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Doctors: Charging More Like Lawyers in the Future?

I’ve heard twice about this pricing model, and I’m beginning to wonder if it is the start of a trend.

First, one of the local pharmacies in Indy is offering a new new service for general practice medicine.  They have a GP (MD) and a NP on staff, and they charge like a ‘club’ membership or a retainer to see a doc or nurse whenever the patient wants, as long as they pay the membership fee.

Similarly, I heard another story of a general medicine clinic outside of Indiana charging similarly – pay a monthly fee, see the doctor as many times as you like with a nominal copay.

Is this the future of medicine–doctors putting patients on retainer, like lawyers?  Furthermore, will other healthcare providers do this as well (like pharmacists)?  (NOTE: some states don’t view pharmacists as providers…but I’ll save that for another post on another day.)

These models are interesting, in that they side step managed care.  Hmm…what do you think?

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