February 10, 2017 By Ed Finke, Medical Economics
Physician practices described as “membership medicine” have been springing up across the country during the past decade. These practices, in which patients pay a monthly or annual retainer to their doctor or medical office for a contracted bundle of services, offer an alternative model for physicians who hope to spend less time on paperwork and more time with patients. Jay Keese, executive director of the Direct Primary Care Coalition and a lobbyist with Capital Advocates in Washington, D.C., says those who switch from medicine-as-usual to membership medicine typically reduce their patient panel size from about 2,500 to 600. Patients in membership medicine practices typically pay about $60 per month for the bundle of services, which are usually standardized within a practice and not individually negotiated, Keese says. With 600 patients, that “adds up to a pretty good revenue stream, and you can probably cut down on administrative personnel,” resulting in cost savings, he says.