What The Hell Is Concierge Medicine?

Recently, I was dumped.

It seemed to come out of nowhere. As far as I knew, everything was fine, and I honestly had no reason to think otherwise. She dropped the axe by way of a letter, with plenty of flowery language to dress up the usual clichés: “I feel like I’m giving and giving, but getting little in return.” “I’m just not happy with the way things are working out.” “We both deserve better.”

Then came the real shocker: “We can still see each other, but you’ll have to start paying for my services out-of-pocket.”

The letter was written by my primary care doctor, announcing an upcoming switch from a traditional medical practice to a new model: Concierge Medicine. This was a term I had never heard before, and I’m guessing most of her other patients hadn’t either. (According to the US News & World Report, only 6% of practicing physicians in the USA ran concierge or cash-only practices in 2013.) It’s a trend that’s been taking hold in pockets and patches across the United States over the past few years, but it’s still relatively unknown.

Although I was a bit skeptical, I tried to keep an open mind while reading the letter. The beginning seemed pretty reasonable, with statements that could get anybody nodding along:

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