Concierge itself has been growing in popularity, as reflected in a recent Merritt Hawkins' physician recruiters survey. The 2012 findings showed that 6.8% of 13,500 physicians say they will embrace direct pay or concierge medicine within the next three years. A fear of major reimbursement cuts is among the top threats cited by healthcare leaders in the HealthLeaders Media 2013 Industry Survey.
Wayne Lipton, founder and managing partner for Concierge Choice Physicians in Rockville Center, NY, which uses the hybrid model, says the field is growing, but he has no precise numbers. The hybrid model provides services not covered by the patients' traditional insurance by offering comprehensive preventative care and wellness visits, while also ensuring patients can continue to receive care from their chosen physician, Lipton says.
Graf, who has been in practice for 26 years, says he embraced the hybrid model so he could continue serving his longtime, insured patients, some of whom rely on Medicare and Medicaid. At the same time, he could offer specialized service for patients who pay a fee for concierge care, which entails more individualized attention such as longer office visits and more phone calls.
"I am very comfortable with the model," he explains. "I didn't feel like I was putting anybody against a wall, saying: 'You join my program, or you have to leave.'"
"People," he says, "are very happy I'm taking care of them and they are delighted with the options." At the same time, he's feeling the stress dissipate, as his workdays are getting shorter.