DPC JOURNAL | Top Stories, DPC Perspectives & Latest Interviews

MALPRACTICE/LIABILITY: CAP Offers Up To 45% Discount to Concierge/DPC Physicians

The Cooperative of American Physicians (CAP) Offers Up To 45% Discount to Concierge Physicians

By Staff Writer

JUNE 12, 2013 – An in-depth look into the practice of Concierge Medicine and direct primary care over the past decade has determined that concierge-style doctors have better medical professional liability loss experience than a typical family practice/internal medicine physician, according to The Cooperative of American Physicians (CAP). Concierge Medicine is a medical practice where the patient pays an annual fee to obtain “premium services and amenities” from a personal physician. The benefit of such a relationship is that patients receive better and more immediate access to (and more undivided attention from) their doctor.

“A concierge doctor or direct primary care physician office visit can last as little as 30 minutes and as long as 3 hours,” says Michael Tetreault, Editor of Concierge Medicine Today (CMT) and The Direct Primary Care Journal. “When concierge medicine and direct primary care practices are lined up next to traditional medical practices or insurance/MCO based medical clinics, doctors tell us they have significantly more time to research the drugs they prescribe, up to 4 hours per day in some cases.”

CAP has been working in the concierge physician space for quite some time. For the last 10 years CAP has been tracking the benefits, losses and business practices of concierge [and direct primary care] physicians. Starting in 2013, CAP started offering discounts to concierge physicians. CAP reviewed records of concierge physicians over the past 10 years and concierge physicians have fewer claims than regular physicians – they can get up to a 45% discount.

CindyBelcher527“When they become concierge physicians their loss experience improves [by losses, CAP means medical liability claims],” says Cindy Belcher, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at CAP. “When one becomes a concierge physicians they [most likely] go from high volume practice to a low volume practice [have fewer patients].”

Belcher also adds that concierge doctors may have fewer claims because there is higher patient satisfaction.

There may however be a side to this story that is also important to note when talking about risk management, medical liability and the concierge medicine environment. CMT recently interviewed an Executive at a Fortune 50 Drug Company that told us ‘patients who have a concierge doctor are far less reliant on prescription medications than those patients at any traditional primary care or family practice. In some cases, concierge physicians can reduce the total amount of medication their patients intake by 50-95%, this according to surveys obtained from concierge/direct care physicians operating in the concierge medical movement across the U.S.’

CMT’s source continued to say that this drop in the use of prescription medication was immediately noticed by high-level executives within the company and caused a shift in the sales strategy among the sales reps servicing the concierge medical marketplace. That strategic thinking and sales strategy reduced the amount of time any, one prescription sales rep spends calling on concierge medical practices, compared to a more traditional, insurance based medical practice.

But while of these factors may reduce the likelihood of medical malpractice suits, concierge physicians can still be sued by patients, albeit uncommon. Concierge doctors and direct primary care physicians still need to be aware of how to mitigate patient and office staff risk and how to implement steps to avoid a lawsuit or legal action.  CAP offers a Risk Management and Patient Safety Specialist for each concierge physician that has coverage through them. For the past 40 years, CAP has specialized in protecting solo or small group physician practices, many of which are now leaning towards concierge medicine.

CAP offers the Risk Management Institute.(INFO ON CAPs RISK MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE IS BELOW) The Risk Management Institute offered to members included modules for that really assist solo to small group practice – usually concierge physicians have a small office – CAP offers 20-25  minute online modules.

Belcher notes, “We are aware that concierge physicians really do understand that their staff is vital to having satisfied patients. What makes us different from other carriers is our longevity in the marketplace and our Risk Management Institute — educational modules designed specifically for solo and small group office staff that provide a lot of information in a short period of time to help office staff/office management processes and reduce risk.”

CAP offers members 6 online modules (20 minutes each) for their staff to watch on various risk management topics — The topics of the modules are:

  1. Consent
  2. Medication Management
  3. Effective Medical Office Communication
  4. Patient Education
  5. Tracking and Recall
  6. Medical Record Management

Through the CAP Cares Program, CAP offers physicians and their staff early intervention programs — designed to assist doctors and staff in managing adverse outcomes arising from patient care.

CAP Cares will provide personal guidance in areas such as:

  • Assisting with fact gathering.
  • Working through thoughtful analysis of the adverse outcome.
  • Preparing for the conversation with the patient and family.
  • Anticipating questions which will likely be raised.
  • Coordinating with appropriate hospital personnel and other involved providers.

The goal of CAP Cares is to encourage early physician-patient communication and to provide support to CAP physician members and their patients who experience an adverse outcome, states their web site.

CAP Physicians can also call and get advice on how to handle situations that don’t go the way they thought an issue would go. More at: http://www.capphysicians.com/risk_management/cap_cares).

Similarly, other risk management and medical malpractice carriers have noticed concierge medicine and direct primary care as well. Contemporary Insurance Services developed a policy to provide protection of this sort, The Concierge Physician Professional Liability Policy. HealthCare Risk Specialists and Applied Medico-Legal Solutions (AMS RRG) also offers a large discount on malpractice coverage for physicians practicing concierge medicine. The potential savings touted by these programs could add up to 30-45% for those doctors who qualify. For more information, visit www.ConciergeMedicineToday.com.

In closing, if you are considering moving into concierge medicine or direct primary care or if you’re already a doctor inside one of these practices — medical liability and malpractice coverage discounts are available in select geographic areas across the country to most concierge and direct primary care doctors that qualify. For more information, visit www.CAPPhysicians.com or www.ConciergeMedicineToday.com.

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