Pay-to-Pay-to-Play Healthcare a Disturbing Trend
A friend of mine, who’s my age but whose health is imperfect pays, over three times what I do for similar healthcare coverage, including having out-of-pocket expenses that total thousands of dollars a year.
Adding salt to the wound, my friend learned that his primary care physician was joining a national network called MD VIP, which would result in a “fee for access.”
While its marketing materials try to create subjective distance between MD VIP and what’s known generically as “concierge medical care,” I’m neither convinced nor impressed.
Read the MD VIP FAQ page and you’ll discover that network physicians agree to take on only as many patients as they can serve effectively; spend as much office time as necessary to properly hear and be heard by patients; honor appointment times; be accessible by phone after hours and on weekends for emergencies; give thorough physicals; and, be proactive, rather than reactive, in their overall approach to healthcare.
In other words, MD VIP acknowledges that our healthcare industry currently provides neither excellent healthcare nor good customer service as a matter of course.
Like airlines that charge premiums for access to legroom, overhead baggage storage, in-flight meals, pillows and blankets, networks like MD VIP charge premiums for access to a business model that used to be the norm.
I’m old enough to remember that norm. I remember both house calls and coach class meals that were substantial, tasty and included in the price of the ticket.
It irks me that we’re now being conditioned to accept two-tier pricing systems that charges one price for doing a job and another price for doing the same job correctly.
I’m offended in the extreme, however, by physicians who would establish such a system for themselves and then insult our intelligence by asking us to believe that healing is still their highest priority.
The modern version of the Hippocratic Oath, written in 1964, ends with this line: “May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”
Modern translation: “Caveat emptor.”