If we have learned anything in the years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, it is the fact that we need new ways of doing things in medicine. The old fee-for-service model created by the insurance industry has put even basic care out of the reach of many while simultaneously raising the cost of everything from prescriptions to lab tests. Government interference has only made the problem worse.
There is a ray of hope in things like concierge medicine and alternative therapies. In fact, combining concierge and regenerative medicine could be the way to go for GPs, primary care doctors, and internists. Both kinds of medicine don't rely on the insurance system for survival; neither one requires doctors to allow their practices to be controlled by insurance companies.
Concierge Medicine Basics
There are a number of different models for operating a concierge medical practice. As a general rule however, the models all have a few things in common. Concierge medicine is based on the premise of paying an annual or monthly fee in exchange for having unfettered access to primary care. Some concierge providers also include basic lab tests they can conduct in-house. Everything else is accessed outside of the concierge setting.
The appeal of concierge medicine to the patient is access. Appointments are easy to get, doctors have more time to spend with patients, and there are rarely limits to the number of times a patient can see the doctor in a year. The appeal to doctors is twofold: they are free to practice without the constraints of insurance companies interfering and they are paid directly by patients. That means they get paid what they are worth.
Regenerative Medicine Basics
Regenerative medicine is a field of medicine that involves alternative treatments like stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies. Such therapies are commonly used to treat things like sports injuries, osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal issues, and even alopecia.
Stem cell and PRP therapies are not covered by insurance companies because, although they are not experimental, insurance companies view them as such. Patients wishing to receive the treatments pay for them out of pocket. As a result, doctors can offer these services without insurance company interference.
Regenerative medicine is catching on among primary care physicians and orthopedists, according to Apex Biologix. The Utah-based company has already helped more than 200 doctors and clinics get up and running with regenerative medicine therapies.
Combining the Two
Hopefully you have noticed similarities between concierge and regenerative medicine. Both forms of medicine allow doctors to practice as they see fit without any outside interference. And because they are actually getting paid what they are worth, they don't have to charge higher prices to overcome insufficient insurance company reimbursements. This brings the overall cost of their services down.
It is conceivable to combine the two into a single practice to serve a core group of patients who wish to access healthcare under this sort of model. It is interesting to note that patients who could afford the annual fee of concierge medicine can likely afford regenerative treatment should the need arise. The opposite is also true.
The similarities between the two kinds of medicine are such that they are ideal companions. A doctor can offer a standard concierge package that includes primary care on an annual subscription basis. If that doctor has patients suffering from orthopedic issues – like osteoarthritis for example – he or she could charge extra for PRP or stem cell injections. Doctor and patient would be free to work things out without having to worry about insurance coverage.