The nation's leader in hybrid concierge medicine, Concierge Choice PhysiciansTM (CCP), has introduced the first targeted and viable concierge program for non-invasive cardiologists who also provide other internal medicine services to patients. Called Concierge Choice CardiologySM, the new program employs the CCP hybrid model to offset many of the economic and professional challenges that recent changes in reimbursement rates have created.
“We know the challenges faced by cardiologists today”
The program is being introduced at a time when many cardiologists are facing serious concerns and fears about the impact to their practices due to projected 25 to 50 percent decreases in reimbursement. While all physicians face Medicare adjustments due to the Sustained Growth Rate (SGR), cardiologists must also adapt to the end of consult code reimbursement as well as significant adjustments for services. SGR reductions went into effect in early April. However, industry analysts note that additional reductions will be brought on by healthcare reform and reimbursement reductions by health insurers.
"Many cardiologists are concerned they will not be able to continue to practice the same way that they did in the past," notes Wayne Lipton, managing partner for Concierge Choice Physicians. "We recognized an opportunity to use our model to enhance services for patients and to help physicians recover a portion of the revenue losses that they are facing this year. CCP's program provides a solution that is not just about finding ways to increase their share of the 'pie' - we offer a different 'pie,' that is, revenue from the private sector."
The new program was developed after research the company began conducting in 2009 - when specifics of healthcare reform and the reality of SGR began to be more fully realized. CCP noted the legal, regulatory, market and ethical issues to be addressed under a hybrid option. "We have been working to develop a program that addresses all the elements for success, not just a vehicle for paying more for the same cardiology services," says Lipton.
The CCP approach addresses all the issues starting with non-covered services that patients want and which cardiologists are comfortable delivering, as well as pricing and marketing approaches that meet the needs of patients and cardiologists in a changing regulatory environment.
Concierge Choice Cardiology incorporates many of the elements of CCP's successful hybrid model of concierge care. The hybrid model gives patients annual preventive physicals and the option of additional visits for wellness while also ensuring availability of the patient's chosen physician. In return for a modest fee, concierge patients also get convenient scheduling, less waiting time, direct access to their physician through private phone lines and cell phones, and many more non-covered services.
Lipton notes that a full model of concierge is not viable for cardiologists at this time and only a hybrid can be of value to them. As the industry leader in the hybrid model, he notes there has been a sharp increase in calls from cardiologists looking for options. In addition, the Concierge Choice Cardiology program is specifically designed not to compete with primary care physicians but rather to address the needs of patients who already look to their cardiologist as their primary physician.
"We know the challenges faced by cardiologists today," continues Lipton. "We also want to help them find solutions to the current practice environment. We believe that we have the experience and knowledge of the marketplace, regulatory issues and insurer requirements to help cardiologists bring an effective program to their patients."
Concierge Choice Physicians