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Old 06-06-2019, 08:40 AM
minor7flat5's Avatar
minor7flat5 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 5,060
My wife is sick (again), and when this has happened in the past we have spent weeks or months going to different doctors to try and figure things out.

This time I want to try a different primary care physician--I want her to have a physician who knows her and can tie all of the parts of the story together, and our current GP isn't doing this very well. So I asked my dad for recommendations, remembering the glowing reports he had given about his doctor. He immediately gave me the name and number. Nice!

When we called to set up an appointment a friendly gentleman explained to me that in order to be a patient of Dr. Smith, we would have to have a membership in their "concierge service" for an annual fee of $1,200.
With this membership, we would have same-day appointments, longer appointments, and so on.
I refrained from replying in a rude fashion, but let him know that we would go elsewhere.

Seriously? Paying an annual fee outside of the regular physician's fees, before we even met the doctor? This would not be covered by insurance.
I find this repugnant on multiple levels. It is classist, filtering their clientele into people who have the means to pay to come in the door. It is fee hiding, in an industry that already is a master of that game. And it feels downright sketchy to move charges that pay the doctor either directly or indirectly outside of the scope of insurance.

It's their business what they do, but that doesn't make it right.

I asked my dad about it, and he doesn't pay this. It seems he might be grandfathered in, but understandably doesn't want to ask any questions lest they say "Mr. Jones, we seem to have overlooked you, let me introduce you to our excellent new concierge program"