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Is Concierge Medicine Finally Ready for Takeoff?

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 18, 2013

Blue says the time is right because of a convergence of supply and demand factors.

"On the physicians' side, you've got a growing realization among primary care doctors that the business model of the independent or small practice is likely not sustainable and they just having a harder time keep the lights on," he says.

"They are working faster and faster and it is not satisfying and potentially not viable. It's likely we will see the extinction of the small independent practice in the traditional sense. You have that forcing doctors to explore alternative business models."

Blue says private practice also allows physicians to better serve a smaller number of patients. 

"Private medicine in the early days used to represent a moral dilemma around displacing a large number of patients to attend to the needs of a smaller number," he says. "Today that moral dilemma is largely offset by the dilemma of ‘is it right to deliver care that is not the best I can do thousands of people or do I deliver really good care to smaller numbers?' More physicians are able to reconcile the decision with their own personal principles and that is driving more doctors into private medicine."

The anticipated surge of about 32 million new insured patients under the PPACA in 2014 is expected to exacerbate the physician shortage, and the increasing cost of health insurance coverage, with its higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles, also makes direct pay practice more appealing to a growing number of consumers, Blue says.

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