Here's an unusual trend . . . Recently, I heard from a doctor in Sedona that he plans to "trim down the patient roster," and "start providing a level of care to that smaller group of patients that has never been seen in our community." Sounds like something of a sales pitch, eh? Well, it turns out that there is a company called MDVIP that is now going around the country convincing doctors that they would be better off if they cut back their practice, as opposed to adding to their practice.
According to this doctor, MDVIP is a "national network of physicians who focus on personalized and preventative care," and this change means that he will "work with you as a partner, and treat the whole you." He promises to have longer appointments for each patient and a private number that you can call to talk to him at any time of the day or night.
It sounded great until I started getting phone calls and letters that reminded me of an investment scam, or perhaps time share sales. He's holding a meeting at a local resort, complete with food and beverage, so that his patients can hear more about this "exciting change" in his practice. If you miss the meeting, you can call or visit MDVIP on the Internet in order to "learn more and sign up as a VIP patient." (The website is MDVIP.com.) By the time I had received a couple of letters, personal phone calls and solicitations (one of them from a professional survey company who asked me, "Would you be willing to pay more for even more attention from your doctor?") I was very, very suspicious.
Sure enough, if you want to be a VIP, you need to come up with something like $1,500.00 annually, in addition to per-visit charges that are definitely not on the insurance company's contract rate chart.
Wow. I can't believe that some MD's are signing up to have this company "convert" their practice in such a way. What's wrong with just limiting the practice to all that you can handle and then treating those patients like real people? MDVIP is training doctors to use patients like cogs in a factory, to produce income at a level that the rest of us can't even imagine.
Personally, I won't be a part of this doctor's new lifestyle. He's going to limit the practice to 600 patients. Let's see . . . what is 600 times the annual fee of $1,500?
This joker gets a cool million just to start treating patients like VIP's.