A Case for Concierge

Is it really true that no press is bad press??? Let's put it to the test!

Recently we had an online complaint that bears further comment as a critical part of the healthcare discussion. In essence, Chloé has beef with the fees of a concierge program (OUR concierge program...). If you have never heard of concierge, there is a concise review of its benefits below:

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Dear Chloé,

I don't want to change your mind about Harmony Health MD. I just want to clarify a number of things that are super important to me.

First of all, at Harmony Health MD, we are in it to take care of patients, and we bend in any direction necessary to do that. The Hippocratic Oath is our ultimate guide and I appreciate that you have reminded everyone of the importance that we must place in the primary edict healthcare is supposed to glorify. I hope you will continue to be an active voice in our community for all those who continue to require excellent healthcare, but are denied the simplest privileges, such as transparent cost comparison of services, basic medication coverage, and sensible premium dues. In fact, our values at HHMD are based in the Hippocratic Oath (Innovation, Hope, Unity, Compassion, Excellence), which may be why we enjoy ourselves so much taking care of our patients. We are humbled to be part of the right team when it comes to healthcare, as opposed to those who would implement checkbox medicine and compromised physician-patient relationships.

As regards the current ability to become a new patient at Harmony Health MD, it is our responsibility to determine how to best take care of all our patients, and non-patients at the same time. In fact, we have reached a capacity that requires any responsible clinician to put on the breaks and hold off the enrollment of any new patients to the traditional medical practice; we do this with a heavy heart. Not doing so would entail longer wait times, shorter visit times, and decreased access to yours truly. At its core, that is one of the problems we have in healthcare: the endless addition of patients without a concrete plan on how to take care of them. Now, would anyone want to be part of a practice like that? I hardly think so.

Therefore, in the interest of continuing to work hard and innovate our way into the vision of creating seamless integration between health and wellness for all, we have introduced the concierge program to our practice for those who would like to take advantage of HHMD on crack, yes you heard it here first, HHMD On Crack! Imagine all these positive reviews you see but much more. The Harmony Concierge patient has even greater access to our medical team--appointments within 24 hours of calling, longer appointment times, and even direct telephone access. It's easy to list these benefits, but let me share a simple story to demonstrate. Last week we had a patient in the concierge program come in for a same-day appointment, and she was genuinely freaking out about a health condition. Her entire treatment for that problem was a 20-minute conversation. We addressed a number of other issues afterward, and she walked out essentially cured. I'm not saying this to brag about myself, but it's important to remember that the basic premise of healthcare, the Hippocratic Oath itself, is founded on a very simple principle--physicians MUST have the opportunity to create and develop mutually healing relationships.

Given all that I have said, the concierge program allows us to explore further ways of improving healthcare for not just our 5000 patients, but for the entire community by broadening the scale of our practice in a way that affects those beyond our walls. We have our mind set on expanding the number of Harmony Clinicians, and within a short time, we aim to open up to many more patients, not only in the concierge program, but also in the traditional one we have worked to perfect over time. We DO believe all patients should have the capacity to pursue concierge level care--which, incidentally, costs the same as a Starbucks a day, by the way--but we cannot continue to make wishes and hope some genie in a bottle hears us; we MUST be proactive.

Chloé, I know you are a good person, and we are all trying to do our best to work together towards a better world. The characterization of our concierge program as a way to serve the wealthy is fundamentally flawed. My roots are in serving the underserved. Everything I am doing is an attempt to generate a viable solution for that demographic. I really appreciate the time that you have taken to open up this very positive forum, and do wish you well in finding the right physician for you at this time. As a physician, you live to serve everyone, but that's not how the healthcare system is engineered to function at the moment. Let's you and I do our best to fix that!

In Health,

Dr. A

{{{You are a trooper if you made it this far, give yourself a big pat on the back and post for others to read! :) }}}

 

Author
Dr. Emil Avanes Physician Director at Harmony Health MD

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