This is only a preview of practice policies that are NOT implemented.
Over the last several years, the world of primary care medicine has seen an increase in the provision of concierge medical services. Many physicians are developing thriving practices based on this patient-centered, cash-pay business model, and they are learning that this highly proactive and individualized approach can actually be not only cost-effective for the patient, but it can also result in a bigger bottom line for the provider.
“Concierge therapy” can be defined as a “total-care” service system implementing an anytime, anywhere practice model whereby our clients have the security in knowing that their mental health provider will be available whenever the need arises. This “total-care” service offers flexible, immediate, and individualized treatment through various service models and retainer-style or membership -based fee programs. The concierge private-pay structure allows us to define a treatment arrangement that is more convenient and comprehensive for the client than regular private pay structures, and it allows the provision of services without the restrictions of insurance regulations, insurance adjusters, or their third party adjusting agencies. The benefit of this model is that it allows Dr. Marlo to focus on the client’s treatment needs, rather than on watching the session clock and filling out insurance forms. Simply put, her attention is placed solely on the you.
- Clients may receive same day or next day appointments.
- Clients may self-schedule appointments using an online calendar.
- Clients can communicate by email, text message, and voicemail, including evenings and weekends.
- Provider response time is often prompt, usually within 1 or 2 hours. we may be adding a special phone line for concierge callers from other clients.
- Appointment settings may be in the client’s location of choice, whether such be in the client’s own home, the client’s office, the provider office, or via telephone or video conference.
- We may have extended evenings and weekends to meet the needs of our client’s availability. Weekday hours may be extended based on a last-minute concierge client appointments, and weekend appointments can be limited to concierge clients only.
- Service hours are very flexible and Dr Marlo is often on-call .
- Extended session times: Instead of a standard 45- or 50-minute session, concierge clients receive 60-minute sessions as part of the service.
- Session length is based on the discussion, and session end times are estimates. A free grace period may be offered, should the extra time be needed.
- As always all appointments start on time, so the client is never left waiting.
- Private waiting room. Enjoy refreshments and snacks in a relaxing environment and decrease awkward client encounters.
It is a myth that concierge therapy is obtainable only by the wealthy. Many therapists are already declining insurance and charging fees within the $100 – $200 per hour range, so a treatment plan providing for 4 sessions per month would come out to roughly $400 – $800 per month. Clients desiring the “total-care” service afforded by the concierge system may be willing to pay a couple of hundred dollars more to enjoy the added benefits of a concierge membership. For therapists who accept insurance, it is possible to create a model that works in conjunction with insurance, especially when there are deductibles that must be met before the insurance payer begins to reimburse, and limitations to the number of visits a client may have under the insurance policy. Monthly memberships of $1000 or more are usually inclusive of a certain number of sessions per month. For example, a monthly membership package of $1000 may include up to 4 hours of concierge services per month, which results in costs of $200 per session.
Additional sessions may be added at the reduced cost of $200/60 minute. Membership or retainer plans can range from a $1000 to $4000 annually, with individual session fees paid on a fee-for-service basis. Transitioning from a traditional practice model to a concierge model can be a frightening thought.
One solution may be to consider integrating a hybrid practice model. This model allows the provider to continue offering services to clients through insurance reimbursement and fee-for-service methods, then adding the concierge service for clients who see the value in the “total-care” option. You may be surprised to see just how many clients would be interested in a treatment model of slightly increased cost that allows greater access to their therapist.