Forthright Health Management in Michigan signed on about 50 primary care physicians to take part in a concierge medicine program that contracts with local employers to provide enhanced primary care for employees. The contract covers most basic care, and services not included would be covered by an employee’s health insurance. This sounds good but it is a hybrid system where the doctors will still be seeing regular patients and bill their insurance. The one thing I know about DPC is that I am not confident in this hybrid model. The key to this kind of care is giving more time, being more comprehensive and treating patients as valued customers. Does that mean the doctors contracted with Forthright Health will treat their regular patients differently? It sure seems that way. And because the “system” is receiving the monthly payments it means that each individual doctor is really not getting paid directly. It also means a bunch of administrators are still involved. In my heart I believe that DPC clinics should be doctor-owned and kept small. That breeds real quality care because the physician is truly paying attention to all the small details and engaged in every part of the care. I doubt that will happen here. I also fear that the big groups and hospitals are trying to jump on this DPC wagon to make money and still use doctors as pawns. We need to unass them from us permanently.
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