High-end boutique health services – doctors on retainers, 5-star hospitals – are transforming care (for the very wealthy).
[This article in the NY Times Sunday Business section describes what care for the wealthy is like. Those who can afford it can now jump the queue. The poor and even the average patient can wait in the wings while the privileged few are ushered into clinics and hospitals first.]
You have no idea how much money there is here,” said Dr. Harlan Matles, who specializes in internal medicine and joined MD Squared after working at Stanford.
Most of these groups do not advertise, virtually no presence on the web, and new patients come strictly by word of mouth. With annual fees that range from $40,000 to $80,000 per family (more than 10 times what conventional concierge practices charge), the suite of services goes far beyond 24-hour access or a Nespresso machine in the waiting room.
There are rewards for the physicians themselves, of course. A successful internist in New York or San Francisco might earn $200,000 to $300,000 per year; but these boutique practices pay $500,000 to $700,000 annually for the right practitioner.
Nowhere is the velvet rope in health care rising faster than in Northern California, where newfound tech wealth, abundant medical talent and a plethora of health-conscious patients have created a medical system that has more in common with a luxury hotel than with the local clinic.
The traditional model of having a good internist is dying,” said Mr. Traina, a scion of a prominent San Francisco family said. “Even the 25-year-olds at my company either have some form of concierge doc, or they’ll just go to an H.M.O. or a walk-in clinic. No one here has a regular doctor anymore.
As I read this article, I kept thinking, "Something is definitely wrong here. This is immoral and flies in the face of what being a healer is about.