Monday, December 22, 2008

C’mon, man!

ESPN Monday Night Countdown has a new feature this season called “Come On Man.” This segment of the show is reserved for highlights from some of the previous weeks more egregious acts on the gridiron. Lately I’ve been compelled to use this expression for local goings on.

Take Charter Medical Group for instance.

Back in the early fall, Charter Medical Group made local headlines by announcing that their entire primary care practice was converting to a boutique or concierge type medical practice. These types of practices eschew the traditional insurance middleman and instead contract directly with the patient. The promise of these practices is a higher level of care by seeing fewer patients.

I understand the primary docs dilemma. The insurance model was not working very well for them. I even wrote about this in my November column in The Business Monthly, “One Doc Too Many.”

I went so far as to sign up with Charter and give them a check.

And how do hear about their plans to cancel their plan to pioneer this new paradigm of healthcare in Howard County?

From a fellow blogger!

And then from the Flier!

So far I’ve heard nothing from Charter.

C’mon, man!

I don’t know who is advising these docs but whoever it is has a lousy sense of customer relations. For many of us the decision to go with this new concept in medicine was not easily made. For many, I suspect, it was the subject of heated discussion. To be treated in this manner is egregious.

C’mon, man!


Anonymous said...

Whoever said that doctors were good at business and marketing. They don't have courses like that in medical schools, do they?

In most other industries raising prices loses customers.

If a doctor keeps 500 clients at $1500 each a year with a 50% expense ratio,it makes the boutique look awfully attractive for the doctor receiving the $375,000 annual income.

If they can segment their marketplace and increase their revenue while giving their clients more time and better medical advice, good for them.

But I agree with you. While they are learning common etiquette in marketing, they might also take a course in bedside manner as well.


Anonymous said...

Oh my. So, you weren't notified of a change. And you were 'invested' in this endeavor. And you're quite indignant regarding your being ignored; not considered as a part of the decision much less notification that it was happening.

Sounds familiar except that there's no permanent change affecting your HOME, or the closing of your BUSINESS, or the closing of your grocery as with CB58.

Poor thing.

Johnlw said...

The problem was they were investigated by the State for acting like an insurance company themselves. That is a no-can-do without permits, millions in cash resereves, stuff like that.

The other concierge groups are structured differently, but the headquarters takes a piece of the action.

Freemarket said...

If CIM is acting like an insurance company, then shouldn't the Health Howard Access Plan also be considered insurance and therefore subject to the same regulations? The state has already determined that HHAP is not insurance, so it should be pretty clear to them that CIM is not acting like an insurance company.

Anonymous said...

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Peaceful New Year everyone.

Anonymous said...

What happens to their patients who thought they had an agreement and changed their medical plan selection with their employer? The window for changing plans is long closed. What do they do now and who really cares about them. Certainly not Charter's doctors. In the past they have opted out of plans in February, leaving their patients without access to them unless the patient is willing to pay out of pocket for services.

I for one am very disappointed in them.

Anonymous said...

I just read the article on the front page of the Flyer and now understand...not that I believe everything I read.
Perhaps the docs decided that their get rich scheme cost them too many clients. Perhaps there weren't enough payers in the new boutique in spite of what they said. This sounds like a small business which is not regulated by the insurance department.
There are other medical boutiques in the US ie New York city.
However, another Maryland physician owned company, Mamsi, was founded and regulated as an insurance company prior to going public. So perhaps the fears weren't unfounded. Although I really find it hard to believe that a business would jump into a new venture of this magnitude without investigating regulation first.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I went in for an emergency appointment about a week before this post was published, and was told about the change by both the gal who booked my appointment (over the phone) and by the doctor in person during said appointment.

I actually hadn't signed up for the program (if I lived closer to Columbia, I would have, actually), so the fact that I didn't have to change doctors was actually good news for me.