricted to one hour evaluations. 

Although I clearly had no interest in such a model, I had one important question.

Minus all the bells and whistles, what would I be offering that I don't offer them already?

He was more than prepared for this query.  He rattled off a canned answer: same day appointments, rapid phone call return, personal attention, and a program that places a stress on wellness. 

I thanked him kindly for lunch, and took a copy of his brochure.  I perused it for a few minutes before jumping into my afternoon schedule.

I guess I just don't get this concierge thing.  I already guarantee my patients same day appointments for almost anything.  I return phone calls within thirty minutes.  I take care of all my patients in both the hospital and nursing home.  And I spend heaps of time concentrating on health and wellness, as well as death and dying.

The truth is, I don't know what I would add to my service to justify the costs required by most concierge practices. 

I would just be asking them to pay me more.  Pay me more to stay the same.

But believe it or not, in this ever changing healthcare system, this may be exactly what people crave.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

1 comment:

Kathy Nieder said...

Money is nice but satisfaction in a job well done is paramount in life. I don't want to be paid more (well, it would be nice) but am disgusted by the obscene payments some specialists make for procedures that are frequently unnecessary, painful and not backed by evidence. However, when my time is less valued than those individuals, it is professionally painful.